Used test: Audi RS3 Sportback vs Mercedes-AMG A45
Hot hatches don't come more fast and furious than the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45, but which one makes the most sense at two years old? We've got the answer...
What are they like inside?
A good driving position is crucial in a hot hatch. Thankfully, the RS3’s is tough to fault, with the optional wing-backed Super Sport seats fitted to our test car being both comfortable and wonderfully supportive. Combined with an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel that has a wide range of height and reach adjustment, it’s easy to find your ideal driving position.
That said, you sit even lower behind the A45’s wheel and Recaro sports seats are standard. They’re more heavily bolstered than the RS3’s pews and, despite having less padding, are still surprisingly comfortable on long journeys – although our test car did have optional four-way adjustable lumbar support (part of the AMG Exclusive Package).
The RS3 is much classier inside, though, with a plethora of soft-touch plastics, well-damped switches and plenty of metal accents. Granted, some might find the predominantly dark grey interior a little too restrained, but the optional-when-new RS Design Pack (which adds red accents around the air vents and contrast stitching) brightens things up a bit. The A45’s interior is, to be frank, a bit low-rent.
Hot hatches aren’t often bought primarily for their practicality, even if both cars in this test come with five doors. However, it’s important to remember that one of the key attributes of a hot hatch is that they demand fewer compromises than similarly priced sports coupés. Therefore, the fact that the RS3 offers fractionally more rear head and leg room than the A45 is not something to be sniffed at.
The RS3 also has a far more usable boot, thanks to its extra length and wider aperture; it managed to swallow five of our carry-on suitcases, whereas the A45 could manage only four. The big lip at the A45’s boot entrance is annoying when loading and unloading heavy items, too.
Both cars come with 60/40 split-folding rears seats. Once the seats are folded down, neither car has a completely flat extended load bay, but the RS3 remains the more practical of the two, thanks to a height-adjustable floor that reduces the load lip and ensures there’s no step up to the rear seats when they’re laid down.
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