Mercedes-AMG A45 S v Audi RS3 v BMW M2 Competition v Volkswagen Golf R
If you’re a petrol head, like us at Auto Advisor, you would agree with the phrase that “there is no such thing as too much of horsepower.”
And in recent years, it has been shocking to see the power outputs of some compact cars. Not long ago, it commonplace to see supercars and sportscars boasting power outputs of 300kw. These days, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi all boast compact models that are around that triple ton benchmark. But how do they compare when they line up on a drag strip?
Since the first-generation Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG arrived, we have seen something of a horsepower race between Mercedes-AMG and Audi Sport in their hyper hatchbacks, with Mercedes currently ruling the segment with their freshly launched second-generation A45.
The latest Mercedes-AMG A45 carries an “S” at the end of its name to let its rivals know that it packs a massive 310kw and 500nm from its turbocharged 2.0-litre motor. The motor is paired with an AMG Speedshift DCT 8-speed transmission that sends power to all four wheels via a very trick all-wheel-drive system dubbed 4Matic+. The King of the hyper hatches does not come cheap as you can expect, as it has been priced from R1 067 840 locally.
The Audi RS3 is no longer available in South Africa, but that doesn’t mean the German automaker isn’t hard at work on its latest version. The upcoming RS3 will once again use a 2.5-litre turbocharged 5-cylinder like its predecessor but power is expected to reach 309kw – which is up from 294kw and 480nm on the model seen in this video. That power is channeled to all corners by a 7-speed dual-clutch S Tronic transmission. You might not be able to buy one new, but don’t underestimate this Audi’s performance potential.
BMW has gone for a different approach with their compact performance car, instead making it into a rear-wheel driven coupe. This no doubt appeases those looking for an engaging driver’s car, and its power comes directly from the BMW M3. In the application of the M2 Competition, the twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six produces 302kw and 550nm, but being rear-wheel drive, it will likely struggle with traction more than its rivals. It’s also available with either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed M-DCT transmission. Locally, it is priced from R1 007 664.
The underdog in all of this is probably the best all-rounder of the lot – the Volkswagen Golf R. Priced at R695 000, it is significantly cheaper than the cars it lines up against in this test, but it is also the least powerful of the four. It uses the same turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder motor as the Audi S3 and produces 228kw and 400nm – hardly anything to scoff at. Like the RS3 and the A45 S, it is all-wheel drive, and like the Audi, it makes do with a super-slick 7-speed DCT.
Will the Golf R be able to bother its more powerful rivals? And can the M2 Competition hit back against the A45 S? Let’s race!