AUDI RS3

Herald Sun - Motoring - - PRESTIGE HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

The start­ing price is $1000 dearer than the Mercedes and that’s be­fore adding op­tions that the Benz has as stan­dard, among them ad­justable sus­pen­sion ($1240), metal­lic paint ($810), radar cruise con­trol ($1420), pre­mium au­dio ($1340), col­li­sion warn­ing ($540) and sun­roof ($1570). Th­ese blow the price out to $85,390.

DE­SIGN/TECH

It has a face that looks as if it’s about to eat the road but from the side and rear the RS3 is more con­ser­va­tive-look­ing. Some buy­ers will pre­fer it that way, be­cause they can travel incog­nito. The lay­out in­side is sim­ple yet func­tional. The flat-bot­tomed steer­ing wheel is the same found in the Audi R8 supercar. The RS3 has a roomier cabin front and rear and a big­ger boot than the Mercedes.

EN­GINE

The RS3 sounds much like a Lam­borgh­ini V10 — the 2.5-litre in-line five cylin­der is one half of the 5.0-litre V10 in the lat­est Hu­ra­can. It has sim­i­lar-out­puts to the Benz (270kW/465Nm) but they don’t tell the full story. The grunt from low revs in this en­gine is amaz­ing. And com­bined with a seven-speed twin-clutch auto, it was faster than the Benz (see driv­ing).

SAFETY

It gets five stars: stan­dard fare in­cludes a rear cam­era and front and rear sen­sors, and seven airbags (rear seats have cur­tain cov­er­age but lack side airbags at waist-height). Au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing is not avail­able but an op­tion packs adds pre­crash warn­ing, radar cruise con­trol and ac­tive lane as­sis­tance.

DRIV­ING

Ac­cord­ing to the brochure, the RS3 does the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.3 sec­onds (0.1 slower than the Benz). But in our real-world test­ing we re­peat­edly achieved an ex­ple­tive-in­duc­ing 4.0 sec­onds us­ing satel­lite-based tim­ing equip­ment. It’s an ab­so­lute mis­sile. And all with one sim­ple move: floor­ing the ac­cel­er­a­tor. The en­gine’s torque is more us­able in daily driv­ing and the sus­pen­sion also rides over bumps bet­ter and qui­eter than the Mercedes.

$78,900 21.5pts

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