The two cars are very similar on paper, but not on the road.
If you want a quick German sedan for not too much money, your best bet is the Audi S3. Recently, however, Mercedes-AMG entered the fray with its A35. Also powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-four, and also equipped with a dual-clutch transmission that powers all four wheels, this is a great alternative if you find Audis a bit too generic. But which is quicker? The video below explores the topic, with the S3's 288 horsepower lagging behind the 302 hp of the A35. But while the Merc weighs 3,480 pounds, the S3 is a touch lighter at 3,461 lbs. So place your bets, and let's see which is quicker.
Launching from a dig with the cars in Sport/Dynamic mode, the transmissions in automatic mode, and the traction control on, the Merc wins with ease, pulling away from the S3 hard. For the second run, the same rules are applied but traction control has been deactivated. Using launch control, the S3 shows its true ability, but as the end of the strip approaches, the A35 appears to be reeling the S3 in with relative ease. But what about a rolling race?
Well, the transmissions are once again in automatic mode, but the S3 does better this time, kicking down quickly and taking off. The advantage is short-lived though, and the A35 once again asserts its dominance. With traction off and manual shifts allowed, the S3 has no chance at all and the plucky little Mercedes leaves the S3 for dead.
The extra power that Mercedes has provided the A35 with has really paid dividends here, despite a disadvantage on the weight scales. How will things fare with the new generation of each of these cars? The S3 has become more competitive and now produces 305 hp, while the latest iteration of the A35 is expected to get no power bump for the new model year. Unfortunately, we won't get to see how this translates in a drag race because Mercedes has killed the baby sedan in the US. If you care little for straight-line performance and just want a premium brand without breaking the bank, at least the cheapest Benz SUV will soon be available.