2019 Audi RS 3 vs. 2019 Mercedes AMG CLA 45

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

Your buying experience includes...

business_centerProfessional Staff
account_balanceSimple Financing
local_gas_stationFull Tank of Gas
local_car_washFree Car Wash

Safety

The RS 3’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi RS 3 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Mercedes AMG CLA 45 has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The RS 3 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To help make backing safer, the RS 3’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the RS 3 and the AMG CLA 45 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and lane departure warning systems.

Warranty

The RS 3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the AMG CLA 45’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 10 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

The RS 3’s 2.5 turbo 5 cyl. produces 19 more horsepower (394 vs. 375) and 4 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 350) than the AMG CLA 45’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the RS 3’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the AMG CLA 45:

RS 3

AMG CLA 45

Front Rotors

14.6 inches

13.8 inches

The RS 3 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RS 3’s optional front tires are larger than the largest tires available on the AMG CLA 45 (F:255/30R19 & R:235/35R19 vs. 235/35R19).

The RS 3’s optional 255/30R19 front tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the AMG CLA 45’s optional 35 series tires.

The RS 3 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the AMG CLA 45; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Chassis

The RS 3 is 8.4 inches shorter than the AMG CLA 45, making the RS 3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The RS 3 has 1 inch more front legroom, .7 inches more rear headroom and 8 inches more rear legroom than the AMG CLA 45.

Servicing Ease

The RS 3 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The AMG CLA 45 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RS 3 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the RS 3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the RS 3 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RS 3 will cost $4935 less than the AMG CLA 45 over a five-year period.

Recommendations

The RS 3 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The AMG CLA 45 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos