2020 Audi RS 3 vs. 2019 Mercedes AMG CLA 45

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/23

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 optional 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

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

Reliability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/23

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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 7 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

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The RS 3’s 2.5 turbo 5-cylinder 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-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi RS 3 is faster than the Mercedes AMG CLA 45:

RS 3

AMG CLA 45

Zero to 60 MPH

3.5 sec

3.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

8.7 sec

9.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

4.3 sec

5.3 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.8 sec

2.9 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.2 sec

3.3 sec

Quarter Mile

11.9 sec

12.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

117 MPH

113 MPH

Top Speed

174 MPH

167 MPH

Brakes and Stopping

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/23

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 front 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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Ergonomics

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Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the RS 3 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 standard on 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

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/23

Insurance will cost less for the RS 3 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RS 3 will cost $5180 less than the AMG CLA 45 over a five-year period.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/23

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.

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