Four-cylinder 2.0 turbo versus 2.5-liter inline-five.

Today’s drag race doze comes thanks to the folks over at Cars.co.za and puts two of the hottest small cars on the market against each other – the five-cylinder Audi RS3 versus the four-cylinder Mercedes-AMG A45. The duel is filmed at the 300-meter long Rock Raceway track in South Africa at 1,700 meters above sea level.

On the left side at the start line is the A45 AMG, Mercedes’ most powerful small car on sale today. It has a 2.0-liter AMG-upgraded turbo engine, which is good for 381 horsepower (280 kilowatts) and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. It’s sending power to all four wheels through the company’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, controlled by a three-stage ESP.

More fast hatches:

Against this, the Audi RS3 puts its five-cylinder 2.5-liter turbo unit, one of our favorite engines these days. It is more powerful than the 2.0 turbo of the Merc with its peak output of 400 hp (298 kW), and is also a bit more torquey – 354 pound-feet (480 Newton-meters) versus 350 lb-ft (475 Nm). Again, power reaches all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic and an AWD system.

Mercedes-AMG A45 Canyon Beige
Mercedes-AMG A45 Canyon Beige
Mercedes-AMG A45 Canyon Beige

If you’ve ever asked yourself whether one extra cylinder is still an important factor in high-performance vehicles, here’s the simple answer – yes, it is! At approximately equal levels of power and torque, the RS3 with its five-cylinder engine is obviously significantly quicker on this relatively short track, as the video shows. The two drivers launch literally at the exact same time, so it is entirely the cars' performance that matters at the end.

2018 Audi RS3: Second Drive
2018 Audi RS3: Second Drive
2018 Audi RS3: Second Drive

However, very soon, the RS3 will face a fierce competition from the next generation A45 AMG, which is expected to be much more powerful and faster than the current model. Initial reports suggest Mercedes will use an electric compressor to boost the output of the 2.0 engine to at least 402 hp (300 kW).

Can you beat that, RS3? Only time will tell.

Source: Cars.co.za on YouTube