Mercedes-AMG and Audi’s RS division have been going toe-to-toe in the hyper hatch world for years now, but in 2022 things have hit fever pitch.

Now we have a pair of grocery getters that produce 300kW/500Nm, cost six figures and, thanks to sub 4.0 second 0-100 times, have enough acceleration on tap to make a Porsche 911 Turbo feel a touch sheepish.

But if you want to buy the fastest hatchback from 0-100 which do you go for: Audi RS3 or AMG A45 S?

On paper, the Audi is the quickest of this pair. Its 0-100km/h claim of 3.8 seconds is a tenth quicker than the AMG A45, which completes the same marker in 3.9sec.

But as we’ve discovered on multiple occasions, on-paper performance figures are one thing – actually achieving them in the real world is another. Time to strap on our trusty VBOX data logger and dial up launch control.

Before we get to the numbers, some important house-keeping. Both cars we tested on the same day, in the same conditions and with the same driver. They’re also rolling on road-biased tyres. You can opt for sticky Trofeo R rubber on both cars, but for this test the AMG was fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S rubber while the RS3 was on staggered Bridgestone Potenza Sports.

First up against the clock was the AMG. With 310kW/500Nm on tap from a frenzied M139 2.0-litre turbo, it’s the more powerful of this pair. It’s eight-speed dual-clutch also has an extra ratio compared to the RS3, although both cars tightly stack their first three gears to hit 0-100km/h in the quickest time possible.

With Race mode and launch control engaged the A45 S hit 0-100km/h in 4.0 seconds dead. That’s a tenth away from its official 3.9sec claim, and also a tenth slower from what we’ve recorded before on a sticky drag strip, but in slightly cool conditions and on regular black top, the A45 was metronomic.

It recorded 4.0sec run after run – regardless of whether we changed our launch technique or drive mode. We know from experience the A45 can match its 3.9 sec claim, but today that last tenth evaded us. And in the end, it didn’t matter.

The Audi’s first run made mincemeat of the A45. And it completely destroyed its official claim of 3.9sec. With RS Individual dialled up and launch control engaged, the RS3 hit three figures in 3.5 seconds.

Weirdly, it didn’t feel quite as fast as the frenzied AMG. The A345 is louder and its gearshifts hammer home with shocking speed and intensity. The RS3 is more like an electric car in how it rockets away from the line. Minimal wheel spin, seamless gear shifts and a seemingly relentless stream of acceleration.

The RS3 clocked 3.6sec to 100km/h on the next two runs, proving that Audi has seriously undersold its true straight line potency.

It’s also worth pointing out our testing is from 0-62mph, not 0-60 as some times are recorded in America and the UK. We also don’t use a ‘one-foot rollout’, which doesn’t start the clock right when the car starts to move and can shave a few tenths from the time.

Washing off speed is equally important in cars like this and both recorded similar 100-0 km/h braking distances. The Audi was fitted with optional carbon ceramics and took 36.5 metres to come to a complete stop. The A45’s regular steel stoppers saw it complete the same exercise in 37.6m.

So the Audi is the quickest of this pair and by a decent margin, too. As for which is the better all-round hyper hatch, we have a full comparison test dropping soon. Stay tuned.

Speed Audi RS3 AMG A45 S
10km/h 0.3 0.2
20km/h 0.6 0.6
30km/h 0.9 1.0sec
40km/h 1.2 1.3
50km/h 1.5 1.7
60km/h 1.8 2
70km/h 2.2 2.5
80km/h 2.6 2.9
90km/h 3 3.5
100km/h 3.5 4.0sec
True at 100km/h 97 96
100km/h-0 36.5m 37.6m

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Keyword: Which is faster: the 2022 Audi RS3 or AMG A45 S?

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