The Hammers! Mercedes A 45 AMG versus Ford Focus RS, BMW M2, Audi RS3

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Mercedes A 45 AMG meets its biggest, baddest rivals. With 350 hp, trick suspension and all-wheel drive system, the Focus RS attacks the first compact-League. Can the M2, RS 3 and A 45 AMG experience a nasty surprise?

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Mercedes A 45 AMG. Recently facelifted, the Merc now nominally stands the highest with 381 hp and 475 newton meters, but in fact it also has the smallest engine. Up to 1.8 bar the twinscroll turbo shovels air in the two-liter unit. And until it has gathered its force, sometimes needs a small moment. In the lower gears you realize it very little, because the speed jumps are extremely short and cover up the hole in accordance. In the higher gears between full throttle and full load there’s quite a noticeable delay. On the track, the AMG is tearing along most courageously. It couples the hardest one, plucking obsessively through the first passages and adheres so at least until 160 km / h before the speed-stronger BMW. The A 45 also delivers a brilliant acoustic show! Tubes, bangs, gargling, sometimes solo, sometimes together, and more. The brakes are great too. The steel belongs more to the best of what you can anchor in this class. The Dynamic Plus package with adaptive suspension also left a good impression. What is new: the semi slicks, the first time the A 45 wears them is today to make BMW’s M2 life harder. However, the AMG simply showed a little looseness. The steering feel is too muted, handling further enhanced and the Sport tire advantage almost even with it. Too bad, with a more aggressive suspension geometry, the A 45  could have been the best here.

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Audi RS3: That no one has to be pimple hard to feel afloat, however, shows the Audi, showing its dynamic talents in a significantly more subtle way. It may be that sometimes the RS3 lacks a bit of support in the chassis. But that compensates by a slight prance already to braking and a better steering that feels never nervous, but more agile. The suspension settings can make the AUdi downright provocative. And then all the rest: the incredible precise and direct steering, the flaky pedal feel, the exact and fast double clutch gearbox – all beguiling highly. Frivolous’s on the other hand, only the five-cylinder; especially when the RS3 airs on its optional sports exhaust system. Dark tubes to train noise, bronchial coughing in load changes and when downshifting and these dirty upshift belch – terrific. And the Audi is also fresh from the facelift; so it’s not unlikely that it gained a little more curve sharpness. 465 Newton meters hit you in the back of your head between 1625-5550 rpm, 367 hp permanently at your disposal. With seven aptly splayed gears and Launch Control, the RS3 sprints in 3.9 seconds to a hundred km/h, two hundred in 14.8. The Audi is plagued however in different concerns: the front axle that allows the RS3 too early to understeer. Also clear, with the quattro 4×4 system, the RS3 wins most milliseconds not at the beginning of the curve, but rather from the apex. In “short” corners the RS 3 comes right along well, alternating understeer with oversteer partly multiple. The brakes? Not that great…

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BMW M2: The A 45 and RS3’s prowess can be countered to great extent only by the BMW M2 which beats the fulminant Audi with even more rear rotation. And, now it is not only tail driven, but also wonderfully connected to its steering for betting sprinting. The manual gearbox BMW up may still be a dyed in the wool of sports transmissions. Even the six-cylinder motor shows its true colors, or its origin. Because unlike the M3 / M4 engine, which is completely new, the M2 motor emerges from a modified M235i unit. Quite so feverish therefore it relies on a Single-Turbo, but it runs cultured, it sounds creamy, and speaks the power language – ever pumping the BMW so fast like nothing and nobody before it. Less technology means more oversteer: the M2 could run the entire track in tail-happy mode, so the bigger the drift, the greater the pleasure! The M2 simply binds the driver closer to the action. And that’s the important thing in a coupe, which lives for matching its driving dynamics with its paces. The wide track, the stiff kinematics, the firm suspension, the balanced axle loads, the finely balanced steering and active suspension. All this adds up to a dynamic driving, extremely cohesive package. Due to the tight wheelbase, the oversteer countering measures are not as predictable as with an M3 or M4. Unlike those two, the M2 may need a stronger hand, corrections in the M2 therefore may fail a bit more extensive.

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Ford Focus RS: And the Focus? It is asking once to search the central display. Submenu driver assistance. Where otherwise cavort only track holder and distance warning, slumbering in this case the Launch Control. Let the clutch fly and the Focus will run with relatively large front wheel slip in 4.8 seconds to a hundred km/h. The engine might not be subjectively sweet revving and determined, proving neither as great as the fiery Audi, nor the highly elastic BMW and also not as the sledge hammer AMG. Still, the Focus RS is between 100 and 200 km / h 0.2 tenths faster. On the track is where the RS truly shines. And this is not only the wheel alone, but also with all the components that elaborate it. The RS also includes the semi slicks that lend the front a really sharp turn-in, while the rear axle at the same time is sufficiently stable. The Focus scurries corresponding neutral cornering inside, always remains directionally stable, reliable and despite its rear-emphasized torque, agile and free from oversteer and understeer. All the best, then, if there was not already the problem with the modes. The “Track” set-up itself is too stiff at the Sachsenring. Significantly smoother the A 45 runs in “Sport Mode”, which allows more movement, more comfort.

It’s about lap times, Sprint values, braking distances, driving impressions and also to see who can jump for the money most of the performance. Who wins? To check the full verdict, head on to