Everything could have been so easy. The sun was shining, the temperatures were okay. However, there were still remains of snow directly in the braking zone before the Sachsencurve. So nothing to do. Because exactly at this point you reach top speed on the Sachsenring! It was also still wet under the bridge by the go-kart track – wherever there is a lot of shade.
AMG, BMW and Audi for the brake test
And we’re already on the subject: AMG or Audi, who will win the race? First test: brake test. The Stuttgart native stamps a natural 32.3 meters from 100 km/h in the asphalt. Mind you, on steel brakes. The BMW adds a smooth 33 meters, the Audi shocked us after the first braking with 35.4 meters.
But warm is trumps. And maybe the 4,650-euro ceramic front axle just needs a bit of temperature. It’s actually getting better, but 33.4 meters is still the worst value in comparison. The stoppers themselves feel quite good.
Audi sacrifices performance because of emission levels
The problem can already be identified acoustically: Where the others constantly reduce speed, the RS 3 rumbles again and again SECTIONbecause on mounted Bridgestone adhesion breaks down. The Potenza Sport is actually a top tire – it won last year’s sports tire test and is also at the top this year.
Audi has only chosen a version with optimized rolling resistance (class A) in favor of better fuel economy. The test-winning tire was class C. It is incomprehensible to us that Audi should sacrifice performance in a sporty top model because of the emission values. Hundreds of engineers spend years developing a car – and then you destroy everything with the only connection between the car and the asphalt.
The time drivers are dissatisfied with the RS 3
Steering into the first left-hand corner is a gamble, and especially in the short connection the Audi rubs helplessly outwards after the apex. The following right is only fast if you can start on the outside, turn your butt slightly and instinctively aim for the late apex. Astonished looks then in the box when looking at the profile picture: no broken edges, no sawtooth picture, the Japanese round is practically new after ten brisk turns.
The Benz welcomes you much more emotionally, babbles hotter and with sporty displays in the most dynamic mode. Out of the box, shift light, shift up manually of course. Sure, it’s also possible in the Audi, but there it doesn’t ring and rattle as nicely.
Above all, the spluttering when downshifting when we turn onto the short connection is wonderful. And lo and behold: Grip on the front axle! Narrow radius, approached on the outside right, the rear turns with it – like in a picture book. Almost a bit too much, because we rumble across the grass behind the curb.
Mercedes-AMG A 45 S: flawless load changes
In the RS 3 you have to keep the steering angle in front without oversteering to compensate for the pushing. Not in the AMG. So, first reset mentally. Even after start/finish, the A 45 S steers in without a murmur, it takes the following two load changes without complaint, only from the corners does the Audi seem to be able to get its power onto the ground better. This is also reflected in the analysis of the data in around 10 km/h more top speed for the Ingolstadt. And the lap time: the AMG squanders 1.88 seconds in the end.
But: The problem is not the car. That shows another fast lap, this time on the optional Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R. They were specially mixed for the RS 3 and turn the sports compact into a completely different car. The understeer is completely gone, the cornering speeds are significantly higher, the braking points are worlds further back. 1:34.84 min is a sensation.
The A 45 S drove a 1:34.93 min here in 2020 – also on Trofeo R. The cars would therefore be equal, but Audi is giving away a possible victory because of the standard consumption. The first trip for RS-3 customers must therefore go directly to the tire dealer.
2nd place with 294 out of 400 points: Audi RS 3 Limo The RS 3 has only one problem – and that is his tires. Otherwise he would be on par. Price: 69,200 euros; consumption: 9.6l/100km; 400 hp.
3rd place with 289 of 400 points: BMW M240i Considering that it is not yet the top version of the series, sensational performance. Price: 62,110 euros; consumption: 10.4l/100km; 374 hp.