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peterp1972

My S3 v My CLA45

I now have both the new S3 and the new CLA45.
Both interesting drives.
Lets start with the new S3.
Options taken were the Performance pack, metallic Misano paint and Sunroof.
Drivetrain:
The haldex awd system is amazing. Drives like a full time awd car and not a FWD with help as needed. Do not compare this to any previous model as you would be hard pushed to even know it has a haldex system.
The steering is precise and it takes a lot of effort to get any under steer.
The magnetic ride is perfect in dynamic mode but to sloppy in comfort.
Reminds me of a bouncy castle going over speed humps in comfort.
Brakes are great but do fade under extreme use.
Interior:
Seats are extremely comfortable and make this an ideal daily driver. Would have preferred a bit more side support to hold you in place when pushing the car hard.
The finish is the usual VW/Audi cheap plastic but I'm not disappointed as it was expected. A good example of this would be the air vents. Even a touch of chrome would have helped.
There are some great features though, the new touch scribe controller used for destination selection and phone number look up is very handy. No matter how badly you left hand write it seems to always work.
Bang and Olufson sound system is fantastic. My only complaint is the radio station list always displayed available channels or stations. You now have to search for stations and add them to the list. There might be some setting I haven't found yet.

CLA45:
Now I know this car is a lot more expensive but I believe its still in the same class.
Drivetrain:
Again it has the haldex system but it will only transfer up to 50% of the power to the rear. I believe the Audi can transfer up to 100% to the rear. The Merc definately feels more like a well sorted FWD car. In saying that the drivetrain is only one component.
Suspension, This car will out corner the S3 on every turn and at 40% higher speed. If you buy the S3 do not try to take out an A45/CLA45 on a B road. You will die trying.
The engine is also in a different league. It is definitely more laggy on take off but you can feel the 1.8bar being passed to the turbo. The power doesnt stop there. This thing just keeps on pulling.
There is no lag in the S3 that can be felt, but the power just does not excite you.
A perfect example is B5 RS4 kick in the pants versus B7 RS4 put you to sleep.

Transmission:
This is where the Merc lets itself down. In some crazy Germans mind Mercedes thought they could make a better DSG or DCT as they call it. What a miserable failure!!!!!
Yes it is quick but it is also crude, rough and unrefined.
In comfort mode it is slow to change and really just to boring to drive.
Sport Mode: This is my preferred option. Bangs between changes and is lightening quick. However when you slow to a stop you can feel it drop back to first. Even hear it clunk back to first.
Manual mode: Instant up shift and as usual not so instant down shift.
Interior:
Quality, quality and more quality. AMG don't mess around in this department. Finish is as expected and it really feels like it. Seats lock you in place just like the B7 RS4 winged seats. This feels like a fast car before you even start. Sound system is a bit boring as are the navigation and other media controls. Functional would be a better word. The speakers are Harmon Kardon but not even 50% as good as the Audi offering.

In summary, if you are looking for a daily drive then the S3 is perfect. Comfortable and a very nice place to be on a daily basis.
If you are looking for a weekend weapon the save your pennies and buy the Merc. Great fun car that is only happy driving hard. not a city car by any means.
Things may change when the new RS3 arrives.

Pete
marc1

Great review Pete and two interesting cars.  I prefer the Merc's from what I have read as they are suppose to handle very well - confirmed again by your post.  I have read some issues with the A45 diff oil getting too hot and the AWD becoming unavailable though.  What is the fuel economy like for each? They both claim fairly good numbers now, so wondered what they are like in the real world.

Cheers
Marc R

Great write up...so fit the s3 with a nice set of KW's and a tad bigger turbo and your a winner.
Marc R

Double...
jimbo

still got the rs4 pete ?
Nige

Good write up - do you really think the Audi plastics are that bad?

I fitted a rear H&R ARB to my S3 8P and I reckon it would be a match for the A45 - I can't believe how much more grip it has by just changing a small part. Easily the best mod going for this car - dials out the understeer completely.
peterp1972

jimbo wrote:
still got the rs4 pete ?

Sure do, It's still stuck in customs. I haven't had a chance to get it through yet.
peterp1972

Nige wrote:
Good write up - do you really think the Audi plastics are that bad?

I fitted a rear H&R ARB to my S3 8P and I reckon it would be a match for the A45 - I can't believe how much more grip it has by just changing a small part. Easily the best mod going for this car - dials out the understeer completely.


Look, for a car thats $40k cheaper you don't expect the same build quality.
Compared to the golf the Audi is years ahead. At least the vents are round and not from the early 70's. It's the finish on the door trims and dash board that look too plastic. Needs to have more aluminium, carbon or leather just to make it look special like an S3 should. More mass build rather than unique.
Still a great car to drive though.
I'll attach some photo's later so you can see what I mean.

As for the sway bar I think it might actually help a bit. More boost is definitely needed.
peterp1972

Marc R wrote:
Great write up...so fit the s3 with a nice set of KW's and a tad bigger turbo and your a winner.


More boost and a good remap should do the trick. Just need someone to break the new ECU code.
peterp1972




Arcam

Re: My S3 v My CLA45

peterp1972 wrote:
I now have both the new S3 and the new CLA45.
Both interesting drives.
Lets start with the new S3.
Options taken were the Performance pack, metallic Misano paint and Sunroof.
Drivetrain:
The haldex awd system is amazing. Drives like a full time awd car and not a FWD with help as needed. Do not compare this to any previous model as you would be hard pushed to even know it has a haldex system.
The steering is precise and it takes a lot of effort to get any under steer.
The magnetic ride is perfect in dynamic mode but to sloppy in comfort.
Reminds me of a bouncy castle going over speed humps in comfort.
Brakes are great but do fade under extreme use.
Interior:
Seats are extremely comfortable and make this an ideal daily driver. Would have preferred a bit more side support to hold you in place when pushing the car hard.
The finish is the usual VW/Audi cheap plastic but I'm not disappointed as it was expected. A good example of this would be the air vents. Even a touch of chrome would have helped.
There are some great features though, the new touch scribe controller used for destination selection and phone number look up is very handy. No matter how badly you left hand write it seems to always work.
Bang and Olufson sound system is fantastic. My only complaint is the radio station list always displayed available channels or stations. You now have to search for stations and add them to the list. There might be some setting I haven't found yet.

CLA45:
Now I know this car is a lot more expensive but I believe its still in the same class.
Drivetrain:
Again it has the haldex system but it will only transfer up to 50% of the power to the rear. I believe the Audi can transfer up to 100% to the rear. The Merc definately feels more like a well sorted FWD car. In saying that the drivetrain is only one component.
Suspension, This car will out corner the S3 on every turn and at 40% higher speed. If you buy the S3 do not try to take out an A45/CLA45 on a B road. You will die trying.
The engine is also in a different league. It is definitely more laggy on take off but you can feel the 1.8bar being passed to the turbo. The power doesnt stop there. This thing just keeps on pulling.
There is no lag in the S3 that can be felt, but the power just does not excite you.
A perfect example is B5 RS4 kick in the pants versus B7 RS4 put you to sleep.

Transmission:
This is where the Merc lets itself down. In some crazy Germans mind Mercedes thought they could make a better DSG or DCT as they call it. What a miserable failure!!!!!
Yes it is quick but it is also crude, rough and unrefined.
In comfort mode it is slow to change and really just to boring to drive.
Sport Mode: This is my preferred option. Bangs between changes and is lightening quick. However when you slow to a stop you can feel it drop back to first. Even hear it clunk back to first.
Manual mode: Instant up shift and as usual not so instant down shift.
Interior:
Quality, quality and more quality. AMG don't mess around in this department. Finish is as expected and it really feels like it. Seats lock you in place just like the B7 RS4 winged seats. This feels like a fast car before you even start. Sound system is a bit boring as are the navigation and other media controls. Functional would be a better word. The speakers are Harmon Kardon but not even 50% as good as the Audi offering.

In summary, if you are looking for a daily drive then the S3 is perfect. Comfortable and a very nice place to be on a daily basis.
If you are looking for a weekend weapon the save your pennies and buy the Merc. Great fun car that is only happy driving hard. not a city car by any means.
Things may change when the new RS3 arrives.

Pete


Hi Pete,

My first time posting on here (long time GT-R R35 owner) and felt I must add a comments or two on the brakes, suspension, DSG gearbox and B&O system having just run my S3 round the Ring on 2 back to back private trackdays. I have the magnetic ride on mine and this is very good, with very little pitch and roll and the car feeling more like a go-kart - VDC off to stop pre sense kicking in. I agreed on the comfort mode of the suspension and driving around town and over speed bumps it is particularly unpleasant, but the weird thing in that at 100+ MPH on high-speed straightish roads it feels find with the car tracking straight and true, that may well be more to do with the power steering setting changing at high speed, at 160MPH (indicated) on the bumpy Dottinger Hohe straight the dynamic setting working brilliantly, but on my cool down laps I switched to comfort mode and it was not as bad as you would imagine 

The stock tyres concerned me a little at first (looked to be too small for the job) but in use were excellent!

The brakes are OK for mild "fast road" driving but the pads are not really up for any reasonable trackday use and a harder compound should be used, the stock compound does not handle higher temps for elevated periods particularly well (I know stock pads are always a compromise) and I would have expected a little more from them. That said they did their job, just (The Nordschleife is not that hard on brakes) but have left tram marks on the disks.

The gearbox itself was fine (paddle size aside), the gearbox logic is disappointing, in manual mode and dynamic ride selected it will not allow you to run to the redline and keep it there, it will always shift up. If you select the next gear a moment before the cpu does you will get 2 gears, jumping from 4th to 6th for example, if you are around 4.5 to 5k rpm (mid corner or not!) and part throttle and apply full power during the exit phase it will kick down! Now I appreciate that the engine should be protected from a down shift into the red line, but come on Audi surely you could have use a rev limiter/cut? and not shift up when in manual mode, at least the Merc does not do this (agreed on the agricultural nature of the AMG's 'box BTW).

Final comment for now, if you order the S3 (not Sportback or Saloon) please listen to the B & O system first as IMHO it is very poor with little to no midrange that can't be corrected via the audio controls, If you listen to the one in the S3 Sportback it has 2 extra speakers in the rear doors and sounds better but still not enough midrange, I have just placed an order for the S3 Sportback without the B & O system and selected the Audi premium instead which is much better balanced and valve for money, I have just come out of a SQ5 with B & O which was fab, 2 x R35 GT-R (2010 and 2011) before that with Bose and 2 Audi's previous to that with B & O and Bose, and this is the only one that is a really poor option at 750.

I don't suppose anyone could point me in the right direction for oem disk and pads assuming that the dealer is the not the best place for price? I have assuming this is the correct section for this model year S3 (2014/15) as I could not find one specifically for this model year.
brasiliangringo

Interesting, never fancied the new S3..

Did you think about the new M3 ? Must handle..

Where are you out of interest - down under ?
Arcam

brasiliangringo wrote:
Interesting, never fancied the new S3..

Did you think about the new M3 ? Must handle..

Where are you out of interest - down under ?


Yep, I am considering the new M3, drove it last week and it is fantastic but I think I would miss the AWD/Quattro, it is a massive improvement on the old M3.

I live in sunny Rochdale BTW (a little to the NW of Manchester), the S3 is a good tool, sure it is not without its faults but at 10k less than the Merc it is miles better value and a little more polished.
brasiliangringo

I thought the old M3 was pretty good - what improvements ?

Sorry i meant where does the OP live as couldnt place the plates but not too may places where they drive on the left..
Arcam

brasiliangringo wrote:
I thought the old M3 was pretty good - what improvements ?

Sorry i meant where does the OP live as couldnt place the plates but not too may places where they drive on the left..


Much better pull from pretty much any rpm you care for, the new seating is more comfortable and holds you miles better, suspension is a dream on soft setting and not bone jarring on hard, the mode combos you can use are "real world". The steering is perhaps not quite as sharp as the previous model but the brakes have more feel while giving a better pedal.

This was from a 1 hour RT, if I plan on taking it further I will borrow one for a day to make sure I still like it, BMW have never been my first choice, but I like the look of this new one and may well be tempted back into the rear wheel drive camp.

One last thing I would say about the new S3 is that it is a chassis crying out for more power, another 100 ponies or so would do the trick nicely.

Got you on the OP post, missed the $ reference
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