The Mercedes CLA 45 AMG is an impressive machine. It features one of the most powerful 2.0L Turbocharged production engines ever. With a rather impressive 354HP and 331 lb-ft of torque, this puts it in a new performance area, where small luxury cars have yet to go. The Audi S3, is powered by a 2.0T pumping out 296HP and 280 lb-ft of torque. While that might seem low in comparison, this 2.0T is no slouch when you look at the actually performance numbers. So which on is better? Let’s take a look.

2014 Audi S3 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45

Horsepower numbers were stated above, but from an actual street perspective, the Mercedes CLA 45 AMG goes from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and powered by a 7 speed transmission with paddle shifters. The Audi S3, goes from 0-60 in 4.9 seconds when mated to the 6-speed S-Tronic with paddle shifters. When you look at it from this perspective, why is it that the performance is not that much difference despite a 60HP difference? The reason most likely lies in the fact that the Audi S3 only weighs about 3000 pounds compare that to the Mercedes CLA 45 where no weight has been announced, but if it stays true to the regular CLA this car should weigh over 3300 pounds.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 Interior 2014 Audi S3 Interior

On the interior, the Audi wins overall. Better looking gauges, a better looking navigation system, and the award winning MMI interface is all on board. The gauges on the Mercedes CLA don’t look bad, but certainly look cheaper than on the Audi. The navigation system on the Mercedes CLA looks like a cheap Garmin add on; this is the problem with navigation systems such as this which don’t go down in the dash like the Audi does. Also, MMI has been proven to be a better system than COMMAND which should be due for a refresh soon. In the exterior, I would call it a draw. The Audi has nice lines that flow on the doors and on the hood; however the Mercedes is the more aggressive looking machine. The Carbon Fiber on the Mercedes strikes back as more premium, so the styling on the Audi is slightly nicer, but the carbon fiber makes the Mercedes more supercar looking.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 Rear 2014 Audi S3 Rear

Pricing for these vehicles is also in serious favor of the Audi S3. The Audi S3 is reportedly starting at 39K, compare that to the Mercedes CLA 45 which starts at 47K and you have a roughly $8,000 difference between the two. The 2014 Audi S3 will be available in summer 2014 and the Mercedes CLA 45 AMG should be going on sale later in the year. Overall, the choice here really depends on your preference. In typical AMG fashion if you want head snapping power go with the Mercedes, with the Audi if you want a sporty ride that’s not as fast as the Mercedes, but a car that has a superior interior and luxury features go with the Audi S3.