The BMW M2 can’t come soon enough. Mercedes-Benz has just announced that it will be increasing horsepower in its CLA45 AMG, a competitor to the current Audi RS3 and future M2.
The current CLA45 AMG/A45 AMG (North American/European markets) produces a healthy 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. And being that the engine only displaces 2.0 liters, that gives the CLA45 AMG a whopping 178 hp per liter, which is the highest specific output of any engine on the market. However, the mad men at AMG have decided that 355 hp wasn’t enough, so they bumped it up to an even crazier 375 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. It will also receive a “Turbo 4Matic” badge to let you know it’s extra sporty.
All of this power allows the CLA45 AMG to nail 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, or three tenths faster than the Audi RS3. The figures on the M2 are still unknown, but with around 360 horsepower, is likely to come close to 4.1.
Audi’s RS3 does have some advantages, though. Its Quattro all-wheel drive system is the superior system, so in bad weather the Audi will remain king. Also, its 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox is the better of the two, whereas Mercedes’ dual-clutch leaves a bit to be desired. So in Europe, Audi has the firepower to fight back.
Now, in the RS3 lacking US market, it’s a different story. The current Audi S3 has only 290 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. That’s not even enough firepower to content with the current CLA45 AMG, so it won’t stand a chance against an even spicier version. Some recent reports have claimed that an Audi RS3 is coming to the ‘States, even if it only comes as a sedan. Though nothing is official and even if it is released here, it will probably take some time.
It’s curious that Audi is playing this so safe, as Mercedes-Benz isn’t the only company to be creating extreme performance versions of its smallest cars. BMW is going to be releasing its M2 this year, which will be even faster than the M235i, which is already faster than the current S3. The M2 uses an updated N55 engine with 365 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque with 25 lb-ft of torque available as overboost. Along with the seven-speed DCT, the new M2 will also get the new six-speed manual transmission also found in the M3/M4.
So the market is heating up, a win-win for customers who will have more options than ever.