Cars

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 vs Audi S3 Saloon CarWow challenge comparison review

by David Purcell
carwow, YouTube

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Car enthusiasts looking to invest in a saloon car have thousands of options in front of them, but after seeing CarWow's YouTube show pit both the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 and Audi S3 against each other, you might be tempted to splash out. 

The YouTube channel boasts over 3.3 million followers on the platform, posting regular car reviews with an in-depth look at the hottest sets of wheels in the industry, while also providing its loyal following with other content such as drag race videos, head-to-heads, and more.

Speaking of head-to-heads, on January 21 they posted a video including both the Mercedes-AMG and Audi vehicles mentioned, in an attempt to find out which would be the best to drive from the two.

CarWow speed test for Audi S3
carwow, YouTube
Mat Watson takes both cars for a spin during his YouTube review for CarWow, before giving his verdict on which is the best.

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The presenter for this video was Mat Watson, who aptly described both of these as "desirable" saloon cars right from the outset, but he wanted to know which one was the best.

In order to do that, he picked a few different aspects of the vehicles to compare – including their launch, technology, design, sound, practicality, and finally something that's very important for a lot of drivers... Finding out which is the most fun.

So, let's take a look at the video and crucially, the findings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOupAF4upxw

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Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 profile

Performance

Just to give you an idea of how they stack up against each other, the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 has a 2.0 litre, four cylinder turbocharged engine, 306hp, four wheel drive, and its manufacturer says it can do 0-60 in 4.9 seconds. Yet, in the video it actually hit 60 in 4.7 seconds.

Design (exterior)

The design of the CLA 35 is slick to say the least. In the review, too, Watson wanted to emphasize just how impressive its design was by making a comparison to another model from Mercedes.

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 reviewed on YouTube
carwow, YouTube
The Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 has some impressive performance to back it up, but does it top the Audi?

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He said: "Some of you may be wondering why the heck I haven't got the A35 Saloon [in the video]. Well, the reason is the CLA is only a little more expensive and let's be honest, it's the one you would have because it's just looks way sexier. In fact, I really like the look of it."

Key features include the sporty rear diffuser, new badging, boot-lip spoiler, 35 grill featuring two slats, no huge wing like we've seen in other models, low to the ground with its suspension, and looks "meaner" with blacked out elements as well.

Overall, Mat said this car was easily the best in terms of exterior design.

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Design (interior)

Straight off the bat, the inside of the Merc looked a lot more complex than the Audi – and looked more modern.

"I tell you what, the inside of this CLA just makes that of the S3 look absolutely old as the hills – love it - so modern," Mat said, although he had to admit that some of the materials selected were "cheap" to feel. Take a look yourself.

The entertainment built into the car, this reviewer says, is the best around right now.

Interior of Mercedes-AMG CLA 35
carwow, YouTube
Here's how the Mercedes looks inside.

Sound

The way an engine sounds is important for some drivers and particular focus was given to it in this CarWow video. When revving in a stationary position, the Mercedes sounded better by a mile. The same verdict was given about the cars when driving, too.

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 price

This vehicle's price starts at £40,000 (around $52,000) and final prices will be determined on which specifications are picked by the buyer – according to CarWow.

Audi S3 saloon 

Performance

In the case of the second car in this review, the Audi S3 saloon also has a 2.0 litre, four cylinder turbocharged engine, with 300hp, and a dynamic mode that activates a speedy launch system, similar to the Merc's Sport+ feature.

After activating dynamic, sports mode and stability controls, the four wheel drive car blasted out of the blocks in the speed test and hit 60mph in 4.3 seconds – meaning its acceleration just pips the CLA 35.

Audi S3 reviewed on YouTube
carwow, YouTube
Here's a closer look at the Audi S3 saloon.

Design (exterior)

The sporty front bumper, boot-lip spoiler, S3 badge, rear diffuser, four exhaust pipes, low suspension, and side skirts makes this vehicle a really eye catching one in the video and on the road. Audi also offers the chance to change the color of the front of the vehicle, its wheels and wind mirrors with the black pack.

Design (interior)

"One thing Audi always does well is with their interior quality and it's no different with the S3," Watson said, brushing his hands around the sporty steering wheel, gear stick, upgraded sport seats with fixed headrests and more.

There are optional red stitching and surrounds for other features that are available with this vehicle. There's a pop-up screen inside the car, too, which makes it look a little dated, according to this reviewer.

Audi S3 saloon interior
carwow, YouTube
Here's what the Audi S3 saloon looks like inside.

Sound

When stationary, just revving, the Audi wasn't the most impressive to listen to. However, it sounded much louder on the road, but still wasn't enough to get the nod from CarWow when pitted against the CLA 35.

Audi S3 saloon price

This vehicle's price starts at £39,000 (around $51,000) and final prices will be determined on which specifications are picked by the buyer – according to CarWow. They are, side-by-side, very similar in that respect.

Verdict

With so many indicators and comparisons looked at during the course of the in-depth video, including price, design, launch, speed and specifications, Mat Watson suggests that the price will ultimately make up many people's minds.

However, all things weighed up, he went with the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35... but what would you choose?