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Battle for Best Small German Sportster – Audi S4 vs Mercedes-Benz CLA45


Audi S4

Engine: 3.0L Turbo
Horsepower: 333
Fuel Economy: 17 City / 26 Hwy
MSRP: Starting at $48,400

Inside the 2015 Audi S4:

The 2015 Audi S4 comes in two trim packages and are both aptly named to show they are luxury vehicles; Premium Plus and Prestige. Both models include the 3.0L turbocharged direct injection six-cylinder engine with the power of 333 ponies. This TFSI, or turbo fuel stratified injection, ensures power is available to the driver when needed, yet throttles back to save on gas when it’s not necessary. The S4 is the sporty version of the Audi A4 with a bigger, more powerful engine. This is why the S4 acceleration from 0-60 is 4.9sec, or 1.7sec less than the A4. The handling is unlike many vehicles you will find at this price point. Although the top track speed of the S4 is clocked at 155mph, the true limitation of speed is completely up to the driver and their willingness to floor it on the open road.

When you look at the interior of the S4, it’s hard to believe this is technically considered mid-tier in terms of luxury from Audi. The interior is not only a delight for the eyes, but many of the other senses as well with three-zone automatic climate control, leather seating and Bang and Olufsen® sound system with 14 speakers and 505 watts. The only thing remotely negative we can say about this vehicle is about the lack of head room for rear passengers. However, the 60/40 rear seatbacks nearly fold flat giving you upwards of 34 cubic feet of cargo room behind the driver, which is a definite plus given the size of the vehicle. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t buy this vehicle if you are looking for a comfortable five-seater.

It’s a few years old and in a foreign language, but we absolutely love this commercial for the Audi S4. It certainly demonstrates the precision handling that the S4 has.

Mercedes-Benz CLA45

Engine: 2.0L Turbo
Horsepower: 355
Fuel Economy: 23 City / 31 Hwy
MSRP: Starting at $49,225

Inside the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA45:

The 2015 Mercedes Benz CLA45 is the crown jewel of the Mercedes-Benz CLA class of vehicles. The CLA is more the vehicle type, and 45 the trim package, but the CLA45 is a whole new car compared to the CLA250 and CLA250 4MATIC. This vehicle has a 2.0L turbo direct injection engine. Don’t be fooled by the small size because this is the most powerful four cylinder engine produced with upwards of 355 horsepower and a 0-60 time of just 4.4 seconds. The transmission on the CLA45 is just as impressive with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with SPEEDSHIFT® technology for decreased time in shifting gears. The CLA45 is in a league of its own when looking at performance under the hood.

The most notable thing that we loved that you won’t find in any of the spec sheets is how quiet it rides during what could be considered a normal commute. But punch that gas pedal, and you can almost hear all 355 horses working to pull you along the road. The downfall of this vehicle is the lack of features that are included in the $49,225 price. You can get a comparable fully loaded compact sedan for thousands less. However, if you are looking at pure performance under the hood, this vehicle is top of the line.

This commercial ads a ton of humor to what is otherwise a serious vehicle. It recognizes the fact the small sedan vehicle class is saturated with some amazing vehicles, yet the CLA45 stands out among the rest.

Our Pick for Winner:

Base Model: Audi S4

It would not be fair to the S4 if we looked at the CLA45 vehicle and considered it a base model. There is nothing basic about it. It’s a supercharged beast The S4 is a phenomenal vehicle with tons of power, acceleration and precision handling and deserves a win in this category.

Upgrades: Mercedes-Benz CLA45

Wow! We certainly enjoyed this vehicle and feel no further explanation is needed. Did we mention the fact it has a 4.4 sec 0-60MPH acceleration? I think we did, but just had to throw it in there one more time.

Overall Winner:

Mercedes-Benz CLA45

Audi is in many ways is a ‘silent assassin’ of the German automotive engineering realm, as they have been ‘killing it’ for years, yet sometimes get overlooked in the German Big 3 of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. However, no matter what specs you choose to consider when comparing these two vehicles or where your loyalties lie, the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 is our pick for the superior vehicle.


Dustin "Dusty" Rhodes

A fan of nice round numbers and working on tiny European cars, Dusty is the proud owner of a '58 Lloyd 600, a '50 FIAT 500, and is currently on the hunt for a Vespa 400. And, despite all that repair work, he still finds time to write about cars. 

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