Spoiler alert! Equal parts fast and fancy, these cars blend visceral driving thrills with plenty of luxury.
1st: Audi RS3
German compacts and a coupe worked up to a seriously high-performance state made up the entire $75K-plus podium for 2017. In this pricey realm, bulk grunt happened to pip dynamic purity, with the Lotus Elise and Alfa Romeo 4C sitting just outside the top three. The Audi RS3, a bit like the TT RS in third, puts big outputs in an all-paw package to place point-to-point pace ahead of ultimate driver involvement.
But there’s no arguing with its impressive mix of low-fours to 100km/h and fuel economy inside the 10s (in all three medallists). Yet the RS3 delivers it for less dough than the TT, and with significantly stronger resale than its arch-rival, the A45.
2nd: Mercedes-AMG A45
The A45’s 53 percent resale isn’t bad in the grand scheme but it can’t match either Audi. The Benz fights back with a $75K sticker, some $10K less than the RS3 and $60K less than the TT.
3rd: Audi TT RS
Pricey for a TT, but a bargain considering the supercar-lite package on offer in the RS version. The surprisingly stout 73 percent three-year resale forecast helps keep the A45 in its crosshairs.