2018 Volkswagen Beetle vs. 2018 Audi A3 Cabriolet

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Beetle SE has standard Car-Net, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Beetle and the A3 Cabriolet have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Beetle comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The A3 Cabriolet’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

There are over 2 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Beetle’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 26th, below the industry average.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Beetle gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Cabriolet:

 

 

Beetle

A3

 

FWD

2.0T/Auto

26 city/33 hwy

25 city/33 hwy

2.0 TFSI/Auto

 

2.0T Dune/Auto

26 city/34 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

22 city/30 hwy

2.0T/Auto

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Beetle uses regular unleaded gasoline. The A3 Cabriolet Quattro requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Beetle has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Cabriolet FWD’s standard fuel tank (14.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Beetle’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the A3 Cabriolet’s (35.4 feet vs. 36.1 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Beetle may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 400 pounds less than the Audi A3 Cabriolet.

The Beetle is 5.7 inches shorter than the A3 Cabriolet, making the Beetle easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Beetle Convertible has 2.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Cabriolet (81.4 vs. 79).

Servicing Ease

The Beetle has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Beetle (except S/Coast) offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Beetle owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Beetle will cost $1100 to $7375 less than the A3 Cabriolet over a five-year period.

The Beetle will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Beetle will retain 43.41% to 74.04% of its original price after five years, while the A3 Cabriolet only retains 40.55% to 41.24%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Beetle is less expensive to operate than the A3 Cabriolet because it costs $259 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Beetle than the A3 Cabriolet, including $153 less for a water pump, $4 less for front brake pads, $10 less for a fuel pump and $351 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Beetle will be $18047 to $20181 less than for the Audi A3 Cabriolet.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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