2019 Acura TLX vs. 2019 Audi A3 Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

Your buying experience includes...

business_centerProfessional Staff
account_balanceSimple Financing
local_gas_stationFull Tank of Gas
local_car_washFree Car Wash

Safety

The TLX V6 offers an optional Surround View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The A3 Sedan only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The TLX offers optional AcuraLink, 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 Sedan 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 TLX and the A3 Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Acura TLX is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:

 

TLX

A3

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Acura TLX is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:

 

TLX

A3

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

179 G’s

219 G’s

Hip Force

276 lbs.

308 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

229

277

Hip Force

483 lbs.

777 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

249

333

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

47 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the TLX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A3 Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the A3 Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 20th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

Engine

The TLX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 22 more horsepower (206 vs. 184) than the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The TLX’s optional 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 62 more horsepower (290 vs. 228) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 258) than the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the TLX V6’s fuel efficiency. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the TLX SH-AWD’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The TLX has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s standard fuel tank (17.2 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The TLX has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan 45 TFSI Quattro’s standard fuel tank (17.2 vs. 14.5 gallons).

The TLX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Acura TLX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A3 Sedan.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the TLX’s brake rotors are larger than those on the A3 Sedan:

 

TLX

A3

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

10.7 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the TLX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A3 Sedan (245/40R19 vs. 235/35R19).

The TLX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the TLX’s wheelbase is 5.5 inches longer than on the A3 Sedan (109.3 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the TLX is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than on the A3 Sedan.

Chassis

The TLX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the TLX V6 SH-AWD is quieter than the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro (39 vs. 41 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the TLX a Compact car, while the A3 Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The TLX has 7.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Sedan (93.3 vs. 86).

The TLX has .7 inches more front headroom, 1.4 inches more front legroom, 2.7 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The TLX has a much larger trunk than the A3 Sedan (14.3 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the TLX offers cargo security. The A3 Sedan’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

Servicing Ease

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

Ergonomics

The TLX offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the TLX, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.

The TLX’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

Keyless Access System standard on the TLX allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip (optional Keyless Access System will also allow unlocking the passenger doors without taking your keys out). The Audi A3 Sedan’s available Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

When the TLX is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The A3 Sedan’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The TLX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the A3 Sedan. The TLX Advance also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the A3 Sedan.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the TLX Advance/V6 A-Spec keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the TLX Advance’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the TLX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the TLX will cost $770 less than the A3 Sedan over a five-year period.

The TLX will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the TLX will retain 48.4% to 50.83% of its original price after five years, while the A3 Sedan only retains 47% to 47.42%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the TLX is less expensive to operate than the A3 Sedan because it costs $441 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the TLX than the A3 Sedan, including $243 less for a water pump, $39 less for front brake pads, $133 less for front struts and $90 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura TLX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

The Acura TLX outsold the Audi A3/S3 by 66% during 2018.

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

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos