2019 Audi A3 Cabriolet vs. 2019 Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A3 Cabriolet has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The E-Class Cabriolet doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the A3 Cabriolet and the E-Class Cabriolet have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The A3 Cabriolet’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the E-Class Cabriolet’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A3 Cabriolet’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the E-Class Cabriolet’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 10 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A3 Cabriolet gets better fuel mileage than the E-Class Cabriolet:

 

 

 

MPG

A3 Cabriolet

FWD

Auto

40 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

AWD

Auto

45 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

E-Class Cabriolet

 

RWD

300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

 

AWD

450 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/26 hwy

 

 

AMG 53 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. Hybrid

20 city/26 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A3 Cabriolet uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on A3 Cabriolet 45 TSFI for maximum performance). The E-Class Cabriolet requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Audi A3 Cabriolet as a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV). The Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

The A3 Cabriolet offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The E-Class Cabriolet doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Tires and Wheels

The A3 Cabriolet has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the E-Class Cabriolet; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the E-Class Cabriolet don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the A3 Cabriolet’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the E-Class Cabriolet’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.5 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A3 Cabriolet may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 to 750 pounds less than the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet.

The A3 Cabriolet is 1 foot, 3.9 inches shorter than the E-Class Cabriolet, making the A3 Cabriolet easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A3 Cabriolet to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The E-Class Cabriolet doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A3 Cabriolet owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A3 Cabriolet will cost $610 to $3155 less than the E-Class Cabriolet over a five-year period.

The A3 Cabriolet will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A3 Cabriolet will retain 45.88% to 46.51% of its original price after five years, while the E-Class Cabriolet only retains 44.54% to 45.17%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Cabriolet is less expensive to operate than the E-Class Cabriolet because typical repairs cost much less on the A3 Cabriolet than the E-Class Cabriolet, including $203 less for a water pump, $519 less for a muffler, $272 less for a starter, $143 less for fuel injection, $124 less for a fuel pump, $631 less for a timing belt/chain and $160 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A3 Cabriolet will be $19479 to $25100 less than for the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi A3 Cabriolet, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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