2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2018 Cadillac ATS 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

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A3 Sedan are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Cadillac ATS Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

The A3 Sedan 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 ATS Sedan 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 Sedan and the ATS Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

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 Audi A3 Sedan is safer than the Cadillac ATS Sedan:

 

A3 Sedan

ATS Sedan

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.1 inches

Hip Force

308 lbs.

325 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

64 G’s

Hip Force

777 lbs.

888 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

13 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

776 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A3 Sedan the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ATS Sedan was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The A3 Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the ATS Sedan’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Reliability

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

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the A3 Sedan’s reliability 32 points higher than the ATS Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 21 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI is faster than the Cadillac ATS Sedan turbo 4 cyl.:

 

A3 Sedan

ATS Sedan

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14 sec

16.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

6.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

95 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A3 Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the ATS Sedan:

 

 

 

MPG

A3 Sedan

FWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

ATS Sedan

RWD

Manual

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/29 hwy

 

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/31 hwy

 

 

3.6 DOHC V6

20 city/30 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

 

 

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/27 hwy

Regardless of its engine, the A3 Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Cadillac only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the ATS Sedan Auto.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A3 Sedan higher (7 out of 10) than the Cadillac ATS Sedan (5). This means the A3 Sedan produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the ATS Sedan every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The A3 Sedan 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 ATS Sedan doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A3 Sedan Quattro 45 TFSI’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the ATS Sedan:

 

A3 Quattro 45 TFSI

ATS

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

The A3 Sedan stops much shorter than the ATS Sedan:

 

A3

ATS

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

167 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ATS Sedan (235/35R19 vs. 225/40R18).

The A3 Sedan 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 ATS Sedan; 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.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A3 Sedan is 1.7 inches wider in the front than on the ATS Sedan.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .94 G’s, while the ATS Sedan pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the ATS Sedan (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 26.7 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

Chassis

The A3 Sedan is 7.3 inches shorter than the ATS Sedan, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro is quieter than the ATS Sedan:

 

A3 Sedan

ATS Sedan

At idle

41 dB

42 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

71 dB

Cargo Capacity

The A3 Sedan has a much larger trunk than the ATS Sedan (12.3 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A3 Sedan easier. The A3 Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 26.3 inches, while the ATS Sedan’s liftover is 28 inches.

Ergonomics

The A3 Sedan’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The ATS Sedan’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the A3 Sedan the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the ATS Sedan can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The A3 Sedan’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The ATS Sedan’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The A3 Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the ATS Sedan’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A3 Sedan offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The A3 Sedan Prestige’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The ATS Sedan doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Audi A3 comes in convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Cadillac ATS isn’t available as a convertible or station wagon.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A3 Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the A3 Sedan with a number “5” insurance rate while the ATS Sedan is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

The A3 Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A3 Sedan will retain 47% to 47.42% of its original price after five years, while the ATS Sedan only retains 38.82% to 39.32%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Sedan is less expensive to operate than the ATS Sedan because typical repairs cost much less on the A3 Sedan than the ATS Sedan, including $170 less for a water pump, $587 less for a muffler, $77 less for front brake pads, $132 less for a starter, $276 less for fuel injection, $209 less for a fuel pump, $141 less for a timing belt/chain and $8 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 Sedan will be $5823 to $7603 less than for the Cadillac ATS Sedan.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi A3 Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Cadillac ATS Sedan isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the A3 Sedan first among small premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The ATS Sedan isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Audi A3/S3 outsold the Cadillac ATS by 69% 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