2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2019 BMW 3 Series Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A3 Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 3 Series 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 3 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

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 3 Series Sedan has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

The Audi A3 Sedan’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the 3 Series Sedan’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 1 place higher in reliability than BMW.

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 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The A3 Sedan stops shorter than the 3 Series Sedan:

 

A3 Sedan

3 Series Sedan

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

165 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (235/35R19 vs. 225/35R20).

Suspension and Handling

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .94 G’s, while the 330i xDrive pulls only .89 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the 3 Series Sedan’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 3.1 feet tighter than the 3 Series Sedan xDrive’s (36.1 feet vs. 39.2 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A3 Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 pounds less than the BMW 3 Series Sedan.

The A3 Sedan is 10.2 inches shorter than the 3 Series Sedan, making the A3 Sedan 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 BMW. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 14% lower rating, BMW is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Recommendations

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

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

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