2019 Audi A3 Sedan vs. 2019 Mercedes A-Class

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 A-Class doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 Mercedes A-Class doesn’t offer height-adjustable 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 A-Class 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.

To help make backing safer, the A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The A-Class doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A3 Sedan and the A-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, 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 and rear parking sensors.

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 A-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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

Reliability

The Audi A3 Sedan’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the A-Class’ engine uses 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’ 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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

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.

Engine

The A3 Sedan 45 TSFI Quattro’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 40 more horsepower (228 vs. 188) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI is faster than the Mercedes A 220:

 

A3 Sedan

A-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14 sec

16.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI FWD gets better fuel mileage than the A 220 FWD (26 city/35 hwy vs. 24 city/35 hwy).

The A3 Sedan 45 TFSI Quattro’s standard fuel tank has a gallon more fuel capacity than the A-Class (14.5 vs. 13.5 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A3 Quattro 45 TFSI

A-Class

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A3 Sedan has larger standard tires than the A-Class (225/45R17 vs. 205/55R17). The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A-Class (235/35R19 vs. 205/55R17).

The A3 Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A-Class’ standard 55 series tires. The A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the A-Class’ 55 series tires.

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 A-Class; 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.

Chassis

The A3 Sedan is 3.6 inches shorter than the A-Class, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The A3 Sedan has a much larger trunk than the A-Class (12.3 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).

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

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 A-Class can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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 A-Class doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 A-Class doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A3 Sedan has standard extendable sun visors. The A-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Model Availability

The Audi A3 comes in convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Mercedes A-Class isn’t available as a convertible or station wagon.

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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