2019 Audi S3 Sedan vs. 2019 Mercedes AMG CLA 45

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The S3 Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S3 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 AMG CLA 45 has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The S3 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 AMG CLA 45 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 S3 Sedan’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 AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the S3 Sedan and the AMG CLA 45 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, all-wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S3 Sedan the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The AMG CLA 45 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The S3 Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the AMG CLA 45’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi S3 Sedan’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the AMG CLA 45’s 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’ 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

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi S3 Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The AMG CLA 45 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Tires and Wheels

The S3 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 AMG CLA 45; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Chassis

The S3 Sedan is 8.9 inches shorter than the AMG CLA 45, making the S3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The S3 Sedan has 1 inch more front legroom, .7 inches more rear headroom and 8 inches more rear legroom than the AMG CLA 45.

Servicing Ease

The S3 Sedan uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The AMG CLA 45 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

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 S3 Sedan to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the S3 Sedan Prestige detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the S3 Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the S3 Sedan will cost $5880 to $7415 less than the AMG CLA 45 over a five-year period.

The S3 Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S3 Sedan will retain 47.69% to 49.11% of its original price after five years, while the AMG CLA 45 only retains 47%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi S3 Sedan will be $7294 to $13001 less than for the Mercedes AMG CLA 45.

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

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