2019 Fiat 124 Spider vs. 2019 Audi A3 Cabriolet

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 124 Spider has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the 124 Spider and the A3 Cabriolet have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are over 39 percent more Fiat dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 124 Spider’s warranty.

Reliability

The engines in the 124 Spider have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the A3 Cabriolet have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

Suspension and Handling

The 124 Spider Abarth handles at .87 G’s, while the A3 Cabriolet pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the 124 Spider’s turning circle is 5.3 feet tighter than the A3 Cabriolet’s (30.8 feet vs. 36.1 feet).

Chassis

The Fiat 124 Spider may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1000 to 1100 pounds less than the Audi A3 Cabriolet.

The 124 Spider is 1 foot, 2.5 inches shorter than the A3 Cabriolet, making the 124 Spider easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The 124 Spider is 7 inches shorter in height than the A3 Cabriolet, making the 124 Spider much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the 124 Spider is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the A3 Cabriolet. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

The 124 Spider has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The 124 Spider’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Audi does not offer a locking feature on the A3 Cabriolet’s power windows.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 124 Spider owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 124 Spider will cost $1895 to $4785 less than the A3 Cabriolet over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Fiat 124 Spider will be $8780 to $14637 less than for the Audi A3 Cabriolet.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 124 Spider third among compact sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The A3 Cabriolet isn’t in the top three.

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

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