2019 Ford Mustang vs. 2019 Audi A3 Cabriolet

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Mustang’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Mustang has standard 911 Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

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

Warranty

Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Mustang 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A3 Cabriolet. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the A3 Cabriolet ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 10 times as many Ford dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Mustang’s warranty.

Reliability

The Mustang has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Mustang first among midsize sporty cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The A3 Cabriolet isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine

The Mustang has more powerful engines than the A3 Cabriolet:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Mustang 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

310 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

Mustang GT 5.0 DOHC V8

460 HP

420 lbs.-ft.

Mustang BULLITT 5.0 DOHC V8

480 HP

420 lbs.-ft.

A3 Cabriolet 40 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

184 HP

221 lbs.-ft.

A3 Cabriolet 45 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

228 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Mustang EcoBoost’s standard fuel tank has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Cabriolet 40 TSFI’s standard fuel tank (15.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Mustang GT’s standard fuel tank has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Cabriolet 45 TSFI Quattro’s standard fuel tank (16 vs. 14.5 gallons).

The Mustang has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A ten-speed automatic is available on the Ford Mustang, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A3 Cabriolet.

The Mustang Manual’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Mustang’s brake rotors are larger than those on the A3 Cabriolet:

 

Mustang

Mustang GT

A3 Cabriolet

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

15 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13 inches

10.7 inches

The Mustang’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the A3 Cabriolet are solid, not vented.

The Mustang stops shorter than the A3 Cabriolet:

 

Mustang

A3 Cabriolet

 

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

166 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Mustang has larger standard tires than the A3 Cabriolet (235/55R17 vs. 225/45R17). The Mustang GT’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A3 Cabriolet (305/30R19 vs. 235/35R19).

The Mustang GT’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A3 Cabriolet Prestige’s optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mustang Premium offers optional 20-inch wheels. The A3 Cabriolet’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Mustang offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The A3 Cabriolet’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mustang’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the A3 Cabriolet (107.1 inches vs. 102.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Mustang is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 5 inches wider in the rear than on the A3 Cabriolet.

Chassis

The front grille of the Mustang (except Performance Pack) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Mustang uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Mustang Convertible has .3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Cabriolet (79.3 vs. 79).

Cargo Capacity

The Mustang Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top down than the A3 Cabriolet with its top down (11.4 vs. 7.1 cubic feet). The Mustang Convertible has a much larger trunk than the A3 Cabriolet with its top up (11.4 vs. 9.9 cubic feet).

Towing

The Mustang has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The A3 Cabriolet has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Mustang 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.

Ergonomics

The Mustang Auto offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When three different drivers share the Mustang Premium, the optional memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, suspension setting, power steering assist and outside mirror angle. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Mustang Premium’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Mustang’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The A3 Cabriolet does not have an oil pressure gauge.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Mustang Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Mustang Premium’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The A3 Cabriolet doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Mustang owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Mustang with a number “3” insurance rate while the A3 Cabriolet is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mustang is less expensive to operate than the A3 Cabriolet because it costs $774 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Mustang than the A3 Cabriolet, including $295 less for a water pump, $363 less for a starter, $160 less for fuel injection, $133 less for a fuel pump and $302 less for front struts.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Mustang third among midsize 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.

The Mustang GT/Bullitt was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2019. The A3 Cabriolet has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Ford Mustang outsold the Audi A3/S3 by over four to one during 2018.

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

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