2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI vs. 2019 Audi A3 Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Jetta GLI has a standard backup collision prevention system that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Jetta GLI Autobahn has standard Car-Net, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The A3 Sedan 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 Jetta GLI and the A3 Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The Jetta GLI comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The A3 Sedan’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

There are over 2 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Jetta GLI’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 24th in initial quality. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

Engine

The Jetta GLI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 44 more horsepower (228 vs. 184) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 221) than the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Jetta GLI’s brake rotors are larger than those on the A3 Sedan:

Jetta GLI

A3 Sedan

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

10.7 inches

The Jetta GLI’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 Sedan are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

The Jetta GLI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A3 Sedan’s standard 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Jetta GLI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the A3 Sedan.

Suspension and Handling

The Jetta GLI offers an available 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 Sedan’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Jetta GLI’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the A3 Sedan (105.6 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

The Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition handles at .95 G’s, while the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro pulls only .94 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Jetta GLI a Compact car, while the A3 Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The Jetta GLI has 8.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Sedan (94.7 vs. 86).

The Jetta GLI has 2 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and 1 inch more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Jetta GLI has a much larger trunk than the A3 Sedan (14.1 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Jetta GLI Autobahn Auto has a standard 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 A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When different drivers share the Jetta GLI Autobahn, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Jetta GLI Autobahn keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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

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