2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI vs. 2019 Audi S3 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 S3 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 S3 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 S3 Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Jetta GLI comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The S3 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.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Jetta GLI gets better fuel mileage than the S3 Sedan:

MPG

Jetta GLI

Manual

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

S3 Sedan

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Jetta GLI Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The S3 Sedan doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen Jetta GLI higher (7 out of 10) than the Audi S3 Sedan (3). This means the Jetta GLI produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the S3 Sedan every 15,000 miles.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Jetta GLI’s wheelbase is 2 inches longer than on the S3 Sedan (105.6 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Jetta GLI may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 300 pounds less than the Audi S3 Sedan.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Jetta GLI a Compact car, while the S3 Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The Jetta GLI has 8.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S3 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 S3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Jetta GLI has a much larger trunk than the S3 Sedan (14.1 vs. 10 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 S3 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 S3 Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.

Keyless Access standard on the Jetta GLI allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Audi S3 Sedan’s Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

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 S3 Sedan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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

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