2019 Volvo S60 vs. 2019 Audi A3 Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the S60 and A3 Sedan have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S60 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The A3 Sedan’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The S60 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The S60 offers optional CTA Auto Brake 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 S60 offers an optional 360° Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The A3 Sedan only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The S60’s 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 Sedan doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The S60 has standard Volvo On Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen 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 S60 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S60 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the A3 Sedan.

Engine

The S60 has more powerful engines than the A3 Sedan:

 

Horsepower

Torque

S60 T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

S60 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

S60 T8 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

S60 Polestar T8 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

415 HP

494 lbs.-ft.

A3 Sedan 40 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

184 HP

221 lbs.-ft.

A3 Sedan 45 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

228 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the S60 Polestar T8 is faster than the A3 Sedan 45 TSFI:

 

S60

A3 Sedan

Zero to 60 MPH

4.5 sec

5.6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.1 sec

14.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

105.9 MPH

98.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S60 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Sedan Quattro (74 city/74 hwy MPGe vs. 22 city/30 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S60 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Sedan Quattro (29 city/34 hwy vs. 22 city/30 hwy).

The S60 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 17 miles. The A3 Sedan must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the S60 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S60’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 A3 Sedan doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The S60 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan 40 TSFI’s standard fuel tank (14.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The S60 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan 45 TFSI Quattro’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 14.5 gallons).

The S60 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 Sedan doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo S60, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A3 Sedan.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the S60’s brake rotors are larger than those on the A3 Sedan:

 

S60 T5

S60 Polestar

A3 Sedan

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

10.7 inches

The S60’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.

The S60 stops much shorter than the A3 Sedan:

 

S60

A3 Sedan

 

60 to 0 MPH

110 feet

121 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S60 has larger tires than the A3 Sedan (235/45R18 vs. 225/45R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S60 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the A3 Sedan.

Suspension and Handling

The S60 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 S60’s wheelbase is 9.3 inches longer than on the A3 Sedan (113.1 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

The S60 R-Design AWD handles at .91 G’s, while the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S60 Polestar executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the A3 Sedan Premium Quattro (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 25.9 seconds @ .76 average G’s).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the S60 a Compact car, while the A3 Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The S60 has 10 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Sedan (96 vs. 86).

The S60 has .9 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S60’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

With its sedan body style, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S60 offers cargo security. The A3 Sedan’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waving your foot can open the S60’s available trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

The S60 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 climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When three different drivers share the S60, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions and outside mirror angle. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.

The S60 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the S60 offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer cornering lights. The S60 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

When the S60 with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The A3 Sedan’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the S60 and the A3 Sedan offer optional heated front seats. The S60 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the A3 Sedan.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the S60 Inscription 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.

On extremely cold winter days, the S60’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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

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