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The S3’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S3 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Volkswagen Jetta GLI has only front height-adjustable seat belts.
The S3 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The S3 Premium Plus’ optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
Both the S3 and the Jetta GLI 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, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S3 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 106 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Jetta GLI has not been tested, yet.
The S3’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Jetta GLI’s (12 vs. 10 years).
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 22nd in initial quality. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 9 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.
The S3’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 60 more horsepower (288 vs. 228) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 258) than the Jetta GLI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
As tested in Car and Driver the Audi S3 is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta GLI (automatics tested):
Zero to 60 MPH
Zero to 100 MPH
5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start
Speed in 1/4 Mile
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi S3 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Jetta GLI requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The S3 has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta GLI (14.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Audi S3 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Jetta GLI.
The S3’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 Jetta GLI doesn’t offer launch control.
For better traction, the S3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Jetta GLI (235/35R19 vs. 225/45R18).
The S3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Jetta GLI’s standard 45 series tires. The S3’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Jetta GLI’s 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S3 offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Jetta GLI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
The S3 is 9.4 inches shorter than the Jetta GLI, making the S3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S3 easier. The S3’s trunk lift-over height is 26.3 inches, while the Jetta GLI’s liftover is 28.7 inches.
To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the S3’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Jetta GLI’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the S3. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The S3 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Jetta GLI uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 26% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 18th.
If the windows are left open on the S3 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Jetta GLI can’t use the remote to operate the windows.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S3 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S3 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer headlight washers.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the S3 Premium Plus detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The S3 Premium Plus has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Jetta GLI has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Both the S3 and the Jetta GLI offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the S3 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the S3 Premium Plus offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The S3 Premium Plus’ available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Jetta GLI’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.
The S3 Premium Plus’ optional Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Jetta GLI doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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