Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2014 BMW 3 Series VS 2015 Audi A3 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2014 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2015 Audi A3

Safety Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras 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 3 Series Sedan has standard BMW Assist, 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 3 Series Sedan and the A3 Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

Warranty Comparison

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the A3 Sedan.

There are over 33 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 3 Series Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The battery on the 3 Series Sedan is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the 3 Series Sedan’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The A3 Sedan’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2013 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 16th in reliability. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 23rd.

Engine Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has more powerful engines than the A3 Sedan:

Horsepower

Torque

320i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

180 HP

184 lbs.-ft.

328i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

335i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

ActiveHybrid 3 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

335 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

A3 Sedan 1.8T 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

170 HP

200 lbs.-ft.

A3 Sedan 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

220 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 10 more horsepower (180 vs. 170) and 80 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 200) than the A3 Sedan 1.8T’s standard 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 258) than the A3 Sedan 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the 335i is faster than the A3 Sedan 2.0T (automatics tested):

3 Series Sedan

A3 Sedan

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

5.4 sec

Quarter Mile

13 sec

14 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

105.4 MPH

98.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the 328d gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Sedan:

3 Series Sedan

A3 Sedan

2WD

Auto

32 city/45 hwy

23 city/33 hwy

AWD

Auto

31 city/43 hwy

24 city/33 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the ActiveHybrid 3 gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Sedan:

3 Series Sedan

A3 Sedan

2WD

Auto

25 city/33 hwy

23 city/33 hwy

AWD

Auto

n/a

24 city/33 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the 3 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the A3 Sedan:

3 Series Sedan

A3 Sedan

2WD

320i/Manual

23 city/36 hwy

n/a

320i/Auto

24 city/36 hwy

23 city/33 hwy

1.8T

328i/Auto

23 city/35 hwy

n/a

AWD

320i/Auto

23 city/35 hwy

24 city/33 hwy

2.0T

Regenerative brakes improve the 3 Series Sedan’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 3 Series Sedan’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 3 Series Sedan ActiveHybrid/diesel’s standard fuel tank has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan FWD’s standard fuel tank (15 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The 3 Series Sedan’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan AWD’s standard fuel tank (15.8 vs. 14.5 gallons).

 

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the 335i’s brake rotors are larger than those on the A3 Sedan:

335i

A3 Sedan

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

10.7 inches

The 3 Series Sedan’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 3 Series Sedan stops shorter than the A3 Sedan:

3 Series Sedan

A3 Sedan

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

108 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A3 Sedan’s optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 3 Series Sedan offers optional 19-inch wheels. The A3 Sedan’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 3 Series Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan 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 Sedan’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 3 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 6.8 inches longer than on the A3 Sedan (110.6 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 3 Series Sedan is 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the A3 Sedan.

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.9% to 50.1%) than the A3 Sedan’s (54% to 46%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

Passenger Space Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has 3.8 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear headroom and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has a larger trunk than the A3 Sedan (13 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 3 Series Sedan’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, 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 Comparison

When two different drivers share the 3 Series Sedan, the optional memory system makes it convenient for both. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an available heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

Comfort Access optional on the 3 Series Sedan 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 A3 Sedan’s available Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 3 Series Sedan to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. Heated windshield washer nozzles cost extra on the A3 Sedan.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 3 Series Sedan offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 3 Series Sedan also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Audi charges extra for heated mirrors on the A3 Sedan.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the A3 Sedan offer optional heated front seats. The 3 Series Sedan 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.

The 3 Series Sedan has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the A3 Sedan.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i)’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 3 Series Sedan is less expensive to operate than the A3 Sedan because it costs $436 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the 3 Series Sedan than the A3 Sedan, including $38 less for fuel injection and $15 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations Comparison

The BMW 3 Series Sedan has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

3 Series Sedan

A3 Sedan

Consumer Reports® Recommends

Top Pick

n/a

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

TRUE

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 20 of the last 20 years. The A3 Sedan has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 18 years. The A3 Sedan has never been an “All Star.”

The 3 Series was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2006 Car of the Year. The A3 Sedan has never been chosen.

The BMW 3 Series outsold the Audi A3 by over 139 to one during 2013.

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