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

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2015 Audi A3

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2015 BMW 3

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A3 Sedan 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 BMW 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The A3 Sedan has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the A3 Sedan and the 3 Series 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Audi A3 Sedan is safer than the 3 Series Sedan:

A3 Sedan

3 Series Sedan

Overall Evaluation






Head Neck Evaluation



Head injury index



Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

1 cm

Chest Evaluation



Hip & Thigh Evaluation



Femur Force R/L

1.4/0 kN

1.95/2.26 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



Tibia index R/L



Tibia forces R/L

3.8/1.1 kN

4/5 kN

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A3 Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2015, a rating granted to only 48 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 3 Series Sedan is not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2015.

Reliability Comparison

The Audi A3 Sedan’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the 3 Series Sedan’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 14th in reliability, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 18th.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Car and Driver the A3 Sedan 2.0T is faster than the 328i (automatics tested):

A3 Sedan

3 Series Sedan

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14 sec

14.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

6.5 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.2 sec

3.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

98 MPH

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

A3 Sedan

3 Series Sedan

80 to 0 MPH

219 feet

225 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

132 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

127 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The A3 Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 3 Series Sedan’s standard 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The A3 Sedan 2.0T Quattro handles at .94 G’s, while the 328i pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan 2.0T Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the 328i (25.6 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the 3 Series Sedan’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.1 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The A3 Sedan is 7.1 inches shorter than the 3 Series Sedan, making the A3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A3 Sedan 2.0T Quattro is quieter than the 335i:

A3 Sedan

3 Series Sedan

At idle

41 dB

42 dB


73 dB

77 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

69 dB

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the A3 Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A3 Sedan will cost $380 to $3930 less than the 3 Series Sedan over a five-year period.

The A3 Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the A3 Sedan will retain 54.23% to 55.18% of its original price after five years, while the 3 Series Sedan only retains 47.12% to 53.57%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A3 Sedan is less expensive to operate than the 3 Series Sedan because typical repairs cost much less on the A3 Sedan than the 3 Series Sedan, including $9 less for a water pump, $167 less for an alternator, $52 less for front brake pads, $72 less for a starter, $314 less for front struts, $826 less for a timing belt/chain and $458 less for a power steering pump.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A3 Sedan will be $4784 to $14314 less than for the BMW 3 Series Sedan.

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