Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 Acura TLX VS 2016 Audi A3 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2016 Acura TLX

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2016 Audi A3

Safety Comparison

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Collision Mitigation Braking System optional in the TLX as “Superior.” The A3 Sedan scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

To help make backing safer, the TLX’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The TLX offers optional AcuraLink, 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 TLX and the A3 Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Acura TLX is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:


A3 Sedan


5 Stars

4 Stars



5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Acura TLX is safer than the Audi A3 Sedan:


A3 Sedan

Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

179 G’s

219 G’s

Hip Force

276 lbs.

308 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

483 lbs.

777 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

47 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the TLX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A3 Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the A3 Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 11th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 14th.

Engine Comparison

The TLX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 36 more horsepower (206 vs. 170) than the A3 Sedan 1.8T’s standard 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The TLX’s optional 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 70 more horsepower (290 vs. 220) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 258) than the A3 Sedan 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Acura TLX 4 cyl. is faster than the A3 Sedan 1.8T 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.:


A3 Sedan

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.1 MPH

89.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the TLX V6’s fuel efficiency. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the TLX V6 SH-AWD’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.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura TLX uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The A3 Sedan requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The TLX has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan FWD/Diesel’s standard fuel tank (17.2 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The TLX has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the A3 Sedan Quattro’s standard fuel tank (17.2 vs. 14.5 gallons).

The TLX 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.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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


A3 Sedan TDI

A3 Sedan

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.3 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

10.7 inches

10.7 inches

The TLX stops shorter than the A3 Sedan:


A3 Sedan

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The TLX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Acura TLX has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The A3 Sedan TDI has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The TLX has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the TLX flat and controlled during cornering. The A3 Sedan’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the TLX’s wheelbase is 5.5 inches longer than on the A3 Sedan (109.3 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the TLX is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than on the A3 Sedan.

Chassis Comparison

The TLX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space Comparison

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

The TLX has 7.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A3 Sedan (93.3 vs. 86).

The TLX has .7 inches more front headroom, 1.4 inches more front legroom, 2.7 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the A3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The TLX has a larger trunk than the A3 Sedan (13.2 vs. 12.3 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the TLX offers cargo security. The A3 Sedan’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Ergonomics Comparison

The TLX offers a 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 two different drivers share the TLX, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting 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 TLX’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A3 Sedan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Keyless Access System standard on the TLX 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.

When the TLX 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.

Optional air conditioned seats in the TLX V6 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.

Recommendations Comparison

The Acura TLX won three awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue. The Audi A3 Sedan only won two awards.

The Acura TLX outsold the Audi A3/S3 by 38% during the 2015 model year.

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