Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2018 Audi A3 VS 2018 BMW 3 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2018 Audi A3

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VS

2018 BMW 3

Safety Comparison

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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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Audi Pre Sense Front in the A3 Sedan as “Superior.” The 3 Series Sedan scores at most only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

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.

To help make backing safer, the A3 Sedan Premium Plus/Prestige’s 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 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

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, 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 Audi A3 Sedan is safer than the BMW 3 Series Sedan:

 

A3 Sedan

3 Series Sedan

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

217

232

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.6 inches

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

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

GOOD

GOOD

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

103

549

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Femur Force R/L

1.4/0 kN

3.4/3.4 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/1%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

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 Audi A3 Sedan is safer than the BMW 3 Series Sedan:

 

A3 Sedan

3 Series Sedan

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

172

258

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

219 G’s

232 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

326

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

64 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

17 inches

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

Reliability Comparison

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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.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the A3 Sedan has a standard 320-amp alternator. The 3 Series Sedan’s standard 170-amp alternator and largest (Diesel) 180-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 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 11th in reliability, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 14th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi fourth in reliability. BMW is ranked 8th.

Engine Comparison

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As tested in Car and Driver the Audi A3 Sedan Quattro is faster than the 330i (automatics tested):

 

A3

3 Series

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

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the A3 Sedan FWD gets better fuel mileage than the 320i RWD Auto (26 city/35 hwy vs. 24 city/35 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

 

A3

3 Series

 

80 to 0 MPH

219 feet

225 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

115 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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For better traction, the A3 Sedan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (235/35R19 vs. 225/40R19).

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. The A3 Sedan’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the 3 Series Sedan’s optional 40 series front tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the 340i pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A3 Sedan Premium Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the 330i (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). The A3 Sedan’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the 3 Series Sedan xDrive’s (36.1 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

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The A3 Sedan is 7.3 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 Premium Quattro is quieter than the 340i xDrive:

 

A3 Sedan

3 Series Sedan

At idle

41 dB

41 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

75 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

70 dB

Ergonomics Comparison

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To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A3 Sedan has standard extendable sun visors. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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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 $98 less for a water pump, $43 less for an alternator, $52 less for front brake pads, $179 less for a starter, $172 less for fuel injection, $34 less for a fuel pump, $550 less for a timing belt/chain and $342 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 $964 to $4223 less than for the BMW 3 Series Sedan.

Recommendations Comparison

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the A3 Sedan first among small premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 3 Series Sedan isn’t in the top three in its category.

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