Spec Comparo: Audi A3 vs Mercedes-Benz A-class vs BMW 1 series
When Audi India's CEO, Joe King, announced that his company wants to launch a sedan at the price of a hatchback, we knew he wasn't joking. The A3 had already got a tremendous response at the 2014 Auto Expo and Audi's move to start producing the A3 in full swing at its Aurangabad plant way before its launch was a sign of things to come. On August 7, 2014, Audi launched the A3 in India at a staggering base price tag of Rs 22.95 lakh. It even followed the trend set by its peers and priced the diesel variant lower than its petrol counterpart. So here's a quick look at how it matches up to its competition on paper.
Audi in India
The A-Class and the 1 Series in India
The A3 35 TDI's natural rivals are the Mercedes-Benz A180 CDI and the BMW 1 series 118d. Out of the three cars, A- and the B-class have the largest engine, a 2.2-litre four-cylinder motor. However, they lose out to the Audi and the Beemer in terms of power and torque. The outputs are identical for the 118d and the A3 35 TDI with both cars dispensing 143PS of power and 320Nm of torque. The A3 edges ahead by a whisker though as it dials in the power at relatively lower revs. The BMW claims to be marginally more fuel-efficient though.
In terms of design, the Audi A3 is has the advantage of being a sedan while the A-class and the 1 series are hatchbacks
In terms of design, the Audi A3 is has the advantage of being a sedan while the A-class and the 1 series are hatchbacks. Though it looks relatively simpler, its form factor will work in its favour. The design of the 1 Series hasn't been received too well in the Indian market, but it is vice-versa for the A-class thanks to its youthful styling and the diamond grille party piece. The B-Class, with its simpler, van-like styling has appealed more to the family-oriented buyers for its practicality and A3 could attract buyers for similar reasons too.
The A-Class commands good interiors but they could do with more features
The BMW's interiors are not modern looking but are feature loaded
The A3 clearly feels more feature-rich, with its retractable MMI screen, handwriting recognition, dual-zone climate control and leather upholstery
The interiors of all the three cars look very similar to their larger, more expensive siblings, so just like in the exterior design, it boils down to your personal preference on what you like better. The A3 clearly feels more feature-rich though, with its retractable MMI screen, handwriting recognition, dual-zone climate control and leather upholstery. All this, of course, comes at a premium.
While the base Attraction trim of the A3 35 TDI starts at under Rs 23 lakh, the range topping Technology trim costs Rs 32.66 lakh. The A-class and B-class diesel variants are priced between Rs 25.6 to 26.2 lakh and Rs 27.7 to 28.3 lakh respectively. The BMW 1 Series diesel line-up stretches from Rs 25.6 to 32.5 lakh.
The A3 petrol is available in the Premium Plus trim only and is priced at Rs 28. 95 lakh. The A-class A180 Sport ranges between Rs 26.5 to 27.1 lakh and the B180 Sport's trims are available between Rs 28.86 to 29.42 lakh.
The A3 then has the base pricing to lure consumers to the showroom and by being the cheapest German luxury sedan from the big three marquees, it certainly has a lot going for it. With the Mercedes-Benz CLA sedan and the GLA just around the corner, the entry-level luxury space is going to see a lot of action. But as both the upcoming models will be more expensive than the A- and the B-class, the A3 could find itself at a strong vantage point.
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