Car Wars: The Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class

In this instalment of this series, we take a look at two of the most popular cars dominating the luxury vehicle space.  The first generation A3 was introduced in 1996, while Mercedes followed suit right after, in 1997. The two manufacturers have since, been meeting each other head for head for each generational release.

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 In its third generation, Audi has upped their game with evolved technology and a new front grille shape for the model. Mercedes seems to have taken a few leaps with their answer to Audi and somewhat transformed the car. Heightened suspension and a sleeker, more agile look has wowed fans and critics alike. Excitingly, the 2018 Mercedes A-Class has been spotted being tested on South African shores.

In the Audi, we took a look specifically at the Audi A3, 1.4 TFSI. We matched it up with its equivalent, the Mercedes A220d. Who comes out tops?


Engine Peak Power


Torque NM Transmission 0-100kms/hrseconds Fuel Economy


Carbon Emission


Audi A3 1.4 litre  TFSI 110 250 S-Tronic 8.1 6.48 111 Front
Merc A Class 2.1-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel 130 350 Seven-speed automatic transmission 7.5 5.7 136 Front


Audi A3

Boot space in the A3 is between 380 to 1 220 litres. The third generation has moved on from the previous generation of analogue and gone digital. It now comes with a fully virtual cockpit. The all-digital cabin flashes high-resolution driving statistics on a 12.3-inch screen TFT screen. The interior is sleek and elegant. It however, doesn’t seem to wow as it has remained somewhat untouched ascetically since the last generation.

Mercedes A-Class

The A-Class has a smaller boot space capacity of 341-1157 litres. In the cockpit, its instrument cluster has luxurious aluminium finishes giving it a touch of luxury. The interior boasts metallic finishes on the fascia and the whole cabin has a delicate touch of Mercedes class. It comes with an 18-inch screen with fully intelligent integrated systems.


Audi A3

The exterior of the A3 has not been altered too much over the generations. The front grille has made to look a bit more 3D with its slightly widened frame. The most important feature on the third generation is the upgrade of the optional LED lights. Audi has worked long and hard at the Matrix LED headlights which aim to provide a “sunlight without glare” illumination.

Mercedes A-Class

The A-Class has been moulded into a more arrow shape. Its sleek front bumper incorporates a ‘diamond’ grille and optional LED headlights. The taillights have been redesigned and dual tailpipe trim are integrated into rear bumper. The paint colour palette has been expanded with various mineral colours being integrated.

Special Features

Audi A3

Audi is seemingly skimp on additional features, however,  the third generation has eventually come standard with expected features. 2 USB ports, 16-inch wheels and cruise control have eventually been integrated. The A3 offers the optional extras of Audi’s active lane assist and pre-sense front including predictive pedestrian protection. Audi connect also allows the handy tool of connecting online allowing for GPS and Google access.

Mercedes A-Class

The A-Class features some handy driver tools. Automatic emergency braking is available (it first warns the driver of a possible accident and then, if the driver doesn’t respond, applies the brakes by itself), as is the Parktronic system (complemented by a 180-degree reverse camera), as well as adaptive cruise control. The 220d comes standard with the Dynamic Select button. It alters driving characteristics such as engine, transmission, suspension, steering. It has four driving modes; Comfort, Sport, Eco and Individual.


Audi A3 – R432 900

Mercedes A-Class R492 300


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