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2015 Audi A3 vs. 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited September 2014 in Audi

image2015 Audi A3 vs. 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

A comparison test between the 2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro and 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250, featuring information about fuel economy, pricing, features, interior space and driving impressions.

Read the full story here



  • hank39hank39 Member Posts: 144
    I'll take the Audi.
  • rwatsonrwatson Member Posts: 144
    I'm with you, hank. While I'm a "traditionalist," and don't appreciate the round air vents, the Audi's cabin does seem familiar and easy to get along with. It's also nice to know that I can opt out of some of the extra "tech" in the Audi, because this is a car I could probably enjoy on its own, basic merits. Great job on the article too, guys.
  • throwbackthrowback Member Posts: 445
    Interesting comparison. I do not doubt the A3 is the better all around car, but I will be shocked if the CLA does not outsell it. The 3 pointed star carries a lot of appeal, at least in the USA anyway.
  • emajoremajor Member Posts: 332
    Nav screen aside, I like the interior design of the CLA more than the dour Audi and the steering wheel is just beautiful, but the wannabe 4-door coupe body style cannot die soon enough. Something about the tall, blocky nose of the Mercedes combined with the squatting butt makes it look like a bulldog. Just can't take it seriously, too much of a cartoon on wheels. Combined with the Edmunds driving impressions, the Audi looks like a clear win for me.
  • fortstringfortstring Member Posts: 111
    @throwback: Personally I'd pony up the change to step up to the C-Class instead of the CLA, for the full, genuine Mercedes experience.
  • engineer_mbaengineer_mba Member Posts: 11
    Both cars are very nice, each with its own good attributes. The A3 looks tastefully executed both inside and out and would be my pick among these two. I've always thought the CLA looked like a somewhat "strained" cartoon caricature of the larger CLS. With that said, I would first take a long hard look at an Acura ILX 2.5/manual first and foremost. It has competitive roominess (especially in the back seat), the characteristic silky smooth Honda/Acura engine, slick shifting manual, Honda/Acura driving dynamics and reliability. Just my preference. To each his own.
  • hank39hank39 Member Posts: 144
    I didn't really expound on why I picked the Audi. But a couple of major things are the front end of the two. The Mercedes' flat front-end just doesn't do it for me. It looks disporportioned to me compared to the rear. I also prefer a traditional shifter locale as opposed to the column one. And another minor/subtle thing is the arrangement of the cup holders. Not many car manufacturers these days place them in front of the shifter. I have that in my P5 as well and really prefer the convenience of the natural reach. When they're behind the shifter, I feel like I have to constrict my arm to pick up the drink...or even worse: having someone else's elbows touch the straw of your drink.
  • vroom2vroom2 Member Posts: 3
    Buying either of these cars is like shopping at an outlet mall: It may have the right badge but you know its not the real thing.

    The A3 is a VW made up to look like an Audi and the Merc is an economy car in CLS clothing.
  • lions208487lions208487 Member Posts: 240
    For the mere aesthetic reasoning, I would pick the A3. However, I would honestly decide on neither, and pay a little more for a slightly larger 2015 C-Class. In that decision, I would pay 40K for a nicely equip, larger 2.0 ATS instead.
  • robs249_robs249_ Member Posts: 42
    I really love the A3 and would consider purchasing one. But, then I pause and think to myself "I could save a lot by opting for the Mazda3 S GT with all the bells and whistles." It's hard to consider the Audi (or any of these entry level luxury cars) to the Mazda aside from it having quattro.
  • mercedesfanmercedesfan Member Posts: 365
    I still don't get this class of car. It would seem to me that if you really wanted a luxury-branded vehicle for ~$35k you would be much better off just getting a 2-year old CPO entry luxury car like an A4 or C-Class. Having said that, if you absolutely must buy new the A3 makes a lot more sense. At least you get a car whose ride somewhat resembles that of a luxury car.
  • syslogsyslog Member Posts: 12
    The Audi is probably the more sensible purchase and it still looks decent. But that MB looks so much prettier...
  • agentorangeagentorange Member Posts: 893
    Can you buy a 2 liter A3 WITHOUT the sunroof? Didn't read that way. If the sunroof is mandatory it's no sale to me. As for the Mercedes, I just don't like it on looks and practicality grounds. Looks like both of these are fails for me.
  • kizashi368kizashi368 Member Posts: 1
    Both German cars both made in Hungary, CHEAP!
  • cbrandi_cbrandi_ Member Posts: 40
    It's hard to consider either a luxury car. Perhaps the names connote status, but they are not luxury cars. They are entry level cars targeted for the ever poorer American market and the up and coming Chinese market. I'd save my money and get something as nice for far less.
  • cbrandi_cbrandi_ Member Posts: 40
    In this market appearances matter. The CLA looks upmarket, the Audi looks like an econo-box.
  • dfelix70dfelix70 Member Posts: 143
    I just don't see these two being "direct" competitors. I would imagine that most buyers in this segment need or want rear seat room. In the CLA, they're nearly non-existent, almost like the old booster seats that used to be in the Lexus SC430. The A3 has a very commodious rear seat, which is great packaging. But, the CLA is going to attract buyers looking for a coupe, i.e., niche buyers. A3 buyers will be those looking for traditional sedan qualities. At the same time, they will find that in a Jetta or Passat for less money. Or will see the A3 as a less expensive alternative to the similarly sized A4.
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