When you look at Audi’s two brothers from the “A” line, it is difficult to say at once which car is in front of you: the Audi A3 or the A4. And not surprisingly, because these are two sedans, collected in its exterior the best external features of the series. However, there is a difference between them and it lies in the technical part.
The appearance of the competitors
All the same, you should meet these cars by their clothes. Put 4 and 3 next to each other and it will be clear at once who is older. It is not for nothing that the A4 belongs to middle-sized sedans, and the A3 rotates among compact automobiles. Both cars belong to the premium segment, which is reminded by every line in the design of the body.
Both the three and four in the last generations have got the branded Singleframe radiator grille, at that the A4 has noticeably bigger and added 8 horizontal blades against 6 double ones of the competitor. They also share a common look in the form of angular headlights units, but the design of the bumper is different. The four look more thorough due to massive angular air intakes. The three is the lightness and impetuosity itself, not overloaded with excessive frames and chrome.
The A3 is all about youth and speed. Its dynamic silhouette and precise curves of its surfaces speak of its sporty character. The A3 is a compact sedan, close to a coupé. The body with a lowered roof and a narrowed line of glazing. Powerful fenders stand out against the background of the perfectly streamlined body. This model has a clearer stamping of the side. The rear of the three is very compact. The rib running from the hood to the stern smoothly turns into narrowed taillights-units, and they are the main difference between the A3 and A4: the lights are not widened on the sides and do not capture the rear pillars. There is also a difference in the design of the exhaust pipe: the trio has two one-sided spigots connected to each other.
The A4 is a confident German who knows who is in charge on the road. Accuracy is everything is the motto of this model, which is evident in every line of the exterior. Due to the longer body, the 4 seems less sporty than its competitor, but the straight line of the roof and the soft stamping, giving a play of light and shadow, says the opposite. The stern is the ideal of neatness. Even horizontally stretched headlights do not give a feeling of a bloated ass. A small spoiler on a trunk lid is only a hint at this car’s love for speed. The design of the rear bumper, which stands out separated in different directions exhaust pipes, covered with decorative plaques, adds rigor to the car.
Both the A4 and A3 are not limited to sedan offerings. The older brother is ready to present a car in the body of a station wagon, and the younger one surprises with a variety of forms: the A3 hatchback, which is considered the most compact model from Audi, which is sold in Russia; and the A3 Cabriolet. And yet the most popular in the domestic market is the sedan.
|Body length, mm||4738||4458|
|Body height, mm||1428||1416|
|Ground clearance, mm||140||140|
|Front/rear axle track, mm||1572/1555||1555/1526|
|Own weight, kg||1450||1245|
|Wheels||205/60 R16||205/55 R16|
The comparison of Audi A3 and A4 from the point of view of the quality of the interior leads to 4. The little brother has everything made for three. It is not impressive! But A4 by definition should be richer to be able to compete with sedans of other brands. The fourth win not so much in stuffing, as in trimming, though the design here is much more interesting. A3 has everything standard: a plastic front console with the mechanical control unit of the climate system located on it. Round air deflectors, accentuating attention on the adventurous character of this car, are a zest of the three.
The A4 is an ideal of beauty and ergonomics. In the interior at first, surprised by the central air deflectors stretched throughout the torpedo, but then you understand that without them the A4 would not be so close in design to the business sedans. Everything is good in it: the central tunnel with a modern selector-joystick, and a puck of management of multimedia options, and even the display sticking out from above which looks absurd in a competitor against the general background. The only disadvantage is the mechanical knobs of the climate system, which somewhat age the interior.
In the interior design, it is not clear at once what is in front of you: Audi A3 or A4, because both cars are equipped with the same seats and have the same upholstery options in base and in options. But it is necessary to get inside, and the general dimensions of the automobile make itself felt. The four is much bigger, and not in the front, but in the back. Three adults can seat there freely, but the central passenger is not so comfortable in legs because of the protruding transmission tunnel. The back sofa is designed for two people. It seems that three headrests are installed in this car just in case.
The cargo space is larger in the A4. The trunk has a horizontally stretched shape, which facilitates loading. It is possible to increase the usable volume due to the rear sofa adjustable in 12 positions and the system of folding its backs in the ratio 40:20:40. The A3’s trunk is only 425 liters against the competition’s 480. In the all-wheel-drive model, this modest volume is reduced to 390 liters. The minus of the three is the system of folding of rear backrests in the ratio 40:60.
The list of standard features in both cars is the same. In the base, they have the MMI Radio plus system with a retractable display. And there is a snag: the A3 has a 7-inch screen, while the A4 has an 8.3-inch screen. It is not a big deal, but it is unpleasant. As an option – MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch sensor. It is not only a system of driver’s assistance, acting as a controller of most functions, but also a possibility to synchronize your car with online maps. MMI Navigation plus works in router mode, to which up to 8 mobile devices can be connected. Both cars have the Audi Virtual Cockpit digital dashboard as an option.
Which car is more reliable, more predictable on the track, and less voracious? It is logical for the three As a result – less harmful emissions into the atmosphere. And this is despite the fact that both cars are completed with a 1,4 TFSI engine with 150 h.p. in base.
|Parameters||Audi A4||Audi A3|
|Engine type||1.4 TFSI||1.4 TFSI|
|Torque, Nm/rpm.||250/1500 – 3500||250/1500 – 3500|
|Acceleration from start, sec.||8.5||8.2|
|Fuel consumption, combined cycle, l/100 km||5.4||4.8|
|Fuel consumption, city, l/100 km||6.9||5.9|
|Fuel consumption, out of town, l/100 km||4.5||4.1|
|CO2 emission level||114||111|
The A4 could hope for the Start/stop regeneration system, but the competitor also has it, so they both save fuel when coasting. And at the same time, the four does not give up its positions. In our market, this model is sold with four petrol and three diesel engines. The three are presented only with petrol. All versions are combined with a 7-speed robot S-Tronic.
It is difficult to judge by driving dynamics on base engines, usually, such cars are equipped with stronger units. And here A4 turns out on a head above the competitor, on which there is 2.0 TFSI with a capacity of 249 hp. The A3 has a two-liter engine with only 190 hp.
The global difference between these two models is the platform on which the car is made. A3 has MQB with a transverse arrangement of the engine that is quite justified by the sizes of the model. The A4 has MLB Evo with a longitudinal arrangement of the power units.
In terms of driving dynamics, the cars are equal. They show good directional stability, have excellent traction, but the little A3 accelerates faster than its colleague. The three is also more convenient to turn around: the radius of this car is 10 meters vs. 11 meters of its rival. Both cars are front-wheel drive in base, therefore experiments on the road are not their end. The all-wheel-drive variants are much better. The cars are made for a track, that is why one can’t demand a super smooth run, but even with basic spring suspension, they are good at handling small hollows and joints.
In terms of safety, both cars received 5 stars according to NHTSA classification, with the A-Three almost failing the rollover test. It means, A-IV can be considered as the car, which won’t fail even in the most difficult accidents. And to avoid accidents, the manufacturer has equipped the cars with a number of assistants. Audi by leaps and bounds approaches unmanned driving. There is adaptive cruise control, working at speeds up to 200 km/h in A-Tri and up to 250 km/h in A-Four. The Traffic Jam Assistant controls the traffic situation at speeds up to 65 km/h and helps keep the optimal distance to the car ahead. Audi’s pre-sense front system reacts to unexpected obstacles ahead and changes the driving trajectory, reducing the risk of accidents. Sensors and radars monitor the blind spots, automatic parking assistants take full control when parallel and cross-over parking.
There are 10 reasons you might want to buy an Audi A3 or A4. These two models split the stated points in the half, so there is no clear leader in the argument between them.
- Less fuel consumption
- Fewer emissions into the atmosphere
- Compact size
- Fewer turning radius
- Body options
- Wide range of power units
- Premium interior trim
- More trunk space
- Spacious interior for up to five people
- Large fuel tank capacity