Audi launched its entry-level luxury sedan A3 last year in August in the Indian market. After six months, Mercedes-Benz, Audi’s closest rival has launched the CLA-Class to take on the competition. Both the cars are very close rivals in the European market. Since the CLA has been launched only yesterday in the Indian market, we are yet to see which car among these two, the Indian buyers prefer more.
We do a spec comparison of the cars and see how they fare against each other.
Mercedes-Benz CLA Vs Audi A3 (Design and Exterior)
Almost every automotive company try to create cars that look distinctively unique and have an identity of their own. Yet it is also desired that they show a connection with other cars from its own stable and it is probably something that every manufacturer does in its own unique way.
The Audi A3 has a very traditional three box design that looks typical of all Audis and carries lines that show very strong familial connection. Unlike the A3, the CLA looks flamboyant and striking and has a distinctive style that does not hint even the slightest inspiration from other cars from Mercedes and yet somehow show familial connection. The Audi has very understated style that is typical of all Audis. It looks elegant with it clean, sharp and bold lines. The car looks very well proportioned. The CLA on the other hand with its seemingly short boot and sloping roofline looks sporty, very striking and coupeish.
The CLA is longer at 4630 mm than its competitor which measures 4456 mm in length. CLA’s wheelbase is also longer than the A3 by 62 mm should provide overall better legroom.
The A3 is wider at 1796 mm in comparison to the CLA which measures 1777 mm. The CLA even though is taller at 1432 mm in comparison to A3 which is 1416 mm would provide less headroom due to its sloping roofline.
Mercedes-Benz CLA Vs Audi A3 (Interiors and Features)
The cars come loaded with goodies and features as expected of cars in this class. The A3 comes with MMI plus navigation system with a touch sensitive control panel and a sleek 7” high resolution retractable screen. The MMI control features include Navigation system with 3D Maps, DVD Player, 2 SD card readers, Bluetooth Interface with Bluetooth Audio streaming & Audi Music Interface. Audi offer genuine Milano leather seats and door trim upholstery as optional.
The CLA comes with Garmin® MAP PILOT navigation and multimedia system with high-resolution 17.8 cm colour display and sports seats upholstered in black or sahara beige ARTICO leather CLA comes with the Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system.
The rear seats of the A3 should be more comfortable compared to the CLA due its wider proportions and non-sloping roofline. Both the cars come with panoramic sunroof.
Mercedes-Benz CLA Vs Audi A3 (Engine and Transmission)
Both the cars come with petrol and diesel motors. The CLA comes with a bigger capacity 2 litre turbo charged petrol engine which creates 181 PS of power and 300 Nm of torque. The petrol version of A3 is powered by a 1.8 litre turbo charged which produces 180 PS of power and 250 Nm of torque. Even with almost similar power figure and lesser amount of torque of A3, it should be as agile as the CLA since it is comparatively lighter at 1295 kg in comparison to the CLA which weighs 1510 kg.
CLA also comes with a bigger displacement diesel engine at 2.2 litres and the A3 comes with a 2 litre motor. Even with the smaller capacity A3’s diesel motor produces more power and torque - 143 PS and 320 Nm compared to CLA which produces 134 PS of power and 300 Nm of torque.
The CLA-Class offers 7-speed dual clutch transmission with the petrol and diesel motor while the A3 comes with 6-speed gear box with the diesel and 7-speed gearbox with the petrol motor. Both the gearbox types on the Audi are S-Tronic (Audi's moniker for dual clutch transmission).
Mercedes-Benz CLA Vs Audi A3 (Safety features and Mileage)
The CLA comes with 6 airbags as standard and A3 with 5. The cars are loaded with safety features like the ABS, ESP and park assist features. The CLA offers height adjustable seatbelts which the A3 does not. The A3’s diesel version wins the fuel efficiency battle, it delivers 20.28 kmpl and CLA delivers only 17 kmpl. The mileage of the petrol versions is very comparable. CLA delivers the same mileage as its Diesel – 17 kmpl and the A3 is only marginally better, it delivers 16.6 kmpl.
With the CLA, Mercedes-Benz has proved yet again how important is the Indian market for it. The CLA is the car that stands tall in terms of styling and features. Despite its sporty looks, it is as practical as the A3.
It’s really hard to find something that glaringly stands out in terms of comparison in between these two cars and makes one more worthy than the other. However, with a price for base A3 diesel being considerably less in comparison to the base Diesel CLA, the A3 does make a more sensible buy.
Watch comprehensive video review of the CLA-Class below
Watch comprehensive video review of the Audi A3 below