Audi A3 vs. Acura TLX

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - April 27, 2015

While Audi's prestige has caught up with BMW and Mercedes, Acura's image as a premium brand still lags behind on the second tier. But Acura has the clear advantage for buyers in search of reliability and inexpensive running costs -- buyers on a budget, even entry-level luxury buyers, won't fail to appreciate this.

So, which is the better buy when comparing the larger Acura TLX with the smaller Audi A3?

See a side-by-side comparison of the A3 & TLX»

What the Acura TLX Gets Right

The TLX starts out with a few extra standard goodies, and these include LED headlights, a four-way power passenger’s seat, and a dual-screen infotainment system. The TLX also beats out the A3 in terms of front headroom, front legroom, both front and rear shoulder room, and cargo space. Additionally, the sportier appearance of the TLX may interest the younger crowd.

Under the hood, the TLX also has an advantage, as its standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 206 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. Though the base TLX is a 0.2 seconds slower to 60 mph than the A3, it redeems itself with superior fuel economy at 24 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined. The optional 3.5-liter V-6 also trumps the A3’s optional 2-liter engine, as it produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This engine also beats out the Audi’s optional engine in highway fuel economy.

See more luxury sedan comparisons here »

What the A3 Gets Right

The A3 has a few desirable standard features that the TLX does not include. These include real leather upholstery and a 10-speaker audio system. Despite its smaller size, the A3 has 35.1 inches of rear legroom, which is 0.6 inches more than the larger TLX has. The A3 also comes out on top in terms of pricing, as it starts out at $29,900.

Though the Audi A3 does lose out in overall power, its smaller and lighter body results in quicker acceleration times across its range of gasoline engines. Not only is the A3 quicker, but Audi tuned its chassis for sportier handling, making it more agile than the TLX. Additionally, the A3 has a 2-liter TDI diesel engine available that gets an incredible 31 mpg city, 43 mpg highway, and 36 mpg combined.

Why Buy the TLX?

Though the TLX does just barely lose out to the A3, it remains a desirable luxury sedan. It is best suited for a buyer looking for more of a cruising sedan, as its dual-clutch transmission is not as aggressive as the A3’s and the handling is not as precise.

Verdict: Audi A3

The Audi A3 barely squeaks by the TLX. The win is mainly because most small luxury-car buyers are looking for something with more pep. The A3 simply does the performance sedan "thing" a little better than the TLX. Add to that the extra standard features and the lower base price, and you have a winner.

Take a closer look at the Audi A3 »

Take a closer look at the Acura TLX »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter

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