Speak of entry-level premium cars in the country and the Audi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz CLA emerge as a popular choice. The German automakers offer their respective models in petrol as well as diesel engine options in the country. Both the cars have recently been introduced with fresh upgrades to strengthen its position in the Indian market. The A3 is based on the MQB platform while the Mercedes CLA is based on the A-Class platform.
Engine: The petrol version of the Audi A3 is powered by a 1.8-litre TFSI engine which generates 177bhp of power and 250Nm of torque, while the diesel version gets a 2.0-litre engine which generates 141bhp of power and 320Nm of torque. Both the engines come mated to a seven-speed DSG gearbox. As for the Mercedes-Benz CLA, the petrol version gets a 1.6-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine that generates 156bhp of power and 200Nm of torque. The diesel version is powered by a 2.2-litre turbocharged engine which generates 136bhp of power and 300Nm of torque. The petrol as well as diesel version of the CLA is mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters. Speaking of performance, the Audi A3 is a better performer in comparison to the Mercedes-Benz CLA. In terms of fuel efficiency, the A3 does return slightly lesser fuel efficiency figure, but then it justifies the difference with impressive power figures.
Safety and features: Speaking about safety, both the cars are offered with fair amount of safety features ABS with EBD, ESP, multiple airbags, brake assist with adaptive braking, hill assist and more. The CLA gets an additional advantage by offering LED automatic headlamps with adaptive function. Between the two, the CLA from Mercedes-Benz wins extra pointers in terms of safety aspect. The Audi A3 offers premium upholstery, wireless phone charging function, dual-zone climate control, a revised three-spoke steering wheel, leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors and a 7-inch retractable screen for the MMI infotainment system. While, the CLA from Mercedes comes with 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity options for smartphones, chrome COMAND wheel, both front and back powered seats, 360 degree camera and more. Like safety, the CLA also impresses buyers with more features and an appealing interior layout.
Style: Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA feature unique styling aspects. The former features ‘arrow head’ DRLs, bi-xenon headlamps and a familiar trapezoidal grille. Choosing the S-Line variant will mean extra skirting, five-spoke 17-inch wheel rims, scarlet paint and badging on the fenders and the scuff plates. The taillamp like most Audi’s continues to the boot lids. The CLA on the other hand gets bigger front bumper, large LED headlamps, restyled tail lamps, more chrome and angular exhaust tips. The Audi range in the country is priced between Rs 27.10-lakh to Rs 35.65-lakh (Ex-showroom, New Delhi), while the Mercedes-Benz CLA is priced between Rs 31.71-lakh to Rs 35.02-lakh (Ex-showroom, New Delhi).
Conclusion: For buyers on a tight budget the Audi A3 base variant comes forth as a good pick, while those who are keen on a feature loaded vehicle, the CLA from Mercedes-Benz is an ideal choice. Mercedes-Benz CLA is a decent performer that offers a fine balance between style, safety and features and indeed comes as a better option. As for customers who do not mind loosing on a few features for better performance and driving esthetics, the Audi A3 is the right choice.