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Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI, BMW 118i, Mercedes A 180

Dino Eisele
Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI, BMW 118i, Mercedes A 180
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E s is yes not always nice to be sensible. For example, it was more tempting to go to the summer night quarry pond with Susi and Claudia than to study chemistry for the written school-leaving exam. On the other hand, it is much easier to choose the rational motor solution for the premium compacts from Audi, BMW and Mercedes, in this case the second power level of the petrol engine. Okay, strictly speaking it is the third with the Audi, because below the 1.4 TFSI with 150 PS there are two versions with 125 and 110 PS.

But actually this is more about the competition from BMW and Mercedes, each freshly modeled as the 118i with 136 hp and the A 180 with 122 hp. The new three-cylinder with 1,499 cubic meters is now working in the BMW. The A-Class still comes with the tried and tested 1.6-liter four-cylinder, but now has a suspension with adjustable dampers. This means that complaints about insubordinate suspension hardship should now be a thing of the past. Let's take a look.

Mercedes A-Class with improved chassis

The adjustable chassis elements are of course not free in the A-Class, they are available for an extra charge of 1,238 euros and are part of the package the really recommendable extras of the A 180. Four driving programs can be selected with the Dynamic Select button in the center console, of which the one with the name Comfort proves to be the most pleasant. The A-Class is still not a real sedan, but it does manage to filter out most of the road bumps with some confidence. It still gets a bit uncomfortable with stronger suggestions and higher payloads.

The Mercedes A-Class was not previously known as a talented packhorse, and the facelift can do little to change that. As before, you only sit really well in the front row, there is a lack of headroom and space in the back, and getting into the rear is rather tedious because of the low roof.

Good workmanship, smooth-running engine

All the nicer it is in front, after all, the A 180 is a Mercedes and as such has decent seats and a high-quality interior. It is also known that the operating logic of the many safety and infotainment features is not always immediately accessible, and the model update has not changed much about that either. The central rotary-push actuator,Console buttons and steering wheel buttons are now almost as much a part of the brand folklore as the combined wiper and turn signal lever to the left of the steering wheel, which has seen some evolutionary spurts since the 1960s.

There is also hardly anything new about the drive report that the 122 hp direct injection gasoline engine is not exactly overflowing with joie de vivre and pulling power, but is very smooth and quiet and quite economical. What else is there to say about the A-Class? It turns around the pylons a touch slower than the 1 Series, and it cannot be turned as precisely as the Sportback. The steering is smooth and precise, not noticeably different from its predecessor. What is more surprising is that the A 180 is not the most expensive car in this comparison, although it is tested with the style equipment. That also secures second place for him in the end.

BMW 118i with new three-cylinder petrol engine

Without additional equipment line The BMW with the standard 16-inch steel wheels costs exactly 24,800 euros, and a thousand is added if you order 17-inch aluminum.

The only thing really new on the 1 Series is the three-cylinder engine, it belongs to the Series B38 and thus to the new BMW engine family, which with individual cubic capacities of 500 cubic meters as well as turbocharging and Valvetronic is gradually moving into the various Group series. In the case of the 118i, the three-cylinder engine has 136 hp, but gives a rather tired guest appearance in the test. It runs comparatively grumpy, hangs a bit slack on the gas and turns up rather unwillingly. In addition, the three-cylinder consumes around half a liter more premium gasoline than the four-cylinder from Audi and Mercedes. Progress through downsizing can hardly be seen here. Especially since the 118i is also a little worse than the nominally weaker A 180. It can hardly be the weight, both compact cars weigh almost exactly the same at 1,394 (BMW) and 1,393 kilos (Mercedes).

In addition, the 1 Series lost a portion of handling talent when the model changed to the current F20. Although it still has the most sensitive steering in this segment, it no longer swings through the corners as easily as before. The gain in comfort, on the other hand, is small, as smooth as the A3 and now also the A-Class, the compact BMW does not bounce - all in all a rather mixed appearance.

Audi A3 1.4 TFSI with balanced qualities

Mediocre? Not an issue for the Audi A3 Sportback. On the one hand this is due to the engine, which is much more powerful with 150 hp. But the 1.4 TFSI with cylinder deactivation, which shuts down two pots in partial load mode, is not only powerful and smooth-running, it also proves to be particularly economical. In almost all test scenarios, it consumes a little less than its rivals. Only consumed during the full-load intensive sports driver cyclethe TFSI engine is significantly more than the Mercedes engine.

But that doesn't exhaust the A3 Sportback's talents. With its combi-like body, it offers more space, which is less evident in the interior values ‚Äč‚Äčthan in everyday use. Its trunk is more usable, it has a more generous loading opening and wide-opening doors. In addition, it is no surprise that it leaves the best quality impression: cleanly installed plastic, high-quality surfaces and uniform joints also document the high standard of this A3 that its manufacturer has achieved here. The differences to the two competitors are not great, but nevertheless noticeable.

Faster through being less weight

If you like Now it's getting a bit boring: Yes, the Audi is a touch better in most disciplines. This applies to the performance, which is also due to the lower weight: the Sportback is around 70 kg lighter than the 1 Series and A-Class. Which partly explains its more agile handling. He is more willing to give in, which can be documented with the light barrier during the slalom: The A3 is always a tad faster than the 118i and A 180. Unimportant, you might say, but in everyday use this talent shows itself in a steady, yet safe driving experience and neutral cornering behavior .

Meanwhile, the occupants can enjoy the good seats and the smoother suspension comfort; the other two do not drive as balanced and harmonious as the Audi. In any case, with the A3 it is not difficult to be sensible. And if you wanted to ask what happened to the chemistry exam: Better not do it.

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