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Car Wars Wednesdays: BMW 1 Series vs Audi A3

June 3, 2015

We’re halfway through the week and what better way to celebrate than with a Car Wars battle? Today’s edition is all about the Germans as BMW takes on Audi for the title of best hatchback – and with both cars boasting high-quality interiors and a range of economical engines, it’s set to be an intense head-to-head. If you’re in the market for a feat of German engineering but can’t decide where your loyalties lie, let today’s battle help you choose – and if you’re struggling to find the funds to finance your new wheels, the Car Loan Warehouse can help there, too.

So, BMW 1 Series vs Audi A3: which hot hatch will be crowned the winner in today’s Car Wars? Let’s find out.


BMW 1 Series

Original image by NRMA Motoring and Services

BMW gave the 1 Series a facelift earlier this year and, while it hasn’t hurt the hatchback’s appeal, it hasn’t helped it, either. Despite that, the car still comes with all the class we’d expect from BMW – including a high-quality interior and sporty appearance. Up front in the BMW 1 Series there’s plenty of room to get comfy – and thanks to a generous glovebox and deep door bins, there’s also ample space for any in-car essentials. The A3 comes with equal abundance on the storage front, with a smattering of door pockets and drinks holders providing plenty of practicality. The BMW’s boot has a capacity of 360 litres – making it a fraction smaller than the Audi’s 365 litres. However, drop down the rear seats and boot space grows to 1,200 litres and 1,100 litres respectively. Put the 1 Series up against the A3 in the design category, and Audi’s styling combined with its iconic badge gives the A3 the edge. Round one goes to Audi.


Equipment in the entry-level BMW 118i SE model should be sufficient for most drivers, packing in a leather-trimmed steering wheel, Sat Nav, air-conditioning, digital radio and alloy wheels. If you’re looking for a touch more tech, the extensive Sport model list should offer everything you need. Audi’s entry-level SE spec is the way to go if you’re concerned with keeping costs low. The basic model comes with air-conditioning, Bluetooth, voice control and a USB socket – while Sport models add sports seats and sports suspension, as well as dual-zone climate control. Both cars impress in the features round – but for bags of kit without the extra cost, the Audi A3 takes the title.

Performance and Handling

This is a tough category for the competing hatchbacks, as both boast powerful performance across their respective engine ranges. For BMW, the entry-level 118i petrol comes with a 1.6 litre engine and manages 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. Topping the engine range is the six-cylinder flagship M135i – with power exceeding an eye-watering 300bhp, this engine tops out at 155mph. Even the A3’s 104bhp 1.2 litre TFSI petrol engine packs a powerful punch – getting from 0-62mph takes 10.2 seconds while fuel economy is a satisfying 56.5mpg. All A3s remain quiet on the motorway – which is essential if you’re looking for a hatchback to accompany you on long trips. While both cars impress, props go to the Audi for its eco-friendly engines.


Audi A3 E-Tron red

Original image by Robert Basic

The entry-level BMW 1 Series will set you back £20,245, while the Audi A3 undercuts it – coming in at just £18,615. If you want change from your 20k, opt for the Audi.

The verdict: Whether you’re a driving newbie or a seasoned petrolhead, you’ll struggle to settle on a winner – but thanks to its reliability, practicality and sauve interior, the Audi A3 is our champion.

BMW vs Audi: which is your winner? Do you agree with us or are you still struggling to pick your favourite German hatchback? Assess your options with our Audi A3 finance and BMW 1 Series finance pages to help you decide – or check out our online car finance calculator for a quick quote today.


About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.