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There is a small article in the October issue of R&T comparing the CLA250 to the A3 1.8T Quattro sedan. Here are some quotes and paraphrases:

"MB broke new ground with its pretty, affordable, 4-door CLA. Audi walked the same path with more commitment and produced a better car.".....no beating around the bush with that comment huh? It continues by stating "the A3 offers a more comfortable cabin than the CLA......handles more sharply". Engine-wise "the new 180 hp...is a little jewel with terrific fuel economy, excellent manners, and tremendous low-end grunt". Of the many articles I've read, none mention "tremendous" low-end grunt regarding the CLA 250. "The ride is cleanly firm, and the car feels both more assured and more connected to the road than the CLA." In summary, "The all-wheel-drive A3 is very possibly the best small sedan currently on sale." I'm pretty certain it isn't on sale yet, at least here in the states.

This is one writers subjective findings. That being said, it's always best to test drive a new vehicle, especially an all-new car like the CLA and compare/contrast it to the competition before buying.
 

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A3 Sedan is my second choice if I change my mind about CLA. No doubt, Audi makes premium cars with high quality. But in my opinion CLA is still the best looking car. I have tested and read everything that is written about CLA, and next week I am going to test A3 Sedan. To me comfort it the most important, and in my mind Mercedes makes the most comfortable cars.
 

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Auto journalists (other than the folks at Consumer Reports, perhaps) will almost invariably go for the better handling car and this is not the first review to suggest that the base CLA is not a performance oriented sedan. This review is no surprise to me. Don't worry about the reviews...unless, after driving the car yourself, you agree with them! :). Just buy what makes you happy and what checks the boxes on your list of top priorities.

-Eric
 

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Auto journalists (other than the folks at Consumer Reports, perhaps) will almost invariably go for the better handling car and this is not the first review to suggest that the base CLA is not a performance oriented sedan. This review is no surprise to me. Don't worry about the reviews...unless, after driving the car yourself, you agree with them! :). Just buy what makes you happy and what checks the boxes on your list of top priorities.
-Eric

Eric,
The problem is that a 30 minute test drive with an 18 year old beauty queen might not reveal her true character.
 

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Its typical for Road & Track & Motor Trend to get paid by the manufactures to post up great reviews on their products.
 

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There is a small article in the October issue of R&T comparing the CLA250 to the A3 1.8T Quattro sedan. Here are some quotes and paraphrases:

"MB broke new ground with its pretty, affordable, 4-door CLA. Audi walked the same path with more commitment and produced a better car.".....no beating around the bush with that comment huh? It continues by stating "the A3 offers a more comfortable cabin than the CLA......handles more sharply". Engine-wise "the new 180 hp...is a little jewel with terrific fuel economy, excellent manners, and tremendous low-end grunt". Of the many articles I've read, none mention "tremendous" low-end grunt regarding the CLA 250. "The ride is cleanly firm, and the car feels both more assured and more connected to the road than the CLA." In summary, "The all-wheel-drive A3 is very possibly the best small sedan currently on sale." I'm pretty certain it isn't on sale yet, at least here in the states.

This is one writers subjective findings. That being said, it's always best to test drive a new vehicle, especially an all-new car like the CLA and compare/contrast it to the competition before buying.
But you can't test drive the CLA250 and the A3 side by side like the testers did.

The CLA is a looker and if you are into looks, then what do you care about how well the A3 drives ?
 
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