2020 Acura ILX Vs. 2020 Audi A3

By Justin Cupler | February 4th, 2020

Compact luxury sedans offer tons of value with their premium features and relatively low prices. Two great values in this segment are the 2020 Acura ILX and the 2020 Audi A3. Though the ILX may seem like the clear winner in value due to its lower base price, we dig deeper to find out which one is the better value and the better overall buy for our Rochester area families. Continue reading to learn more.

Exterior

The second-generation Audi A3 hit the market in 2015 with the brand’s typical evolutionary redesign that included updated lighting, a revised grille, and slightly restyled body lines. Overall, the A3 retains the timeless styling the brand has long been known for but with modern bits like LED lighting, flashy wheels, and more.

 

The Acura ILX hasn’t seen a redesign since arriving in 2013, but it did receive a sleek refresh in 2019 that brought in a fresh look from the A-pillars forward. This included all-new lighting, grille, front fascia, bumper, hood, and fenders. The refresh was so significant that it was easy to mistake it for a full redesign. In the 2020 ILX, this look carries on, but it is still so modern that our Rochester area shoppers have no complaints.

 

While these luxury compact sedans look sleek and sporty in their base models, they also have optional packages to dress things up. The A3 boasts its S line package that adds more aggressive bumpers, side sills, and more. The A3 also has the S3 and RS 3 models that add even more visual flair.

 

While the 2020 ILX lacks an S3 or RS 3 competitor, it’s A-Spec package adds a gloss-black spoiler and diffuser, and unique wheels for a little extra visual sportiness.

 

As for standard exterior features, the A3 comes very well-equipped with 18-inch five-double-spoke bi-color wheels, sport line front and rear fascia, high-gloss-titanium-black exterior trim, chrome exhaust outlets, auto-on/off xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, mirror-integrated LED turn signals integrated into mirrors, heated windshield washer nozzles, and more.

 

The ILX matches most of the A3’s standard features but lacks the heated nozzles and has 1-inch-smaller standard wheels. It makes up for these shortcomings with standard LED headlights and a significantly lower base price.

 

When talking about size, the ILX is longer by 6.7 inches, making it a little harder to manage in tight traffic. These two sedans are, however, about the same width and height.

 

Measurement 2020 Acura ILX 2020 Audi A3 Difference
Length 182.2 inches 175.5 inches +6.7 inches
Width 70.6 inches 70.7 inches -0.1 inches
Height 55.6 inches 54.8 to 55.7 inches -0.1 to +0.8 inches
Wheelbase 105.1 inches 103.8 inches +1.3 inches
Ground Clearance 5.3 inches
Curb weight 3,095 to 3,148 pounds 3,197 to 3,593 pounds -498 to -49 pounds

 

Advantage: 2020 Audi A3

  •       Timeless design
  •       Sporty S3 and RS 3 models
  •       Flashier standard wheels

Advantage: 2020 Acura ILX

  •       Standard LED headlights
  •       Upgraded sportiness in A-Spec trim
  •       More aggressive design
  •       Nearly same exterior features for much cheaper

Interior

Inside, the Audi shows off its European luxury ways with a clean instrument panel that has very few buttons and knobs, a dash-top infotainment screen, and rounded air vents. This type of clean design has been the trend over the past few years, putting this compact luxury sedan right on point in its segment.

 

The ILX shows some age inside, as it continues with the optional dual-screen setup that places the infotainment screen high on the dash and a second screen below it to control the radio, HVAC system, and more. The instrument panel is also a little busier, but it is far from overdone. For buyers who prefer this older dash design, the ILX is the ride for you.

 

As a luxury sedan, even the A3’s base trim comes well-equipped. Its standard features include desirable amenities like dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, ambient LED interior lighting, leather seating, aluminum interior trim, an eight-way power driver’s seat with four-way power lumbar, heated front seats, a 7-inch MMI infotainment display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 10-speaker audio system, and more. Standard safety features include just forward-collision preparation and low-speed automatic emergency braking.

 

Standard interior features is where the lower base price of the ILX shows up. It matches many of the A3’s items but falls short with a standard 5-inch infotainment screen, leatherette upholstery, and six-speaker audio system. In addition, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay are not standard, but they are available in the Premium Package and higher. It does, however, boast tons more standard safety goodies, including automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, road-departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and more.

 

Buyers who want to match the base A3 and even beat it in many ways can go to the range-topping ILX A-Spec with the Technology Package and still end up $1,650 less than the base A3 Premium. This loads the ILX with all the goodies like an 8-inch infotainment screen, the dual-screen system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, Perforated Milano premium leather and Ultrasuede-trimmed interior, and tons more. Plus, you will have some extra cash for a few accessories.

 

Buyers looking for something sporty will find this in both sedans, The ILX offers its A-Spec model with sport seats, striking color options, “A-Spec” badging and more. Audi, on the other hand, offers its S3 and RS 3 models with flat-bottom steering wheels and sport seats with “RS” or “S” embossing.

 

When looking at interior roominess, these sedans offer plenty of it but in differing ways. The ILX gives front-seat riders an extra 1.5 inches of headroom and 1.1 inches of legroom to work with, while the A3 tosses rear-seat riders a bone with an extra 0.2 inches of headroom and 1.1 inches of legroom. Buyers looking to take one of these sedans on a weekend getaway will find an extra 2.4 cubes of trunk room in the ILX, but it is still tight at just 12.4 cubic feet.

 

Measurement 2020 Acura ILX 2020 Audi A3 Difference
Front headroom 38 inches 36.5 inches +1.5 inches
Front legroom 42.3 inches 41.2 inches +1.1 inches
Front shoulder room 55.6 inches 54.8 inches +0.8 inches
Front hip room 50.3 inches
Rear headroom 35.9 inches 36.1 inches -0.2 inches
Rear legroom 34 inches 35.1 inches -1.1 inches
Rear shoulder room 53.6 inches 53 inches +0.6 inches
Rear hip room 51.7 inches
Cargo room 12.4 cubic feet 10 cubic feet +2.4  cubic feet

 

Advantage: 2020 Audi A3

  •       Roomier rear seats
  •       More standard features

Advantage: 2020 Acura ILX

  •       Fully loaded A-Spec w/ Tech is cheaper than base A3
  •       Tons more value
  •       Roomier front seats
  •       Extra trunk space

Performance

The Audi A3 lineup includes four turbocharged 2.0-liter engines to pick from, depending on the performance flavor you prefer. They all mate to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The base unit delivers 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels for a 6.6-second 0-to-60 sprint. Add all-wheel drive, and the power jumps to 228 horses and 258 pound-feet, which drops the sprint time to just 5.8 seconds.

 

Moving into the performance lineup starts with the S3, which delivers 288 horsepower and 286 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels for a 4.6-second 0-to-60 time. Range-topping performance comes from the RS 3’s 394-horsepower engine that throws power to all four wheels for a scary-fast 3.9-second 0-to-60 time.

 

The 2020 Acura ILX rolls in with a slightly older-school engine that forgoes a turbocharger in favor of old-fashioned, high-revving VTEC fun. This 2.4-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder delivers 201 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 180 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm. Sure, it is 0.2 seconds slower to 60 mph than the base A3, but there is something so satisfying about wringing out a VTEC engine.

 

2020 Acura ILX 2020 Audi A3 Difference
Standard engine 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cyl 2.0-liter turbo 4-cyl
Horsepower 201 hp at 6,800 rpm 184 hp +17 hp
Torque 180 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm 221 lb-ft -41 lb-ft
Transmission 8-spd dual-clutch automatic 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
Driveline FWD FWD
0-60 time 6.8 seconds 6.6 seconds +0.2 seconds
MPG City 24 mpg* 26 mpg -2 mpg
MPG Highway 34 mpg* 35 mpg -1 mpg
MPG Combined 28 mpg* 29 mpg -1 mpg
Optional engine 2.0-liter turbo 4-cyl
Horsepower 228 hp -27 hp
Torque 258 lb-ft -78 lb ft
Transmission 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
Driveline AWD
0-60 time 5.8 seconds +1 second
MPG City 22 mpg +2 mpg
MPG Highway 30 mpg +4 mpg
MPG Combined 25 mpg +3 mpg
Optional engine 2.0-liter turbo 4-cyl (S3)
Horsepower 288 hp -87 hp
Torque 280 lb-ft -79 lb-ft
Transmission 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
Driveline AWD
0-60 time 4.6 seconds +2.2 seconds
MPG City 22 mpg +2 mpg
MPG Highway 29 mpg +5 mpg
MPG Combined 25 mpg +3 mpg
Optional engine 2.5-liter turbo 5-cyl (RS3)
Horsepower 394 hp -193 hp
Torque 354 lb-ft -174 lb-ft
Transmission 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
Driveline AWD
0-60 time 3.9 seconds +2.9 seconds
MPG City TBD
MPG Highway TBD
MPG Combined TBD

 

Advantage: 2020 Audi A3

  •       Faster to 60 mph in all trims
  •       Insanely fast RS 3
  •       Available all-wheel drive

Advantage: 2020 Acura ILX

  •       High-revving fun
  •       More sophisticated transmission
  •       Fuel economy advantage over S3 and RS 3

Pricing and Features

The 2020 Audi A3 lineup has five trim levels – A3 Premium, A3 Premium Plus, S3 Premium, S3 Premium Plus, and RS 3 – and their starting prices range from $33,300 to $45,600. That top-end price is for the S3 Premium Plus, as there is no pricing info on the range-topping 2020 RS 3 yet. In 2019, the RS 3 started from $56,200.

The 2020 Acura ILX has a more unique lineup comprised of a base model and three stacking packages that act almost like trim levels: Premium Package, Technology Package, and A-Spec. The 2020 ILX’s pricing ranges from $25,900 to $31,650.

2020 Audi A3 Key Features and Pricing by Trim

A3 Premium: $33,300

  •       2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (184 horsepower)
  •       Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
  •       Front-wheel drive
  •       18-inch five-double-spoke bi-color wheels
  •       Sport line front and rear fascia
  •       High-gloss-titanium-black exterior trim
  •       Chrome exhaust outlets
  •       Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running light
  •       Auto-on/off headlights
  •       LED taillights
  •       LED turn signals integrated into mirrors
  •       Power, heated mirrors
  •       Heated windshield washer nozzles
  •       Dual-zone automatic climate control
  •       Three-spoke multifunction steering wheel
  •       Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  •       Aluminum Mistral inlays
  •       Panoramic sunroof
  •       Black cloth headliner
  •       Ambient LED interior lighting
  •       Aluminum interior package
  •       Leather seating
  •       Eight-way power driver’s seat with four-way power lumbar
  •       40/20/40 split-folding rear seat
  •       Heated front seats
  •       Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  •       Aluminum front doorsill inlays
  •       Illuminated vanity mirrors
  •       Power windows with one-touch-up/down operation
  •       Front and rear floor mats
  •       Trunk mat
  •       Color driver-information center
  •       7-inch MMI infotainment display
  •       Apple CarPlay
  •       Android Auto
  •       140-watt, 10-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/HD Radio/SiriusXM audio system
  •       Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  •       Keyless open and ignition
  •       Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  •       Cruise control
  •       Rearview camera
  •       Forward-collision preparation
  •       Low-speed automatic emergency braking

A3 Premium Plus: $36,300

  •       All A3 Premium features, plus
  •       Full-LED headlights with all-weather lighting
  •       14-speaker, 755-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system
  •       Wireless charging pad
  •       Cellphone signal booster
  •       Auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass
  •       Rear USB charging ports
  •       12-volt power outlet in the trunk
  •       Automatic high-beam headlights
  •       Blind-spot monitoring
  •       Rear cross-traffic alert
  •       Front and rear parking sensors

S3 Premium: $43,000

  •       2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (288 horsepower)
  •       7-speed dual-clutch transmission
  •       All-wheel drive
  •       S sport suspension
  •       Variable-effort steering
  •       18-inch five-arm-dynamic-design wheels
  •       Platinum gray Singleframe grille
  •       S-specific front fascia, rear fascia, and side sills
  •       Aluminum-optic mirror housings
  •       High-gloss aluminum trim around windows
  •       Body-color trunk-mounted spoiler
  •       S model quad-exit exhaust
  •       Full-LED headlights with all-weather lighting
  •       Headlight washers
  •       LED taillights with dynamic indicators
  •       LED turn signals integrated into side mirrors
  •       Power, heated mirrors
  •       Heated windshield washer nozzles
  •       Keyless unlock
  •       Keyless ignition
  •       Cruise control
  •       Dual-zone automatic climate control
  •       Three-spoke, multifunction, flat-bottom steering wheel
  •       Shift paddles
  •       Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  •       Brushed-aluminum interior inlays
  •       Leather-wrapped gear shifter
  •       Illuminated vanity mirrors
  •       Power windows with one-touch up/down
  •       Panoramic sunroof
  •       Black cloth headliner
  •       Aluminum interior accent package
  •       Ambient LED interior lighting
  •       Leather seating with contrast stitching and “S” embossing
  •       Front sport seats with thigh support
  •       Eight-way power driver’s seat with four-way power lumbar support
  •       40/20/40 split-folding rear seats
  •       Heated front seats
  •       Folding armrest
  •       Front and rear floor mats
  •       Trunk mat
  •       Aluminum-optic pedals
  •       Illuminated aluminum front door-sill inlays
  •       Color driver-information center
  •       7-inch MMI infotainment display
  •       Apple CarPlay
  •       Android Auto
  •       10-speaker, 180-watt AM/FM/HD Radio/SiriusXM/CD audio system
  •       Two USB ports
  •       Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio
  •       Rearview camera
  •       Forward-collision preparation
  •       Low-speed automatic emergency braking
  •       Anti-theft alarm with motion detection

S3 Premium Plus: $45,600

  •       All S3 Premium features, plus
  •       14-speaker, 705-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system
  •       Wireless charging pad
  •       Cellphone signal booster
  •       Eight-way power passenger’s seat with four-way power lumbar
  •       Auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass
  •       Rear USB charging ports
  •       12-volt power outlet in the trunk
  •       Front and rear parking sensors
  •       Automatic high-beam headlights
  •       Blind-spot monitoring
  •       Rear cross-traffic alert

RS 3: $TBD

  •       2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  •       7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
  •       All-wheel drive
  •       RS-tuned magnetic-ride suspension
  •       19-inch five-arm-blade-design wheels
  •       Honeycomb-patterned grille
  •       Full-LED headlights
  •       Headlight washers
  •       Auto-on/off headlights
  •       LED taillights with dynamic turn signals
  •       Power, auto-dimming, power-folding, heated mirrors
  •       Mirror-integrated LED turn signal
  •       RS-specific front fascia, rear fascia, side sills, and bumpers
  •       Matte-aluminum-optic grille surround, front blade, mirror housings, window trim, and rear diffuser
  •       Rain-sensing wipers
  •       Body-color rear spoiler
  •       Oval RS exhaust tips
  •       Dual-zone automatic climate control
  •       Three-spoke, flat-bottom, multifunction sport steering wheel with RS badging
  •       Shift paddles
  •       Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  •       Folding front center armrest
  •       Power windows with one-touch up/down
  •       Illuminated aluminum race inlays
  •       Panoramic sunroof
  •       Interior storage package
  •       Ambient LED interior lighting
  •       Auto-dimming rearview mirror with digital compass
  •       Illuminated aluminum door-sill inlays with RS badging
  •       Stainless steel pedal caps
  •       Fine Nappa leather seats with perforation and contrast diamond stitching
  •       RS embossed seatbacks
  •       Front S sport seats with extendable thigh support
  •       Heated eight-way power front seats
  •       Split-folding 40/20/40 rear seat
  •       Color driver-information center
  •       10-speaker, 180-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3/HD Radio/SiriusXM audio system
  •       USB data port
  •       Apple CarPlay
  •       Android Auto
  •       Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  •       Front and rear parking sensors
  •       Front collision preparation

2020 Acura ILX Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Base: $25,900**

  •       2.4-liter four-cylinder engine
  •       Front-wheel drive
  •       Eight-speed dual-clutch transmission
  •       Electric power steering
  •       17-inch Glitter Silver machine-finished wheels
  •       Auto-on/off LED headlights
  •       LED taillights
  •       Acoustic windshield
  •       Remote-operated windows and moonroof
  •       Moonroof
  •       Heated, power mirrors
  •       Sport seats
  •       Leatherette-trimmed interior
  •       Eight-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar
  •       Heated front seats
  •       Rear center armrest
  •       Fold-down rear seatback
  •       Dual-zone automatic climate control
  •       Keyless access and ignition
  •       Power windows with one-touch up/down front glass
  •       Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  •       Leather-wrapped shift knob
  •       Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  •       Active sound control
  •       Ambient cabin lighting
  •       Bright silver and chrome dash trim
  •       Six-speaker Acura audio system
  •       Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  •       USB audio interface
  •       MP3 input
  •       Pandora capability
  •       Siri Eyes Free
  •       SMS text messaging function
  •       5-inch center display
  •       Color multi-information display
  •       Compass
  •       Forward-collision warning
  •       Automatic emergency braking
  •       Lane-departure warning
  •       Lane-keep assist
  •       Road-departure mitigation
  •       Adaptative cruise control
  •       Multiview rearview camera
  •       Hill-start assist
  •       Brake Assist
  •       Theft-deterrent system with electronic immobilizer

Premium: $27,750**

  •       All Standard features, plus
  •       17-inch pewter gray metallic machine-finish Y-spoke wheels
  •       Perforated Milano-leather-trimmed interior with contrast stitching and piping
  •       Two-position memory for driver’s seat and mirrors
  •       Four-way power passenger’s seat
  •       Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  •       Seven-speaker Acura premium audio system
  •       SiriusXM
  •       HD Radio
  •       Apple CarPlay
  •       Android Auto
  •       Email capability
  •       8-inch LED-lit infotainment screen
  •       On Demand Multi-Use Display 2.0
  •       Universal garage door opener
  •       Blind-spot monitors
  •       Rear cross-traffic monitoring

Technology: $29,650**

  •       All Premium features, plus
  •       GPS-linked climate control
  •       10-speaker Acura/ELS Studio premium audio system
  •       Song by voice
  •       Acura navigation with 3D view
  •       Acura Real-Time Traffic with street and freeway conditions
  •       Traffic Rerouting
  •       Color multi-information display
  •       AcuraLink connected services
  •       Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines

A-Spec: $29,750** (with Premium)/$31,650** (with Technology)

  •       All Premium or Technology features, plus
  •       18-inch shark gray 15-spoke wheels
  •       Dark chrome and lighting details
  •       LED fog lights
  •       Dark chrome accents
  •       Piano-black deck-lid spoiler
  •       Piano-black diffuser
  •       Side underbody spoilers
  •       A-Spec seats
  •       Perforated Milano premium leather and Ultrasuede-trimmed interior with contrast piping and stitching
  •       A-Spec-badged steering wheel
  •       Graphite and chrome dash trim
  •       A-Spec-exclusive red instrument panel lighting
  •       Ebony headliner
  •       Stainless steel sport pedals

Who Should Buy the 2020 Audi A3

Buyers seeking a decked-out luxury car with top-notch performance will find this in the 2020 A3. Whether it’s the base model or the insane RS 3, the Audi A3 lineup delivers premium amenities combined with a level of performance the ILX cannot match.

Who Should Buy the 2020 Acura ILX

For our Rochester area luxury car shoppers who want the best value in the luxury compact sedan segment, the 2020 Acura ILX is it. Even in its range-topping A-Spec w/ Technology Package variant, it is cheaper than the base A3. Plus, it is no slouch in acceleration with a 6.8-second 0-to-60 time.

 

Ready to put the 2020 Acura ILX in your garage? Stop by the Acura of Rochester showroom serving the Rochester, Pittsford, Fairport, and surrounding areas today to check it out in person and test drive it. Can’t make it today? You can also see all the 2020 ILX models we have available today in the Rochester area via our online inventory page. Just choose a few that suit your needs and schedule a test drive around your busy life.

 

* Based on 2020 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid only) and other factors.

 

** Prices shown are Acura suggested retail prices only and do not include taxes, license or destination and handling charge. Destination & Handling charge is $995 for sedans and $995 for SUVs. Acura vehicle accessory costs, labor and installation vary. Dealers set their own prices. Please consult your selected dealer.