New Audi A3 vs Merc A-Class, Volvo V40

* 2012 Audi A3, Merc A-Class and Volvo V40 * Three all-new models compared * See all the stats here...

New Audi A3 vs Merc A-Class, Volvo V40

The new Audi A3, Mercedes A-Class and Volvo V40 arrive this autumn, with each aimed at buyers looking for a compact hatchback with a classy badge. The V40 is available to order now, the A3 goes on sale on May 28, while the A-Class opens its order books in August. Deliveries of all three start in September.

We've already driven the new Audi A3, which goes on sale as a 3dr. A five-door Sportback model is due in spring 2013.

The new A-Class is a sleek, conventional hatchback in the BMW 1 Series mould - unlike the current model, which is a compact, upright hatchback with an MPV-style interior. We've tested some of the A-Class's new engines at an exclusive preview, but full spec details are yet to be confirmed.

The new Volvo V40 replaces two models the S40 saloon and V50 estate. Just like the A-Class, the V40 is aimed squarely at premium compact hatchback rivals such as the VW Golf and Alfa Romeo Giulietta. You can read our review of the new V40 next week.

Here's our guide to how the three new models compare.

2012 Audi A3, Mercedes A-Class and Volvo V40: dimensions

Audi A3
Length: 424cm/width: 178cm (excluding mirrors)/height: 142cm
Luggage capacity: 365-1100 litres

Mercedes A-Class
Length: 429cm/width: 178cm (excluding mirrors)/height: 143cm
Luggage capacity: tbc

Volvo V40
Length: 437cm/width: 180cm (excluding mirrors)/height: 145cm
Luggage capacity: 335-1032 litres

2012 Audi A3, Mercedes A-Class and Volvo V40: engines

Audi A3
1.4 TFSI 121bhp; CO2: 120g/km
1.4 TFSI Cylinder on Demand 138bhp; CO2: 106g/km (est) (from spring 2013)
1.8 TFSI 178bhp; CO2: 130g/km

1.6 TDI 104bhp; CO2: tbc (from late 2012)
2.0 TDI 148bhp; CO2: 106g/km

2012 Audi A3

Mercedes A-Class
1.6 (A180) 121bhp; CO2: 180g/km
1.6 (A200) 154bhp; CO2: 129g/km
2.0 (A250) 208bhp; CO2: 143g/km

1.5 (A180 CDI) 107bhp; CO2: 98g/km
1.8 (A180 CDI) 107bhp; CO2: 109g/km
1.8 (A200 CDI) 134bhp; CO2: 111g/km
2.1 (A220 CDI) 168bhp; CO2: tbc

2012 Mercedes A-Class

Volvo V40
1.6 (T3) 148bhp; CO2: 125g/km
1.6 (T4) 177bhp; CO2: 129g/km

1.6 (D2) 113bhp; CO2: 94g/km
2.0 (D3) 148bhp; CO2: 114g/km
2.0 (D4) 174bhp; CO2: 114g/km

2012 Volvo V40

2012 Audi A3, Mercedes A-Class and Volvo V40: prices and equipment

Audi A3
Price: 19,205-24,880
Trim highlights:
SE: Air-conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, USB input, voice control system
Sport: Dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel stereo controls, sports suspension, Audi Drive Select
S line: Styling kit, 18-inch alloy wheels, part-leather upholstery, xenon headlights, sports suspension

Mercedes A-Class
Price: 20,000-28,000 (est)
Trim highlights (tbc):
SE: Air-conditioning, alloy wheels, Bluetooth, USB input, Attention Assist (confirmed), radar-controlled collision prevention (confirmed)
Sport: AMG styling kit, larger alloy wheels

Volvo V40
Price: 19,745-26,795
Trim highlights:
ES: Climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, USB input, City Safety, pedestrian airbag
SE: Steering wheel stereo controls, keyless start, electrically folding door mirrors, cruise control
SE Lux: Leather upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, xenon headlights

Leo Wilkinson