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A pragmatist would dismiss the 2015 Audi A3 and 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 as nonsensical purchases.

The $30,000 spent on their most basic trim levels could instead be put toward a much bigger and better-equipped midsize sedan without the fancy badge.

As it is, however, pragmatists rarely dip their sensible-shoe-clad toes into the luxury pool. Perhaps the rest of us are being bamboozled, but there is something to be said for the way that luxury badge makes you feel, and more importantly, the genuinely higher quality of materials, construction and engineering that comes part and parcel with a three-pointed star or four interconnected rings.

Well, at least in theory. This is our first head-to-head comparison of the new entry-level luxury sedan segment, and we were interested to see if the A3 and CLA250 are just compact cars that were given a luxury makeover, or genuine luxury cars shrunk down like a wool sweater in the dryer.

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Edmunds InsideLine Comparison Test: 2015 Audi A3 Sedan Defeats 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250! Will The A3 Sedan Become The New Sales King of the Segment?

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