The most affordable route to a new Audi, the A3 offers premium appointments and confident performance on a compact scale.

Pricing and Equipment

The A3 lineup starts with the Premium model, priced at $32,159, destination included. Standard equipment includes:

  • Leather seats with driver power
  • A panoramic sunroof
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • A 10-speaker sound system with HD and satellite radio.

The $35,400 Premium Plus also comes with heated front seats with passenger power, keyless ignition, blind spot monitoring, and smartphone compatibility. The $41,100 Prestige tops off the A3 with a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system is available on all models for $3,000.

A convertible version of the A3 is available in the same trim levels, starting at $38,550.

All A3s now come standard with Audi's popular 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, which produces 220 horsepower and returns 29 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving (or 27 mpg with the optional Quattro all-wheel-drive system.)

Performance Pros

Audi A3
  • Hearty acceleration from the 2.0-liter turbo gives the A3 plenty of gusto from a standstill.
  • The A3's standard six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is still one of the quickest and most capable automatics on the market.
  • Quattro all-wheel drive helps turn the A3 into an extremely capable all-weather machine.

Performance Cons

  • We're disappointed that Audi doesn't offer a manual transmission on the A3, especially since the slightly larger A4 gets one.
  • Like many manufacturers of small, turbocharged engines, Audi recommends pricier premium fuel.
  • The previously optional turbodiesel engine is gone due to parent company Volkswagen's emissions scandal.

Interior Pros

  • The A3 comes standard with Audi's sophisticated Multi-Media Interface (MMI), which includes a fully retractable screen and a touchpad with handwriting recognition.
  • The A3's controls are logically placed and highly intuitive. We never had to fumble for a switch or make any awkward moves while driving.
  • Audi's digital instrument cluster, officially called Audi Virtual Cockpit, is among the neatest pieces of technology on the market. It's available on the Premium Plus and above as part of the $3,000 Technology Package and is wholly worth the price.

Interior Cons

  • The A3's small footprint became very apparent once we climbed into the rear seat. There's barely enough room for two adults, and even then the trip better be short.
  • The minimalist design is a departure from what other luxury automakers are doing these days. Some buyers might find the A3 downright bland inside.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

We genuinely enjoyed driving the Audi A3 on twisty roads, something we can't say of some other small luxury sedans. Despite its conservative looks, the A3 definitely has a playful side.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The Audi A3 isn't nearly as quiet inside as it should be. We experienced a startling amount of road noise for something wearing an Audi badge. Consider the smaller 18-inch wheels.

The Bottom Line

The Audi A3 is fun drive and loaded with features, but lacks the refinement of its larger siblings. If Audi could cut down on road noise and spice up the cabin, it'd have a real winner on its hands.