Audi A3 review
Subtle exterior changes and a tech-laden interior help the Audi A3 maintain its position as a premium family hatchback.
Audi hasn’t felt the need to reinvent the wheel with the latest A3 - its subtle exterior revisions and slightly larger footprint only accentuate the premium look of the stylish family hatchback.
Where the German manufacturer has made decisive change is with the on-board tech and interior design, offering an up-to-date digital environment with the typical Audi focus on quality materials throughout the cabin. The A3 remains as desirable as ever, but will still have its work cut out to win customers away from the equally capable Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen rivals.
About the Audi A3
The A3 has been around since 1996 when Audi decided it needed a rival for the ever-popular Volkswagen Golf. The debut Audi A3 model cleverly used the reliable underpinnings from its Mk4 Golf stablemate, and with its polished good looks, sophisticated style and superb build quality, it quickly established itself as a leader in the premium hatchback class.
Now in its fourth generation, the A3 has continued to set the benchmark, offering big-car luxury and a desirable appeal that others still find hard to match.
Audi’s success with the A3 prompted the likes of BMW and Mercedes to produce hatchback rivals in the shape of the 1 Series and A-Class, while Lexus offers the rather compromised CT 200h hybrid as further competition. The A3 also shares the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform with the cheaper Golf, SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia.
Priced from around £24,000, Audi will offer the A3 as a five-door Sportback or a four-door Saloon model, with no room for a three-door hatch or Cabriolet version in the range.
There are four equipment levels to be found across both the Sportback and Saloon variants: Sport, S line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung, while the Sportback also features an entry-level Technik trim.
Petrol power comes in two guises - a 1.0-litre unit with 109bhp, badged 30 TFSI and a 1.5-litre engine with 148bhp, labelled 35 TFSI. There is also a 2.0-litre diesel powerplant with two separate power outputs - the 30 TDI with 114bhp and the 35 TDI producing 148bhp. The lower-powered versions come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the more potent models use a seven-speed S tronic transmission.
Plug-in hybrid power will be available in the near future, with two e-tron options for buyers to choose from. The performance end is taken care of with the sporty S3 version, and an RS 3 with a five-cylinder engine will arrive in 2021.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingSubtle exterior changes and a tech-laden interior help the Audi A3 maintain its position as a premium family hatchback.
- 2Engines, performance and driveAudi offers refined and capable engines for the A3, while the diesel units are particularly frugal.
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsThe A3 has strong, efficient petrol and diesel engines, with plug-in hybrid power soon to join the range.
- 4Interior, design and technologyUnderstated on the outside, cutting-edge on the inside, the Audi A3 is a classy, tech-filled family hatchback.
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Audi A3 offers usable practicality with premium levels of comfort.
- 6Reliability and safetySafety kit for the A3 is excellent, while reliability should be equally as reassuring.