There are two engines to choose from. The standard 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces 170hp while the top of the range 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces 220hp. Picking between the two is all a mere matter of taste. The 1.8 only comes with front-wheel-drive and is our pick of the range. It makes the most sense financially and running costs are decent too. It’s nice though that you can have more power with the 2-liter turbo but you can only have it with all-wheel-drive. Both versions don’t even offer a manual gearbox, in both cases however you’ll have to go with the upcoming redesigned Volkswagen Golf/GTI to satisfy that desire.
Unless you’re downgrading from a Bentley, the interior won’t be as classy in comparison. However both are classy and both won’t disappoint. Audi's interior decors are some of the best in the industry. Even the optional infotainment display that sort of leaps out of the dash is a welcome touch; everything is within easy reach of the driver’s hand and the seats are comfortable with plenty of support. Rear passengers however may suffer a bit in legroom.
Premium trim offers leather seats, Xenon headlamps, dual zone climate control and a panoramic sunroof. Premium plus trim adds keyless start, 18-inch alloy wheels and heated front seats. You’ll have to step up to the Prestige trim to full LED headlights, 14 speaker 705watt sound system and voice control navigation system.
The A3 may seem expensive compared to indirect rivals such as the Mazda3 and even Volkswagen GTI. But for those who crave the Audi badge but can’t afford the A4 we strongly suggest sticking with the standard form and you’ll be fine. Resale value is too soon to call since the A3 is new to the market.
The A3 is a classy offering and is worth considering if you want a four-door sedan with premium image. However it’s just not as compelling to look at compared to the Mercedes CLA and it’s not as fun to drive as a BMW 2-series. It is the best between the two and we think it’s the top pick for those who want a classy well rounded sedan.
Likes: Both engines have strong pull. The standard kit is impressive for such a low asking price.
Dislikes: Bland exterior looks. There are so many indirect rivals that offer more for similar money.
Devon’s Choice: The A3 Premium 1.8t is where our money would go. It offers enough kit to satisfy most needs without being too expensive. Plus running costs are decent too.