The movement toward smaller in the automotive world is evident across the spectrum of selections including the luxury segments. We see subcompact this or micro that in the car world and with several entry level luxury sedans included in the mix we have quite a large menu of choices to make when it comes to smaller vehicles. The Audi A3 is the entry level luxury sedan from one of the names you know and trust more than any other giving us a fantastic small sedan to drive and choose with a full slate of luxury features to enjoy.
One of the coolest features of driving the A3 is this is a car you really want to drive. It’s sporty, dynamic, athletic and agile to give you a vehicle that you will want to take for a spin. Competing in a class that features the Mercedes-Benz CLA, Acura ILX and Buick Verano, the A3 gives you plenty of power and performance to be proud of your decision. As the only diesel engine in the class the A3 makes for a great choice with the right styling to be fantastic to drive and great to look at.
Even though you have only seen the A3 for one year, Audi has increase the number of standard features by adding a rear view camera, parking sensor, aluminum looking trim, heated mirrors and heated windshield washer nozzles to the base model of the car. The A3 comes in three versions; all giving a fantastic driving dynamics and their own use of fuel efficiency to create some of the most engaged driving on the road. When you look for the smaller luxury sedans, comfort and ride quality are as important as with the larger models and the A3 delivers on both handling any road with ease and giving you a ride that is smooth and comfortable.
The A3 comes in with four different engine setups to enjoy. All four engines are attached to the highly engaging six-speed automatic transmission and run on premium fuel as most of the luxury models will do. At the base model you find a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and 200 lb.-ft. of torque. This power train will show up with 23 city/33 hwy mpg for the sedan and 24 city/35 hwy mpg for the cabriolet giving you a fantastic base model to enjoy.
When the base model is not the right choice for you, you can move up to the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that brings you up to 220 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. With this power under the hood, the fuel numbers are nearly as good as the base model coming in at 24 city/33 hwy mpg for the sedan and 24 city/32 hwy mpg for the cabriolet. This is the last power version to offer a cabriolet model.
The S3 shows itself in only sedan form and has similar engine as a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with 292 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. This is the sport version which also offers a sport suspension to make the ride even more engaging. The fuel numbers for the S3 are excellent for the type of model it is at 23 city/31 hwy mpg.
Finally, the TDI version shows itself with a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline four-cylinder engine that gives 150 horsepower and 236 lb.-ft. of torque. This brings the best fuel mileage of the entire lineup even though the horsepower is the least. The mileage you will enjoy is 31 city/43 hwy mpg, making it very affordable to drive the TDI model.
As an Audi the expectation is comfort and style from the interior, which is what you get with the A3, but in a way that is a bit different from the larger models. The A3 gives you a simple style which is clean and sport but not overdone making a great balance in a vehicle that is the smallest on the lineup. The controls are intuitive and enjoyable to operate making easy and direct control of the car without a lot of muss and fuss about where something is or how to work the over the top control features.
The exterior of the A3 is basically an A6 that has been left in the dryer too long. This shrunken down version of the longtime favorite gives you a style and grace you enjoy from Audi without the artsy fartsy stuff other manufactures are going for just because a car is in the luxury market. It is still a car and does you no good to look like a Picasso painting as you drive down the road. You are certainly better off having a car that gives you what you need from a car, great looks and some aerodynamic features to help cut the wind and improve fuel mileage.
As mentioned, the biggest change for this year is the movement of some features from the options pile to make them standard fare. With that in mind, the standard offerings for the A3 show up with what was mentioned earlier plus leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, bi-xenon headlights, LED taillights, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming and a seven-inch audio/infotainment screen. With the sporty S3 the features include more power, the Quattro all-wheel drive, 18-inch alloy wheels a flat bottom steering wheel and the sport tuned suspension.
When you want a little more from your A3, the optional features for this car include LED headlights, heated seats, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, a navigation system with Google Earth map technology, active lane-keep assistance, blind zone warnings and dynamic cruise control. The S3 can be upgraded with a Magnetic Ride Control suspension system which brings in three driving modes, dynamic, comfort and individual to give you the driving feeling you desire from this awesome entry level luxury sedan.
So how much does all this cost you for the A3? The starting price for the 1.8T model will bring a price tag of $31,000. Moving up to the Quattro AWD and the larger engine will up the price to $35,000 with the TDI starting near $34,000. The cabriolet (convertible) model will ask for nearly $37,500 with FWD but the AWD increases that price to $40,500. Heading up to the power player in the S3 the price begins at $43,500 with the fully loaded top rung costing you just over $50,000 to check all the boxes you can. The A3 comes into its second year of existence being a great car at a reasonable price with a long list of choices so you can have the right A3 for you from your Audi dealer.