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Audi's A3 is a compelling entry-level luxury car, but it lacks some expected features for its price, and the interior, although well made, feels austere. It's solid and quiet, and has a drum-tight body structure. Crisp handling and a firm, controlled ride make the A3 enjoyable to drive. We tested it with the now-discontinued 1.8-liter engine, which delivered a respectable 27 mpg in our tests. The cabin is quiet, and the front seats are comfortable and supportive. The rear seat, however, is tight. It takes a bit of time to get used to the MMI infotainment system, but it ultimately proves logical. It's easy to hit $40,000 with just a few options. A sporty S3 with a 292-hp, 2.0-liter turbo; a convertible; and a hatchback plug-in hybrid are available.

Road Test

The compact Audi A3, with prices starting around $31,000, is the latest in a wave of small luxury-branded models for buyers who have one eye on their budget and the other on gas prices. Derived from the Volkswagen Golf, the A3 might lack the posh, ro...

Highs

  • Feels, drives, and looks like an Audi
  • Agile handling

Lows

  • Austere interior doesn't measure up to Audi standards
  • Tight rear seat

Best Version to Get

It's tempting to get the basic Premium model, with the 1.8-liter engine, for its relatively low price. Overall, you might be happier with the Premium Plus trim, which includes more of the features you expect in a luxury car and lets you get the Driver Assistance package, which includes bl...

Specifications

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Front
Warranty
  • Basic: 4 year/50,000 miles
  • Powertrain: 4 year/50,000 miles
  • Rust through: 12 year/unlimited
  • Roadside aid: 4 year/unlimited
Body Styles
4-door hatchback
convertible
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Sequential
Engines Available
  • 1.4-liter 4 hybrid (204 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (186 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (220 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (292 hp)

Ratings

Safety
Performance
Comfort / Convenience
View Full Test Results