Popular premium hatchback
For: Interior quality, efficient engines, strong image
Against: Expensive, small boot, not brilliant to drive
Verdict: Popular premium hatchback that’s showing its age
The Audi A3 is one of Europe’s most popular premium cars. It’s available in no fewer than nine different configurations, from the Sportback five-door hatchback to the blistering RS3 performance car. The latest version dates back to 2012, although a 2017 facelift ensures the A3 remains current in a fiercely competitive segment. It’s not cheap – prices start from £25,000 – but buyers are happy to pay extra for the gilt-edge image associated with the Audi badge, not to mention the strong resale values. Key to its desirability is one of the finest cabins in its class, with a level of fit and finish that wouldn’t look out of place in a car costing twice the price. All models get a seven-inch colour infotainment system, while the excellent ‘Virtual Cockpit’ is available as an option.
The S line is a popular trim level in the UK, with buyers appreciating the 18-inch alloy wheels, sports seats, sport suspension, LED headlights and image-friendly S line badges. Along with the five-door hatchback, the A3 is available as a four-door saloon and convertible, with sporty S3 versions available for all three body styles. The RS3 heads the A3 family tree, with power sourced from a blistering 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine. Less well-endowed models are powered by efficient petrol and diesel motors, available with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic transmissions.
After seven years on the market, the A3 is beginning to show its age, but with so many options, there’s a flavour to suit all tastes. Meanwhile, a classy interior and the availability of Quattro all-wheel-drive keeps the A3 ahead of the also-rans in the segment.
Due for replacement: 2020
Euro NCAP score: 5 stars
Warranty: 3 years / 60,000 miles
Available bodystyles: Hatchback, Saloon, Cabriolet
Alternatives: BMW 1 Series, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Volkswagen Golf
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