Audi A3 – Prices, History, Engine, Interior & Exterior, Features

The Audi A3 is a subcompact executive hatchback produced and marketed by Audi a VW subsidiary from 1996 to the present, currently in its 4th generation.

Since its inception, the A3 has been a dominant figure in the compact premium hatchback market. The A3 is built on the VW group’s MQB platform and is designed as an Audi-badged VW Golf. The A3 is and has been a serious success, and the reasons for its successes are its upmarket build, a premium badge, and its pricing.

The A3 has used the same formula ever since it debuted unlike its rivals that offer some exciting features behind the wheel, but that’s done very little to weaken the success of Audi’s premium hatchback.

The A3 was launched as a 3-door hatchback but was later available as a 5-door, convertible and later as a sedan. Other trims include the five-door Sportback and the top of the range S3 and RS3 which available as a 5-door Sportback and sedan only. The A3 is available as a front-wheel-drive and four-wheel drive, with manual and S Tronic DSG automatic transmission. The engines range from turbocharged petrol to diesel and even a plug-in hybrid e-tron model.




Undoubtedly what makes the A3 superior is its interior. From the entry-level to the high-end models, they all possess an interior that’s typically upmarket, surpassing anything in its class and classes above it. Neat metal, gloss black detailing, tactile materials, pampering, and all the detailing make for a cohesive whole. The A3’s cabin is smart as much as it is modern and alluring. 

Recent updates have made the A3 even more appealing, with the option of a Virtual Cockpit which replaces traditional instruments cluster with a 12.3-inch digital TFT screen that displays media info and navigation, as well as the driver’s gauges. With regards to the feel-good factor, it immediately places the A3 above the rest in its class. 

The seats are fine, comfortable, supportive, and plentiful adjustable with leather upholstery as standard. The A3 has 5 seats except for the convertible, which has 4 seats. Entry and egress is easy, thanks to an impressive headroom and legroom for front-seat occupants.

Taller folks may struggle for space in the rear, but most people won’t have any problem fitting in the back of the A3 sedan/hatchback for short trips, but not for long hauls. For the case of the convertible model, the back seats are too small for an adult, only small children can fit in.
Boot space varies depending on the model. The sedan has 348-liter for the FWD models or 283-liters for the AWD and the Sportback e-tron models. The convertible’s space is 280-liters or 20-liters with the top down. If the back seats are not occupied, you can fold them down to realize extra luggage space.

Standard entertainment features of the A3 include the MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, and HD Radio.

Optional features include a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, wireless device charging, navigation, and an upgraded MMI infotainment system with touchscreen functionalities, with a handwriting recognition feature.

The MMI infotainment can be controlled using a touchpad on the top of a controller knob mounted between the front seats. The Virtual Cockpit displays much of the same information as the standard tablet-like retractable screen with an intuitive menu layout.




The exterior of the A3 has not evolved much over the years to an extent that many may struggle to tell which is which. The A3 is a premium car and has done very well maintaining those premium looks, it may be low-key, but elements like the lighting signatures and brightwork make the A3 undoubtedly an Audi. The advantage of keeping the car ultra-fine is that it always looks fresh. 

You can choose from several headlight choices, including full LED lights, Audi also offers several choices of exterior trim such as privacy glass, aluminum trims, black packs, and a panoramic roof for added personalization. S line models feature the most enchanting combination of options, to realize the best-looking A3 without having to opt for the top of the line. The A3 comes with 16, 17, or 18-inch alloy wheels depending on trim

Some of the safety features included on the Audi A3 include Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Parking Sensors, Driver Airbag, Overhead airbags, Side Impact Airbags, Passenger Airbags, Knee Airbags, Seat Belt Pretensioners, Traction Control, Brake Assist, Rear View Camera, Automatic Headlamps, Ventilated Front Brakes, Headrests, and Stability Control.

Under the hood

The Audi A3 comes fitted with TFSI petrol or TDI diesel engines. The TFSI turbocharged petrol engines are so smooth.

  • The standard turbocharged 114 HP 1.0-liter TFSI 3-cylinder engine with an average consumption of 26 km/l. This engine is not very fast it accelerates 0-100 kph in 9.7 seconds, but its turbocharger enables it to punch above weight.
  • The turbocharged 189 HP 2.0-liter TFSI 4-cylinder engine with an average consumption of 17 km/l. This engine accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 6.8 seconds with a maximum speed of 238 KPH.
  • The turbocharged 180 HP 2.0-liter TDI 4-cylinder diesel engine with average fuel consumption of 20 km/l. This engine accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 7.7 seconds with a maximum speed of 224 KPH.

These engines transfer power to the wheels via a 6-speed S-Tronic twin-clutch, a 6-speed manual, or an optional 7-speed S-Tronic automatic.



From this article, we have learned what exactly to expect from an Audi A3. The A3 is surely a good work of design and engineering that gave rise to a nice, upmarket, and befitting car. A posh interior, efficient engine, robust engineering all make up the A3. With affordable BE FORWARD used car prices that range from $1370 to $33,390 you can always get yourself one great car in Audi A3.

Originally published Feb 12, 2020, updated Jul 14, 2021




Written by: Samuel H. Mponezya

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