Review: Audi A3 (2008 – 2012)


Good choice of engines. Some petrol engines now chain cam. Comfortable and well built interior. cheap to run 1.6 TDI. Feels very refined especially on the motorway.

Golf with Audi cachet. Doesn't handle as well as some other premium hatchbacks. All diesels remain belt cam.

Recently Added To This Review

5 January 2019

Report of timing chain failure of 2009 Audi A3 1.8T TFSI (EA888) at 60k miles in 2017. M echanic fixed it and all sweet until xmas eve 2018 when exactly the same thing happened at around 75mph: a bump... Read more

30 November 2018

Shards of metal found in reconditioned engine of 2009 Audi A3 1.8T (EA888 engine). Probably from the timing chain tensioner breaking up. Read more

5 July 2018

Report of 2010 Audi A3 TDI going into limp mode. "Closest" garage said it needed a new EGR and that would be £600. Had the NOx emissions update a year before and is only now at 80,000 miles. VAG... Read more

Audi A3 (2008 – 2012): At A Glance

The 2008 Audi A3 is basically a VW Golf V1 with more upmarket trim that carries more status.

What does a Audi A3 (2008 – 2012) cost?

List Price from £22,725
Buy new from £17,075
Contract hire from £214.91 per month
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Real MPG average for a Audi A3 (2008 – 2012)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

20–71 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Audi A3 (2008 – 2012)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Why has the timing chain snapped on my 2011 Audi A3 after only 45,000 miles?

I have a 2011 Audi A3 1.8 TFSI, which has done less than 45,000 miles. It went into limp mode and I've just been informed by the Audi garage that the timing chain has snapped. As a result, I need to pay for a new timing belt, tensioner and cylinder plus associated parts. This will cost me £4900 and the local dealership will give me 30 per cent as a goodwill gesture. Please could you provide any clarity as to why this would happen on such a low mileage car?
The quality of the timing chains in EA211 1.2 TSI and 1.4 TSI engines was variable. The reason was that Volkswagen Group cut the price it was prepared to pay the manufacturer of the chains. So the chain manufacturer extended the working life of its link stamping tools. The result was that if you got a chain with links stamped out late in the life of the stamping tool it could be prone to early failure. Since it's completely unpredictable whether you get a good chain or a bad one these engine are a lottery. Volkswagen Group then abandoned chains and switched the engines over to belts, which happened gradually between 2012 and 2015.
Answered by Honest John
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What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star 17%
  • 4 star 33%
  • 3 star 33%
  • 2 star 17%
  • 1 star

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