Audi A3 (2008–2012)

Model History

June 2008

The A3 was given a significant facelift and new engines from Summer 2008 with a new trim line-up for the UK, a seven-speed S tronic transmission, Audi magnetic ride and more efficient engines. The S3 is now also available as a 5-door Sportback.

Visual changes include a new bonnet and bumper, more sculpted front wings, and a large single-frame radiator grille. There are new headlamps which incorporate a curved trim element while on S line models, xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights are optional. Other changes include new exterior mirrors with integral indicators, a new alloy wheel range, a modified rear bumper plus new tail lights. The overall length has grown to 4,240mm.

Fitted as standard to the SE, Sport and S line the driver information system displays time, date and distance in clear, high-resolution white font. There's a three-spoke leather steering wheel on Sport models and the S line has new aluminium trim, with a flat-bottomed design optional on S line. There are split folding rear seats, as standard which offer versatile space for the A3's luggage bay at 350 to 1080 litres and a sturdy, reversible loadliner for FWD cars.

7 engines 4 petrol and 3 diesel.

1.6 unit develops 102bhp
1.4 TFSI with 125bhp
1.8 TFSI with 160bhp
2.0 TFSI with 200bhp
1.9 TDI with 105bhp
2.0 TDI with 140bhp
2.0 TDI with 170bhp

Almost all engine versions are supplied as standard with six-speed manual (1.6 and 1.9 TDI get five-speed manual). The dual-clutch S tronic transmission changes gears with exceptional speed and smoothness. The driver can set it to operate in a fully automatic mode or change gear manually either at the selector lever or with the standard shift paddles on the leather sport steering wheel.

S tronic on the 2.0 TFSI and both 2.0 TDI diesel versions has six speeds, whereas 1.6, 1.4 TFSI and the 1.8 TFSI petrol engines feature a seven-speed S tronic. Both its clutches are dry-running. This means that they do not need a separate oil supply, further adding to their already impressive efficiency. The seven gears are closely spaced for a rapid response, though the top ratio is sufficiently high-geared to reduce engine speed, cutting fuel consumption as a result.

Audi magnetic ride adaptive-action shock absorber control system overcomes the conflict between sound handling behaviour and ride comfort. Driver can choose between "Normal" and "Sport". A magneto-rheological fluid circulating in the shock absorbers changes its flow properties within milliseconds when a voltage is applied; this affects the damping characteristic, which can be varied from comfortably supple to crisply firm. Magnetic ride is available as an option on the 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI petrol engines as well as both versions of the 2.0 TDI diesel models.

September 2008

S tronic seven-speed twin-clutch transmission available to order at an extra cost of £1,450 from 1-10-2008 for S3 and S3 Sportback models. S3 3-door including optional S tronic £28,920 OTR, S3 Sportback including optional S tronic £29,420 OTR. 265PS @ 6,000rpm, 350Nm from 2,500 5,000rpm, 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds (three-door), top speed limited to 155mph, combined mpg 33.2, CO2 198g/km. Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping available at extra cost. New faster-reacting quattro four-wheel-drive system.

December 2008

New Black Edition special edition versions of A3, A3 Sportback and A3 Cabriolet now available to order priced from £22,215 OTR to £27,395 OTR first deliveries in February 2009. Enhanced Black Edition specification is based on top S line trim and available in conjunction with 1.8 TFSI (160bhp), 2.0 TFSI (200bhp), 2.0 TDI (140bhp) and 2.0 TDI (170bhp) engines. The de-chromed exterior is available in five colour schemes Brilliant Black or Ibis White are no cost. Privacy glass (for hatchback versions), dark titanium alloy wheels, xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights and acoustic parking (for Cabriolet models) are among the extras added.

July 2009

New 1.6-litre TDI engine for A3, A3 Sportback and A3 Cabriolet ranges replaces 1.9-litre TDI engine in A3 TDIe. Features high pressure common rail injection and offers up to 68.9mpg with the help of start-stop and energy recuperation systems, linked to five-speed manual transmission only. A3 1.6 TDI 0-62mph in 11.4 seconds, top speed 121mph, 68.9mpg combined, 109g/km CO2 output .

August 2009

Announced for launch at Frankfurt Show mid September: Audi A3 and A3 Sportback 1.2 TFSI. Designed from scratch, the new 1.2 four-cylinder TFSI generates 105bhp and as is typical of Audi, turbocharging and direct petrol injection once again work in harmony to maximise efficiency. Thanks to an aluminium crankcase, this engine weighs just 89.5 kilograms; this remarkably low weight also boosts its efficiency.

The 1.2 TFSI has been optimized to minimize friction. Single camshaft operating eight valves. A common-rail system injects the fuel. An electric control valve operates the turbocharger's wastegate valve; boost pressure builds up spontaneously and scavenging losses drop. 175 Nm of torque is available between just 1500 and 3500rpm, propeling the three-door A3 1.2 TFSI from 0 to 62mph in 11.1 seconds while the Sportback takes 11.3 seconds. Both versions reach a top speed of 118mph and can return up to 51.3mpg (combined cycle), while emitting just 127 grams of CO2 per kilometre. The new engine will initially be paired with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.

October 2009

Automatic versions of the latest economy focused Audi A3 models are the first in the premium sector to benefit from the latest engine start-stop technology, which has already helped to cut emissions in manual transmission TDI versions to a sector-leading 109g/km. The new highly efficient 1.4 TFSI petrol and 1.6 TDI versions of the A3 equipped with the acclaimed S tronic twin-clutch automatic transmission will spearhead the new technology, which also goes hand-in-hand with a recuperation system to harness braking energy.

Fuel saving start-stop function which was previously reserved for four-cylinder manual gearbox models becomes available in conjunction with S tronic automatic transmission (£1,420 in A3 models). Recuperation system to harness kinetic energy generated during braking also boosts economy. A3 1.4 TFSI S tronic with start-stop 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds, top speed 126mph, combined mpg 53.3, CO2 124g/km. A3 1.6 TDI S tronic with start-stop 0-62mph in 11.7 seconds, top speed 121mph, combined mpg 67.3, CO2 109g/km

November 2009

A3 2.0 TDI gains start-stop and recuperating alternator of 1.4 TFSI and 1.6 TDI models. A3 2.0 TDI with start-stop - 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds, top speed 130mph, combined mpg 64.2 (previously 55.4mpg), CO2 115g/km (previously 134g/km). 1.6 TDIs have outputs of as little as 109g/km.

December 2009

New 99g/km CO2 version of the Audi A3 1.6 TDI available to order from last week of December 2009, boosting combined economy to up to 74.3mpg. Available in one specific A3 configuration of three-door body style equipped to standard specification. All other variations of the 1.6 TDI continue to offer class-leading combination of 68.9mpg potential and 109g/km CO2 output.

A3 eco special has modified final drive ratio for the standard five-speed manual transmission, reduced ride height, under-body revisions to reduce aerodynamic drag and the use of slightly smaller 15-inch alloy wheels shod with low rolling resistance tyres. These are combined with existing A3 1.6 TDI features including engine start-stop and energy recuperation systems.

The start-stop system conserves fuel by cutting engine power at idle when the clutch pedal is released and the gear lever is in its neutral position, and then restarting when the clutch is depressed, while the recuperation function recycles a proportion of the wasted kinetic energy generated under normal braking and normally dissipated as heat, and stores this temporarily in the battery to reduce engine load when the car subsequently accelerates again. Same 105bhp power output and 250Nm torque peak as all other versions, and consequently can match them on performance, clearing 62mph from rest in 11.4 seconds and offering the option to continue to 121mph where conditions allow.

October 2015

Haynes manual published for Audi A3 diesel April 2008 - September 2012. Available in both printed and online formats from The printed manual is priced at £22.99. The book number is 5912, ISBN: 9780857339126. Haynes Car Manuals are also available to download from the website. Haynes Car Manuals Online cost just £20.00 per manual for a year or £25.00 for a lifetime subscription.

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

List Price from £30,564
Buy new from £28,801
Contract hire from £219.18 per month