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Audi A3 (2012–)

Last updated 7 March 2019

Comfortable and high quality premium hatchback. Low emissions diesel engines including economical 1.6 TDI. Very refined at speed yet handles well in corners.
Top models are close to £30k new.
Updated 7 March 2019

Report of failure of DAB tuner in 2015 Audi A3. Audi dealer said fault was with the head unit and wanted £2,900 to replace it. We advised owner to take it to an independent car infotainment specialist....

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The A3 has been one of Audi's most successful models but this replacement for the 2003 version has been a long time coming. With the popularity of the BMW 1 Series there are big expectations for the A3 which faces more competition than ever before. The good news is that it doesn't disappoint.

The styling is familiar. Audi hasn't been especially daring with the design but it echoes other Audi models and is a neat and unfussy design. But elsewhere this A3 is very different from the the model it replaces.

It's similar in length but a longer wheelbase means better interior space and a larger boot. The interior design is impressive too. This is no scaled up version of the A1, instead the A3 gets its own unique interior with some nice design touches and a real touch of finesse.

The engine line up majors on efficiency - for both petrols and diesels. There's a 1.4 TFSI which was later joined by an impressive 1.0 TFSI - an engine also used in the A1. It may seem too small for the A3 but it's surprisingly good, especially if you're spending most of your time away from motorways.

The 2.0 TDI will no doubt be popular among long distance drivers and it makes the A3 a great long distance car thanks to plenty of low down torque. It's also available with quattro four-wheel drive for added traction and more security in slippery conditions.

For outright economy the 1.6 TDI is the best model and according to the official figures will return more than 70mpg. That means that in the real world you should still be able to achieve more than 50mpg.

The real proof of how good this A3 is comes from driving it. It feels better in every way from the steering, to the front end grip to refinement at high speeds. It's a great all round car and it's often easy to think you are driving a larger car such is it's poise and composure. With high levels of standard equipment and a high quality finish the A3 leads the way when it comes to premium hatchbacks.

Audi A3 2012 Road Test

Audi A3 2012 2.0 TDI Long-Term Test Reports

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