Audi A3 (2012–2020)

What's good

A3 awarded five star Euro NCAP rating, scoring 95% rating for adult occupants, 87% for child occupants, 74% for pedestrians and 86% for safety assist systems.

Audi A3 voted the Best Small Hatch at the UK Car of the Year Awards 2014.

Audi A3 Voted 'World Car of the Year' 2014 by an international jury comprising 69 motoring journalists from 22 countries.

On the CHPA EA211 1.4TSI engine from 2012, the toothed timing belt does not drive the waterpump. The waterpump is driven by a separate aux belt/alternator belt which are one and the same thin

What to watch out for

1-12-2012: VAG's new, modular 1.4 litre EA211 TSI is belt cam, not chain cam.

11-1-2013: Warranty on S tronic 7 speed dry clutch DQ200 gearbox extended to 5 years or 150,000 kilometres in Russia and China.

14-5-2015: Report of A3 1.4TSI 140 ACT running at above normal idle revs after returning from a service.

9-6-2015: Low spec A3 now coming with twist beam rather than fully independent rear suspension, like a low spec Golf, Leon or Octavia.

1-5-2016: Report of fully Audi serviced September 2012 Audi A3 1.8 TFSI auto coming to a sudden stop at 38,000 miles. Towed to dealer who replaced the wiring loom. No further explanation.

16-5-2016: Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres on 2015 Audi A3 found to have cracks between the treads at 7000 miles.

4-9-2016: Complaint of extremely notchy and particularly difficult 6-speed manual gearbox in November 2013 Audi A3 1.4 TSI Sportback. Sometimes impossible to engage reverse. May be connected to transmission problems in 2011 - 2015 Passat.

27-10-2016: Report of underbonnet fire breaking out in September 2013 Audi A4 1.4TSI 140 ACT. Appears that turbo bearing oil seal or oil feed and return pipes broke, spilling oil onto the hot exhaust. When bonnet was opened the heat shield was on fire.

13-12-2016: Report of tyres of November 2014 Audi A3 perishing at the wheel rims despite just 8,000 miles use and 7.5mm of tread depth left. Audi dealer and Audi refused any liability citing 'wear and tear'. Owner advised to take the matter to Small Claims.

22-1-2017: report of stop/start system failing on Audi A3. Local Audi dealer unable to fix it. Audi UK put customer onto another dealer who fixed it by a software update.

6-3-2017: " I own a 13 plate Audi A3 1.8 TFSI Sportback with the 7 speed S tronic gearbox which I purchased last year and currently has 20,000 miles on the clock. It has 5 months Audi warranty remaining. I sometimes experience a “rumbling” or “vibration" when pulling away, particularly on an incline and am wondering if this is an early sign of problems ahead. This appears to be an intermittent issue which may not be experienced by the mechanics testing it."

25-6-2017: Report of Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Sport manual, leased new in December 2016, suffering loss of drive. First time at 1,613 miles pulling away from traffic lights when changing from 1st to 2nd, engine "screamed" up to 5,000rpm, emitted a cloud of smoke and an acrid smell suggesting a clutch problem. Afterwards car drove normally until at 3,500 miles, ascending a long incline, on changing from 6th to 5th, the same loss of drive occurred with the engine revving to 5,000rpm. Car recovered to Audi dealer and courtesy car supplied. Lessee now wants to reject the car.

18-8-2017: Report of MMI unit of 2014 Audi A3 failing just out of warranty and Audi dealer quoting £1,900 to replace it.

9-9-2017: Report of hazard lights not working on new Audi A3 delivered 1-9-2017. Delay in obtaining a new switch. Owner given a loan car in the meantime.

13-9-2017: Report of excessive oil consumption from 2014 Audi A3 1.4TFSI 140 ACT. Between April and August 2017 it had used the oil from the top mark of the Dipstick to the bottom mark over about 2,500 miles. It has been to the local Audi garage for part 1 of the oil consumption test and currently owner is nearing the 620 miles. He have been asked to drive before it goes back for part 2 of the test.

29-3-2018: Report of premature failure of clutch of 2016 Audi A3 1.4TSI. Audi dealer initially quoted £2,200, later reduced to £1,100.

18-4-2018: Another report of a clutch failure on a leased 2017 Audi A3. This one at 6 months old.

30-4-2018: Faulty lambda probe reported in March 2018 Audi A3 1.5TSI 150 EVO after just 3 weeks driving. Emissions system warning light appeared on the dashboard. Manual urgeds an immediate check as it could cause damage to the catalytic converter. Owner contacted supplying dealer who suggested an AA check. AA diagnostics pointesd to lambda sensor. Dealer said no replacement lambda sensors for 1.5TSIs available and took car in for further checks. They thought fault code was caused by oil cap not being screwed on properly. They told owner that when they adjusted the oil cap the dashboard warning light went out. So owner duly picked up my car and for a couple of weeks all was fine. However same emissions system warning light reappeared on the dashboard a couple of days ago and the car has been returned once more to the supplying dealer. (Another reader alerted problems with the 1.5TSI EVO in a SEAT Ibiza and in a VW Golf.)

22-7-2018: Report of clutch pack failure on 2016 Audi A3 1.4TFSI S tronic at 15,000 miles.

30-7-2018: Report of noises from DQ200 7-speed dry clutch S tronic transmission of 2015 Audi A3 1.4TSI at 20,000 miles. Local Audi dealer had a look, talked to Audi and Audi agreed that they would replace the faulty parts (thought to be the clutch pack). The parts were ordered, car booked in, old parts removed, but the new part had ‘sprung’ in transit so could not be used. This was a month ago. Dealer supplied owner with a TT to use in the meantime. She rang Audi complaints who got on the job promptly. They checked the part supply to discover that there are around 25 in the country, all allocated to vehicles already, and she was told there will be no more until 2022. (It is thought that the DQ200 was improved in 2016, so parts for the pre-improved DQ200 could have run out.)

21-8-2018: Complaint that small leak from a "water valve" of an (unspecified) 2013 Audi A3 (bought used outside the Audi network) affected the wiring loom preventing the car from starting. Audi dealer quoted £3,206 to replace the wiring loom because the engine had to come out to gain access.

24-8-2018: Report that volume control of MMI system in 2014 Audi A3 intermittently fails. Audi dealer suggested diagnosis and if not an easy fix, possible replacement at £2,000.

30-8-2018: Report of 3 year old leased 2015 Audi A3 spontaneously combusting on driver's driveway, destroying personal contents such as child seat and buggy. See 27-10-2016.

7-9-2018: Report of Audi A3 1.5TSI Evo "jumping in first gear when you set off". Same problem as reported with this engine in SEAT Ibizas, SEAT Aronas, VW Golfs and VW T-Rocs. Might be the same Low Speed Pre-Ignition Detonation (LSPI) probem that Vauxhall Corsa 1.0T 3-cylinder engines have been suffering from.

12-9-2018: Report of "whirring or ringing noise from the engine compartment" of a 2015 Audi A3 S line 1.4TFSI now at 16,000 miles. Started occurring at 50-56 miles an hour in 6 th gear, after about 14 months and 6,000 miles. Investigated by dealer at the first service at 24 months and diagnosed as normal engine noise on acceleration (described as ‘boost noise’). It has got progressively worse and can now be heard in all gears. It was investigated again in August 2018 at 35 months and diagnosed as a TPI (technical product information), the resolution of which was to replace the active charcoal filter pipe. The problem is not resolved and is getting worse. The dealer is still investigating but that as he has not discovered any further fault the likely outcome will be that the noise is normal for an A3.

13-9-2018: Report of electrical control panel of 2014/64 Audi A3 1.4TSI failing at 26,000 miles. Dealer quoted £680 to replace it.

2-11-2018: Report of failure of DQ200 7-speed dry clutch S tronic DSG on 2013 Audi A3 1.6TDI at 62,500 miles.

25-11-2018: Report of failure of DQ200 7-speed dry clutch S tronic in 2013 Audi A3 1.8TFSI Sportback in 2017 at 18,000 miles, which Audi repaired with a 2 Year warranty which expires in July 2019. Owner worried it might happen again.

24-1-2019: Report of failure of DQ200 7-speed dry clutch S tronic in 2013 Audi A4 1.4TSI at 57,000 miles. The engine started OK but when put into gear it would not engage and the car would not move. During the last 12 months owner has already spent £1,200 on repairs.

24-2-2019: Report of driver's seat fabric of 2014 Audi A3 starting to disintegrate at 53,000 miles. Driver not overweight, doesn't carry tools in his back pockets.

7-3-2019: 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.

22-3-2019: Report of failure of DQ200 7-speed dry clutch S tronic in 2013 Audi 1.4TSI. Audi dealer quoted £7,000 to replace it. (Car bought 'used-approved' from an Audi dealer in 2017.)

15-07-2019: Ongoing issues with the 1.5 TFSI engine with no resolution from Audi.

22-7-2019: Report of HANKOOK Ventus S1evo2 225/40R18 92Y tyres on 2017 Audi A3 worn down to 2.6mm after 13,500 miles despite "fairly gentle driving style". A penalty of wide, low profile tyres.

10-8-2019: Report of MMI system of 2014 Audi A3 Sportback going "bonkers". Dealer says it needs a completely new module costing £2,500.

19-8-2019: Auto dipping headlights do not dip at speeds below 37mph (50kmh).

24-8-2019: Regarding problems with 1.5TSI engines, owner of Tiguan 1.5TSI wrote, "if you turn off the auto hold and the stop start you will not get the kangarooing or the car switching on and off if you coast the last few yards to a stop with the clutch depressed."

11-9-2019: Report of problems with DQ200 7-speed dry clutch S tronic of 2014 Audi A3 1.4TSI 125PS. During first year owner noticed a squeak coming from the engine/transmission. At the 17,000 mile service he told the Audi dealer that it frequently occurred when pulling away in first gear. His conclusion in December 2016 was that car would need a new transmission. Instead they changed the clutch pack. Cured problem for 6 months, then squeak started again. In November 2017 Audi dealer carried out a software update “basics settings and adaption drive on gear box.” Problem solved for a short time. Then on November 2018 dealer carries out another software update. No improvement was found and the car continues to make the noise intermittently.

27-9-2019: Report of Emission light on recently bought 2014/64 Audi A3 Sport 1.6TDI (which should be an EA288, not an EA189 that was subject to the NOx emissions fix). Had a carbon clean of engine where the light went off for a day or two but came back on. The man who did this clean told owner that the reading for the DPF was low at 0.04, which is nothing. He told owner that it could be the sensors. Spoke to Audi who charged me £60 for initial diagnoses. Audi then asked if the car had an EGR recall, which the dealer should have been able to establish from central records.

8-10-2019: Report of failure of MMI system in 2015 Audi A3. Audi dealer diagnosed electronic problem and quoted £2,888.17 to fix it.

14-10-2019: Report of two clutch failure in rapid succession in 2014 Audi A3 sport 1.4 TFSI first registered in 1/8/2014, bought used from an Audi dealer in October 2017 at 11,866 miles. The first clutch (+DMF?) failed in June 2019 at 22,301 miles, replaced at a cost of £1,804.57 by a different Audi dealer. Then, in September 2019 at 23,146 miles the clutch failed again and was replaced agan by dealer 2 at a cost of £1,157.48, blaming wear.

28-10-2019: Report of 2016 Audi A3 failing first MoT at 17,800 mines (while still under 3 year warranty) due to " Nearside Front Wheel bearing rough when rotated". Owner charged £350 for the repair and when she enquired if the fault would be covered by the warranty she was told "No, these things happen". It's possible that the bearing could have been damaged by a kerb or a pothole.

6-11-2019: Report of wiring loom fire in 2013 Audi A3. Owner seeking further reports of this.

20-11-2019: Report of failed DQ200 7-speed dry clutch s-tronic in 2012 Audi A3 1.4TFSI.

25-11-2019: Report of DAB radio reception failing in a 2014 Audi A3 Sportback.

28-11-2019: Report of problems with "coasting stop/start" function in Audi A3 1.0TSI Sportback that led to a new clutch and dual mass flywheel needing to be fitted at a cost to the owner of more than £20,000.

3-12-2019: Report of turbo failing on 62 reg Audi A3 2.0TDI 140 Sportback, replaced under dealer warraty in 2018. Now new turbo has failed at 52k miles, probably because the turbo bearing oil feed and oil return pipes were not replaced and became blocked with carbon, restricting the oil flow to the turbo bearing.

29-12-2019: Report of failure without warning of 7-speed dry clutch DQ200 S Tronic transmission of 2013 Audi A3 FSI Sport 1.4 S at 34,125 mles in August 2019. Mechatronics were replaced with basic settings and adaptive driver re-coded at a cost of £2,400. Still had a hesitant, jerky pick up from a standing start on hill starts. Eventually car returned it to the Audi dealer whose engineer test drove it and immediately said it was the clutch pack. About 700 miles had been completed since the Mechatronics were replaced. Owner told the clutch pack needed replacing and shimming at a cost of around £1,700.

10-2-2020: Report of stains to headlining of 2015 Audi A3 later ascertained to be due to cracking of frame of sunroof, not due to blocked drains from the sunroof.

Recalls

4-11-2015: EA288 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI engines recalled in USA because the rear camshaft lobe is prone to unexpectedly shear off from the shaft. The failure causes reduced engine power and loss of vacuum pump power, cutting vacuum supply to the brake booster and eventually resulting in increased braking effort."A reduction in engine power and/or increased need for braking effort after vacuum reserve has been depleted while driving can increase the risk of a crash," a statement cautions. The campaign affects approximately 92,000 vehicles including the 2015-2016 Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Golf, Golf GTI, Golf SportWagen, Jetta and Passat. In notifying the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, VAG stated that the root cause of the camshaft failures has not been fully understood. The company is still continuing an in-depth failure analysis and development of a repair solution, however a fix may not be ready until the end of the first quarter next year.

What is your car like to live with?

We need your help with our latest Satisfaction Index, so that we can help others make a smarter car buying decision. What's it like to live with your car? Love it? Loath it? We want to know. Let us know about your car - it will only take a few minutes and you could be helping thousands of others.

Help us with the Honest John Satisfaction Index now