Audi A3 (2012–2020)

Model History

March 2012

All-new A3 debuts

The third generation of the three-door model is the first to break cover in Switzerland, open for UK order in spring 2012 priced from approximately £19,000 ahead of first deliveries in September 2012.

4,237mm long by 1,777mm wide by 1,421mm high with a longer 2,601mm wheelbase.

Wheel and tyre sizes are:

16-inch wheels with 205/55 R16 (ideal);

17-inch wheels with 205/50 R17s or 225/45 R17s (better on the 205/50s)

18-inch wheels with 225/40 R18s (Not good for pock marked London roads)

CO2 emissions of as little as 99g/km in the new A3 have been made possible with the help of ‘Audi ultra’ lightweight technology, which has enabled it to tip the scales an impressive 80 kg lighter than its predecessor. The aluminium front wings and bonnet help in this regard, and contribute to a class-beating kerb weight of just 1,175kg for the 1.4 TFSI model. In dimensions, the new A3 is virtually identical to its predecessor:

Single-frame Audi radiator grille dominates the look of the front end, and in higher specification models it is flanked by xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps. These will also be optional for other models, and wherever they are fitted the tail lights will also be equipped with LEDs. Eventually, full LED headlights will also be available, and will be a first in the compact car segment.

Completely redesigned interior. Minimalist ‘floating’ dashboard with round air vents, climate control panel and redesigned instrument cluster is a highlight, as are optional 3D colour display for the Driver’s Information System, the ultra-thin electrically retractable MMI monitor and an electromechanical parking brake which liberates space in the centre console for the optional MMI operating system terminal. In its most sophisticated form – MMI navigation plus with MMI touch – the upper side of the rotary pushbutton in the terminal is designed as a touchpad – another ergonomic innovation. Drivers can input letters and numbers by finger motion as they can in larger Audi models.

Driver assistance systems range from radar-assisted adaptive cruise control to Audi side assist, Audi active lane assist, traffic sign detection, park assist and the Audi pre sense basic safety system.

Infotainment area features new optional A3-specific Bang & Olufsen audio system, MMI navigation plus and mobile phone preparation with online services, which brings new ‘real time’ online traffic information and, through a WLAN hotspot, gives passengers access to the Internet while travelling.

New Audi A3 launched with three four-cylinder engines, all of which are essentially new developments. The 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre TFSI engines and the 2.0-litre TDI have outputs of 122PS, 180PS and 143PS respectively. Compared with the previous A3, they offer fuel economy improvements averaging 12 per cent.

The 1.8-litre TFSI is linked as standard to a seven-speed S-tronic twin-dry-clutch transmission; the 1.4-litre TFSI and 2.0-litre TDI are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. All engines in this first phase drive the front wheels; quattro permanent all-wheel drive – and further engines, including a 1.4-litre TFSI with innovative cylinder on demand technology – will follow later in 2012.

The completely new A3 chassis has been designed with an optimum balance between comfort, composure and driver appeal in mind. It works with a finely-tuned power steering system with a highly efficient electromechanical drive and an Electronic Stability Program integrating an electronic limited slip differential which makes handling even more fluid and safe at performance limits.

Optional Audi drive select system lets the driver vary the operating characteristics of key components, namely the steering weighting, the throttle response and the transmission shift points (where S tronic is fitted). It can also be upgraded to incorporate control of the optional Audi magnetic ride system with its magnetorheological fluid-filled dampers.

May 2012

At September 2012 launch new 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine is the entry-level power unit. There will also be new 1.8 TFSI and 2.0-litre TDI turbodiesel units. CO2 emissions are down to 120g/km for the petrol engines and 99g/km for the diesel. In time, 1.2-litre petrol, 1.6-litre diesel, high-performance 'S' and electric models will be added.

June 2012

Specification grades announced

The entry level SE model features 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 tyres, air conditioning, the acclaimed MMI radio with its 11 millimetre-thin electrically folding screen, preparation for SD card navigation, Audi Music Interface iPod connection, a Driver Information System, the Bluetooth mobile phone interface and a multi-function steering wheel. It also offers voice control for many of its telephone and audio system functions.

Sport models upgrade to 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres and, for the first time at this level, feature the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system. This enables the driver to choose from five modes which dictate the car's driving characteristics - Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency and Individual. They influence the weighting of the steering, the sensitivity of the throttle pedal, the shift points of the S tronic transmission if this is fitted and the parameters used by the optional adaptive cruise control system. Additional Sport features also include two-zone climate control, sports seats, sports steering wheel and aluminium detailing inside and out.

Highlights of the top S line specification include 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/40 R18 tyres, S line body styling, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lamps, an S line sports steering wheel and part-leather-upholstered sports seats embossed with the S line logo.

Suspension options across the three specification levels are more interchangeable in the latest A3. As standard, SE models feature more comfort-oriented standard suspension, while Sport and S line versions move to a firmer sport setting which in S line models can be taken to an even more overtly handling-focused level with the no-cost option of dedicated S line sports suspension. A3 Sport and S line customers can now, however, also take the opposite approach by combining the attractions of Sport and S line specification with the optimum comfort of standard suspension.

Launch list prices


1.4 TFSI - £19,205

1.6 TDI - £20,155

2.0 TDI - £21,505


1.4 TFSI - £20,430

1.8 TFSI - £24,410

1.6 TDI - £21,380

2.0 TDI - £22,730

S line

1.4 TFSI - £22,580

1.8 TFSI - £26,560

1.6TDI - £23,530

2.0 TDI - £24,880

1.4 TFSI, 1.8 TFSI, 1.6 TDI on sale from September 2012; 1.6vTDI on sale from November 2012.

February 2013

1.2 TFSI upgraded

Reworked belt cam 1.2 TFSI engine with 105PS and 57.6 mpg capability announced, priced £17,905 to £22,760 OTR. 0-62mph 10.0 seconds. 175Nm torque.

Thanks to ample 105PS and 175 Nm outputs, economy isn't the only string to their bow - the six-speed manual version reaches 62 mph from rest 0.7 seconds quicker than its predecessor at 10.3 seconds without compromising efficiency - CO2 output is now 13 g/km less than before at 114 g/km.

Customers can choose the A3 1.2 TFSI in SE, Sport and S line specification. Standard equipment common to all includes alloy wheels, air conditioning or climate control, the Audi Music Interface (AMI) linked to an electrically retracting colour MMI display screen, Bluetooth connectivity, a Driver's Information System and preparation for SD card-based satellite navigation. Sport models include larger alloy wheels, front sports seats, sports suspension, the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system, additional aluminium interior elements and chrome body detailing.

The highest specification S line models benefit from 18-inch partly polished alloy wheels, Xenon Plus headlights with LED-daytime running lights, Biathlon cloth and leather upholstery with S line embossing and contrasting silver stitching, matt brushed aluminium inlays and a flat-bottomed S line steering wheel.

Prices start from £17,905 OTR for the A3 1.2 TFSI with six-speed manual transmission in SE specification and rise to £22,760 OTR for the range-topping S line model with optional S tronic twin-clutch transmission. Ordering is possible now for three-door versions, and will become available for five-door Sportback versions in the summer. First deliveries of three-door from May 2013.

August 2013

A3 and A3 Sportback now offered with same 184PS 2.0 TDI as Leon and Golf. OTR prices from £24,375 to £30,055. Available in front-wheel-drive and quattro all-wheel-drive formats, and exclusively in conjunction with Sport or S line specification. First deliveries in September 2013. A3 2.0 TDI 184PS six-speed manual: 0-62mph in 7.3 secs, top speed 145mph, combined MPG 68.9, CO2 108g/km. LED headlights and black styling package now available at extra cost.

May 2015

Audi A3 2016 model year improvements announced

A3 three-door and Sportback 1.6 TDI 110PS down to 89G/Km CO2 and named "Ultra'. A3 1.6 TDI ultra priced from £20,865 OTR, A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI ultra from £21,485 OTR. A3 1.6 TDI ultra six-speed manual – 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds, top speed 124mph, combined MPG 83.1, CO 2 89g/km

quattro all-wheel-drive becomes available with 1.6 TDI 110PS engines in Saloon and Sportback. A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI 110PS quattro priced from £22,915 OTR

2.0 TDI 150PS engine can now be combined with quattro drive in all body styles. A3 2.0 TDI quattro 150PS priced from £25,045 OTR. In three-door form the new A3 2.0 TDI quattro with 150PS and six-speed manual transmission can accelerate to 62mph in 8.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 133mph. Combined economy is 58.9mpg with the 17-inch wheel that forms part of the Sport specification, or 57.6mpg with the range-topping 18-inch S line wheel, resulting in CO 2 outputs of 125g/km and 127g/km respectively.

A3 1.6 TDI ultra SE (6-speed man, 110PS) £20,865

A3 1.6 TDI ultra SE Technik (6-speed man, 110PS) £21,615

A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI ultra SE (6-speed man, 110PS) £21,485

A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI ultra SE Technik (6-speed man, 110PS) £22,235

A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI quattro SE (6-speed man, 110PS) £22,915

A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI quattro Sport (6-speed man, 110PS) £24,315

A3 Saloon 1.6 TDI quattro Sport (6-speed man, 110PS) £24,865

A3 2.0 TDI quattro Sport (6-speed man, 150PS) £25,045

A3 2.0 TDI quattro 150PS S line (6-speed man, 150PS) £27,195

A3 Saloon 2.0 TDI quattro Sport (6-speed man, 150PS) £26,215

A3 Saloon 2.0 TDI quattro S line (6-speed man, 150PS) £28,365

A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI quattro Sport (6-speed man, 150PS) £25,665

A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI quattro S line (6-speed man, 150PS) £27,815

A3 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI quattro Sport (6-speed man, 150PS) £30,405

A3 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI quattro S line (6-speed man, 150PS) £32,685

November 2016

A3 Black Edition launched

Black Edition specification is offered as a step up from the top S line trim. It brings special 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels with a matt titanium finish and darkened privacy glass extending from the B pillar rearwards, plus of course a distinctive black finish for the Single Frame grille surround, air inlets, window cappings and door mirrors. Inside, the ambiance is also enriched by a 10-speaker Audi Sound System with 180 watts of music power.

May 2017

Production ended of Audi A3 with the 1.4 TSI engine and the cars are being switched to the new 1.5 TSI Evo engines with 130PS or 150PS.

What does a Audi A3 (2012 – 2020) cost?

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