Review: Audi A3 Saloon (2013)


Looks and feels like a larger Audi model. Good choice of powerful and efficient engines. Rides and handles well

Boot is less practical than standard A3. Rear headroom and visibility isn't as good as the hatchback

Audi A3 Saloon (2013): At A Glance

The Audi A3 saloon of 2013 followed the MQB based Audi A3 hatchback and Sportback of 2012.

Thanks to big demand in places like China and the US, saloon cars were making a comeback. Specifically there’s big demand for smaller saloons, hence vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi’s booted A3 Saloon. It does not sell as well in the UK as overseas, but there’s plenty of appeal for those interested in a larger Audi like the A4 but with smaller budgets or driveways.

At a glance it might well look like the A3 hatchback but Audi has actually changed all of the exterior body panels – the headlights and tail lights are slimmer and the roofline flows neatly into the boot lid. It looks in proportion when so many booted hatchback models don’t - indeed it simply looks like an Audi saloon rather than a butchered hatchback.

It feels like a bigger Audi car too. The cabin is impeccably finished with the very best quality plastics, whether the soft touch covering on the dashboard or the harder wearing, tougher materials lower down. It’s also neatly and sensibly laid out, with easy to understand controls for everything from sat nav to cruise control or temperature. Audi really does put together a good cabin.

Originally there were just three engines – two petrol and one diesel. All are plenty powerful enough for overtaking and give excellent refinement. Those not convinced by the 2.0 TDI diesel should certainly give the 1.4 TFSI petrol engine a try though. It’s efficient, refined and offers good performance for what is a small engine. 

For outright economy the 1.6 TDI is the best choice as it will return more than 70mpg - according to the official figures at least. In real world driving you're more likely to see around 50mpg but that's still not at all bad.

On the road the A3 Saloon is very easy to drive and incredibly comfortable. Think of it as a more compact A4 and you're not far wrong. It rides well and in the right colour and trim, is a handsome car. As a motorway car, go for a 2.0 TDI 150PS and you'll never feel short changed.

All A3 Saloon models get alloy wheels, a folding screen that rises from the dashboard, dual zone climate control, iPod connectivity Bluetooth and a multi-function steering wheel. As you’d expect there are plenty of optional extras too, like all-LED headlights. Upgrading to S Line gets you sportier bodywork and a sportier cabin complete with different seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

What does a Audi A3 Saloon (2013) cost?

List Price from £22,730
Buy new from £19,898
Contract hire from £219.18 per month

Audi A3 Saloon (2013): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4237–4458 mm
Width 1960 mm
Height 1416–1421 mm
Wheelbase 2601–2637 mm

Full specifications

The cabin shares a lot with the A3 Sportback and three-door and that’s good news. Everything feels precisely constructed and material quality is very high indeed, rivalling executive cars. All of the controls are pleasing to operate from the steering and gear change to the switches and rotary dials for the air con and main screen, which rises up out of the dashboard – a party trick missing from rivals like the Mercedes-Benz CLA.

The driver and front seat passenger will find it easy to get comfortable whether in the standard Sport model or in the S Line, with its more upmarket seats. The same can’t be said for taller rear seat passengers, who’ll probably be OK for legroom but not for headroom, which is a little tight. The sloping roofline also means visibility out of the rear window isn’t as good as in the hatchback.

Another disadvantage is the rear load area, which has a respectable volume of 425 litres with the seats in place and 880 with them folded. It might have a big capacity but there’s no hatchback door, so loading large objects or transporting dogs is impossible and there’s a fairly high load lip to haul heavy items over.

Standard equipment is decent – alloy wheels, the infotainment screen, Bluetooth and dual-zone climate control are among the standard fit items and there is, in typical Audi style, a huge range of options that you can tailor to your specific needs, with highlights including adaptive cruise control, lane assist and full LED headlights.

Sport and S Line models are offered, but moving up to S Line brings cosmetic improvements rather than extra technology. Changes include sportier exterior styling, leather interior upholstery and a flat-bottomed steering (pictured) - plus a no-cost optional change to the suspension to give a firmer, 'sportier' driving experience. 

There’s also an optional 4G enabled MMI High system which enables superfast broadband connectivity from within the car and creates an in car WiFi hotspot for the passengers. It also adds Google maps and Street View connectivity to make navigating unknown towns a lot easier. 

Equipment from launch:


  • Audi Drive Select
  • Electromechanical parking brake
  • Electromechanical power steering
  • Space saving spare wheel
  • Sports suspension – lowered by 15mm with stiffer suspension. Deselect sports suspension is available as a no-cost downgrade and if selected, the Sports suspension lowering is removed and the suspension is returned to the standard ride height and damping
  • 5.8” QVGA colour display screen – electrically extending, slimline design, with 400 x 240 pixel resolution
  • 8 passive speakers
  • MMI radio which includes:
  • Single CD player and two SDXC memory card readers (up to 2TB) which are both MP3, WMA and AAC compatible
  • MMI control panel
  • Audi Music Interface (AMI) – provides connection to Apple iPod from 4th generation and Apple iPhone, as well as USB storage media
  • and MP3 players.
  • Bluetooth interface
  • Colour Driver’s Information System (DIS)
  • DAB digital radio reception.
  • Voice control system
  • ISOFIX child seat mounting for front passenger (with airbag deactivation) and outer rear seats with Top Tethering
  • Front Sports seats
  • Rallye cloth upholstery
  • Split-folding rear seats 60/40
  • 3-spoke leather trimmed sports multi-function steering wheel,
  • Air vents in aluminium look,
  • Cloth headlining
  • Dual-zone electronic climate control
  • Electric front and rear windows
  • Front centre armrest
  • Aluminium window trims
  • Chrome exhaust tailpipe trims
  • Door mirrors – electrically adjustable and heated with built-in LED side indicators and painted in body colour
  • Front fog lights
  • Halogen headlights with electric headlight range control and daytime running lights
  • Heated windscreen washer jets
  • Active bonnet – in the event of contact with a pedestrian in a speed range of 16-34mph, the active bonnet creates more space between the bonnet and the engine to reduce the consequences of the accident
  • Adaptive brake light – the brake light flashes during an emergency stop to warn following traffic.
  • Airbags – driver, front passenger and front side airbags with head level airbag system for front and rear and knee airbag for the driver. 
  • Electronic differential lock (EDL).
  • Electronic stabilisation control (ESC)
  • Remote central locking
  • Thatcham Category 1 alarm and immobiliser

S line

  • Sports suspension lowered by 15mm (same suspension as Sport). Deselect Sports suspension is available as a no-cost downgrade. S line Sport suspension, lowered by an additional 10mm, is also available as a no cost upgrade.
  • Biathlon cloth/leather upholstery
  • Black headlining
  • Door sill trims with S line logo
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors
  • Inlays in matt-brushed aluminium
  • Perforated leather gear knob
  • Flat-bottomed S line 3-spoke leather multi-function steering wheel
  • Luggage compartment light in LED
  • Front fog light surrounds in high gloss black
  • Radiator grille in high gloss black
  • S line badges on the front wings
  • S line design body styling comprising S line front bumper, S line rear diffuser with Platinum grey insert and S line side sills
  • Xenon Plus headlights with automatic/dynamic headlight range control, LED daytime-running light strip and headlight washers. Also includes LED rear lights, brake lights and rear indicators.

Child seats that fit a Audi A3 Saloon (2013)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Audi A3 Saloon (2013) like to drive?

From launch the Audi A3 was available with three engines – 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre TFSI petrols and a 2.0-litre diesel. All three are good performers and it’s well worth trying the 1.4-litre petrol before you dismiss it as lacking power. It produces 140PS and a healthy 250Nm of torque from just 1500rpm, which makes it capable of a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.4 seconds.

Not only that but it produces 109g/km of CO2 – just 2g/km more than the diesel – and 60.1mpg. That, coupled with excellent refinement, makes it the best all round engine in the launch line up. For those who want a little more punch the 1.8-litre petrol is fine, but it’s not as frugal or clean.

Those who cover a lot of miles will want the diesel and it’s a good engine. It produces a healthy peak torque figure 320Nm and it feels gutsy and capable on the road, picking up speed easily from low revs. It’s an ideal motorway companion and gives the A3 Saloon a very grown up character more akin to the larger A4 or even A6.  

It’s the most efficient engine on offer from launch with a combined cycle economy figure of 68.9mpg and emissions of 107g/km. It’s not likely to save drivers much money over the capable 1.4-litre petrol unless they cover huge annual mileages though so be thoughtful if you’re considering buying.

Regardless of engine the driving experience is relaxed. Steering is well-weighted and accurate and the suspension is well-judged, offering a good blend of flat, controlled handling and body control with reasonable ride comfort. You can specify a softer suspension set up at no cost or a lower, firmer set up if you buy an S Line model, but the standard set up offers a good balance that should suit most drivers.

Combine the well thought through suspension with the A3 Saloon’s light, rigid body shell and you get a neat-handling car that can be driven at speed with confidence. It’s even quite fun to thread through a set of twisting countryside bends, but the focus is really on predictability – the A3 Saloon feels safe.

All cars have a system to let the driver choose the steering set up and throttle response, with preset modes for comfort, efficiency and a dynamic drive. Essentially the settings alter the weight of the steering and the sharpness of the throttle response. Comfort is the most balanced and will likely be the default choice for most. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 TFSI 61 mpg 9.9 s 106–107 g/km
1.0 TFSI S tronic 61 mpg 9.9 s 106–107 g/km
1.4 TFSI 150 58–60 mpg 7.9–8.2 s 109–112 g/km
1.4 TFSI 150 S tronic 58–60 mpg 7.9–8.2 s 110–113 g/km
1.5 TFSI 55 mpg 8.2 s 115–117 g/km
1.5 TFSI S tronic 57 mpg 8.2 s 112–113 g/km
1.6 TDI 71–72 mpg 10.3–10.7 s 103–107 g/km
1.6 TDI 116 69–71 mpg 10.4 s 105–108 g/km
1.6 TDI quattro 60–72 mpg 11.2 s 127 g/km
1.6 TDI S tronic 71–72 mpg 10.3–10.7 s 101–106 g/km
1.8 TFSI 49 mpg 7.2 s 135 g/km
1.8 TFSI quattro S tronic 43–44 mpg 6.8 s 149–153 g/km
1.8 TFSI S tronic 50 mpg 7.3 s 129 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 58–69 mpg 8.3–8.6 s 107–126 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 quattro 57–59 mpg 8.0–8.3 s 125–127 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 S tronic 60–64 mpg 8.0–8.3 s 114–120 g/km
2.0 TDI 184 63–67 mpg 7.4 s 112–118 g/km
2.0 TDI 184 quattro 59 mpg 8.3 s 126 g/km
2.0 TDI 184 quattro S tronic 57–59 mpg 6.8–6.9 s 127–130 g/km
2.0 TDI quattro 184 S tronic 58–59 mpg - 127–129 g/km
2.0 TFSI 50 mpg 6.9 s 128–129 g/km
2.0 TFSI 190 50–50 mpg 6.9 s 129 g/km
2.0 TFSI 190 S tronic 50–50 mpg 6.2–6.8 s 129–133 g/km
2.0 TFSI 190 S tronic Saloon 49 mpg - 133 g/km
2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic 50 mpg 6.2 s 132–133 g/km
2.0 TFSI S tronic 50 mpg 6.8 s 128–129 g/km
30 TDI 64 mpg 10.4 s 115–117 g/km
30 TDI S tronic 72 mpg 10.4 s 103–104 g/km
30 TFSI 55 mpg 9.9 s 116–117 g/km
30 TFSI S tronic 53–54 mpg 9.9 s 119–120 g/km
35 TDI 66 mpg - 111 g/km
35 TDI S tronic 64 mpg - 116–117 g/km
35 TFSI 51–52 mpg 8.2 s 123–124 g/km
35 TFSI S tronic 55 mpg 8.2 s 115–117 g/km
40 TDI S tronic 44–57 mpg - 132–145 g/km
40 TFSI S tronic 44 mpg - 138–145 g/km

Real MPG average for a Audi A3 Saloon (2013)

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

29–76 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 Saloon (2013)?

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

I'm considering a petrol Audi A3 saloon - is it easy to adjust to after being used to the torque of a diesel?

I've owned two diesel Audi A4 which I have been very pleased with. I'm now considering an Audi A3 saloon with the 1.4 petrol engine. I was pleasantly surprised with the performance during a short test drive but should I be aware of anything as I have got very used to the torque of a diesel engine?
It's a lovely engine, sweet at low revs and very smooth, but over the next year it will gradually be replaced by VWG's new 150PS 1.5 TSI.
Answered by Honest John
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