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        Other years:

        2017 Audi A3

        Fair Market Price:$17,201
        Fair Market Price:
        Fuel Economy:
        26 / 35 mpg


        • Looks just like a more expensive Audi
        • Costs less
        • Handles well


        • Spartan interior
        • Cabin noise at speed
        • Tiny rear seats

        Audi A3 Expert Review

        New for 2017

        The 2017 Audi A3 boasts updated styling, and the automaker now offers a number of new technologies. The automaker's Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster, updated MMI touch interface and smartphone interface are new optional extras, as are driver assistance features like enhanced parking sensors, automatic high beams, lane assist, and adaptive cruise control.

        Vehicle Summary

        The A3 is Audi's entry-level model range, slotting both in terms of size and price in below the A4. The family consists of the A3 sedan and convertible, E-Tron hybrid hatchback, and S3 performance sedan, completing a lineup of (relatively) accessible German luxury.


        Long before its rivals got into the premium compact segment, Audi was offering its A3 model line to customers for whom luxury didn't necessarily have to come in a large package. Now in its third iteration in the U.S. market, the A3 has long since evolved from a tailored Volkswagen Golf into the established player at the entry level of the luxury market.

        The A3 has traditionally taken the form of a hatchback - or "Sportback" in Audi parlance. And it's still offered in that form overseas, but in its current iteration, the A3 is offered in North America primarily as a compact four-door sedan. There's a cabriolet as well to compete with the BMW 2 Series convertible. But the only way for Americans to get the liftgate version is to go electric in the form of the E-Tron, a plug-in hybrid that pairs a 1.4-liter turbo four to an electric motor to generate a combined output of 204 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

        The sedan and convertible are available either with a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-four, driving 170 hp and 200 lb-ft to the front wheels, or a larger 2.0-liter unit good for 220 hp and 258 lb-ft (matching the E-Tron's torque and exceeding its power output) paired with Quattro all-wheel drive. Performance enthusiasts, however, will be enticed by the more potent S3 sedan that also employs a 2.0-liter engine but offers a more substantial 292 hp and 280 lb-ft.


        Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not rated the convertible or E-Tron models, the A3 sedan (in both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations) earned a five-star safety rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also awarded the A3 sedan its Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2017. The A3 boasts a standard system that can brake the car automatically to reduce the impact of a collision (if the driver doesn't respond to alerts), along with driver and front passenger airbags, knee airbags, front thorax, and side curtain airbags.

        What We Think

        Audi took a decidedly more conservative approach to styling the A3 sedan than Mercedes did its coupe-like CLA four-door, but the refreshed 2017 A3 goes some way toward jazzing it up a little. "Though some members on staff are quick to call the A3's interior cheap," our reviewer felt that "minimalistic is the right word" upon driving the base 1.8T model for the first time over two years ago. Our earlier test of the all-wheel-drive 2.0T yielded a few complaints about cabin noise, and the rear seats in a vehicle this small will always be a tight squeeze. But we did find it to be spritely, noting the "crisp throttle pedal" and "happy-to-be-manually shifted transmission."

        The high-performance RS 3 offers mind blowing performance thanks to its 400-hp 2.5-liter turbo-five that offers strong straight line performance, linear power delivery, minimal turbo lag, and quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission, as we noted in a 2017 First Drive.? Even though the RS 3 handles impeccably, it comes at the cost of ride comfort. Even with the magnetorheological shocks in its softest setting, the ride can get rough.

        Cool Fact

        Customers in other markets can get their hands on the RS 3, an even more potent performance model than the S3 we get here. Its 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five sends 362 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to deliver an automaker-estimated 0-62 time of 4.3 seconds. Our hopes remain high that the next version will be offered in the United States to challenge the BMW M2 and Mercedes-AMG CLA45.

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