2018 Audi A3

#7
in Compact sedans
2018 MODEL
$31,950 - $43,700 See Inventory Prices

Detailed Review

A large German luxury saloon can be prohibitively expensive. The Audi A3 has always tried to bring those sharp business class styling, build quality, rock-solid driving characteristics and upscale interiors in a smaller and more affordable package. The 2018 Audi A3 looks, feels, and drives like a scaled down A4 with a relatively affordable starting price of $31,950.

In spite of its price, the standard 186 hp 2.0L TFSI four-cylinder engine delivers quick acceleration befitting the premium badge. While FWD is standard, the optional renowned Quattro AWD system delivers tank-like stability even under adverse weather condition. Moreover, the A3 comes with plenty of standard features like leather upholstery and Audi MMI.

See detailed review »

Pros

Powerful engine

Rock solid driving manners

Looks part of an expensive line-up

Intuitive infotainment system

Cons

Tight rear seats

Small trunk

What's New?

Heated seats and two USB charging port is standard on 2018 Audi A3

Technology Package now have Bang & Olufsen Audio System


Pictures & Videos


Styles

 2018 Audi A3 in Tango Red Metallic color  2018 Audi A3 in Nano Gray Metallic color  2018 Audi A3 in Mythos Black Metallic color  2018 Audi A3 in Monsoon Gray Metallic color  2018 Audi A3 in Ibis White color  2018 Audi A3 in Glacier White Metallic color  2018 Audi A3 in Florett Silver Metallic color  2018 Audi A3 in Cosmos Blue Metallic color
Tango Red Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.6

Engine

7.9

Fuel Economy

7.9

Interior

7.4

Exterior

8.6

Safety

8.1

Comfort

7.9

Driving

9.3

8.1

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2018 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Premium

2.0 TFSI Premium

power
186 hp @ 4400 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
29 combined

$31,950


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2.0 TFSI Premium w/Prod. End 6/18 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $31,950 MSRP (26/29/35) 186 hp @ 4400 rpm, 2 L, I4, premium unleaded (recommended)
See Full Specs
7-speed automatic front wheel drive 5 NA

 2018 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Premium quattro

2.0 TFSI Premium quattro

power
220 hp @ 4500 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
27 combined

$34,950


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2.0 TFSI Premium quattro w/Prod. End 6/18 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM) Starting at $34,950 MSRP (24/27/31) 220 hp @ 4500 rpm, 2 L, I4, premium unleaded (recommended)
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic all wheel drive 5 NA

 2018 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Premium Plus

2.0 TFSI Premium Plus

power
186 hp @ 4400 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
29 combined

$35,200


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2.0 TFSI Premium Plus w/Prod. End 6/18 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $35,200 MSRP (26/29/35) 186 hp @ 4400 rpm, 2 L, I4, premium unleaded (recommended)
See Full Specs
7-speed automatic front wheel drive 5 NA

 2018 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Premium Plus quattro

2.0 TFSI Premium Plus quattro

power
220 hp @ 4500 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
27 combined

$38,200


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2.0 TFSI Premium Plus quattro w/Prod. End 6/18 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM) Starting at $38,200 MSRP (24/27/31) 220 hp @ 4500 rpm, 2 L, I4, premium unleaded (recommended)
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic all wheel drive 5 NA

 2018 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Prestige

2.0 TFSI Prestige

power
186 hp @ 4400 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
29 combined

$40,700


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2.0 TFSI Prestige 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $40,700 MSRP (26/29/35) 186 hp @ 4400 rpm, 2 L, I4, premium unleaded (recommended)
See Full Specs
7-speed automatic front wheel drive 5 NA

 2018 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Prestige quattro

2.0 TFSI Prestige quattro

power
220 hp @ 4500 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
27 combined

$43,700


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2.0 TFSI Prestige quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM) Starting at $43,700 MSRP (24/27/31) 220 hp @ 4500 rpm, 2 L, I4, premium unleaded (recommended)
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic all wheel drive 5 NA

Top Audi Cars

2018 Audi S4
8.8/10

Engine: 354 hp @ 5400 rpm, 3 L V6

MPG: 24 combined

2018 Audi A7
8.7/10

Engine: 340 hp @ 5300 rpm, 3 L V6

MPG: 18 combined

2018 Audi S7
8.4/10

Engine: 450 hp @ 5800 rpm, 4 L V8

MPG: 21 combined

2018 Audi A6
8.3/10

Engine: 252 hp @ 5000 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 28 combined

2018 Audi RS 3
8.1/10

Engine: 400 hp @ 5850 rpm, 2.5 L I5

MPG: 22 combined

2018 Audi A8 L
8.0/10

Engine: 333 hp @ 5500 rpm, 3 L V6

MPG: 22 combined


Expert Review


CARHP Editorial April 1, 2019

8.1

Overall Rating


7.6/10
Features

 

7.9/10
Engine

 

7.9/10
Fuel Economy

 

7.4/10
Interior

 

8.6/10
Exterior

 

8.1/10
Safety

 
 
 

However, the rear legroom is cramped and the trunk is non-accommodating as well. Also, if you want your luxury ride to attract attention, the Mercedes CLA is decidedly more flamboyant. That said, the A3 has its own understated business class charm - like a typical Audi. On Safety front, the A3 comes with plenty of active safety features and has got 5-star crash test rating from NHTSA.

2018 Audi A3 Features

7.6/10

The A3 sedan comes in three trims – all trims get optional Quattro AWD system with the more powerful engine. The base A3 Premium starts at $31,950. The A3 premium gets two optional packages – Convenience package ($950) and Sport package ($650).

Trims Premium Premium Plus Prestige
MSRP (FWD) $31,950 $35,200 $40,700
MSRP (AWD) $34,950 $38,200 $43,700
Features
  • Tilt and telescopic manually adjustable steering column
  • Folding front center armrest
  • Micrometallic Silver inlays
  • Dual extendable front sun visors with lighted vanity mirrors
  • Aluminum interior package
  • Heated front seats
  • Audi concert radio with nine speakers
  • Driver information system
  • Audi pre sense basic
  • Audi pre sense front
  • Driver's side dual exhaust outlets
  • Features Same As Premium +:
  • Power-adjustable, power-folding, heated exterior side mirrors (auto-dimming driver’s side)
  • Aluminum trim around windshield frame and windows
  • S line fender badges
  • Aluminum Mistral inlays
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Auto-dimming interior rearview mirror with digital compass
  • Audi music interface with two USB ports for data and charging
  • Rain/light sensor for automatic windshield wipers and headlights
  • Features Same As Premium Plus +:
  • Ambient LED interior lighting
  • Illuminated Aluminum door sill inlays
  • MMI Navigation plus
  • MMI touch with handwriting-recognition technology
  • Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 14 speakers and 705 watts
  • Audi virtual cockpit
  • Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto
  • Sirius Satellite Radio with 90-day trial subscription
  • INRIX XD Traffic
  • Audi adaptive cruise control with stop & go

The A3 Premium Plus gets three optional packages – Technology Package ($3,200), LED lighting package ($850) and Sport Package ($650). The top end A3 Prestige gets one optional package – Sport package ($650). Sports suspension is optional on all trims for $250.

We recommend

Although the A3 Cabriolet brings the romance of open-top motoring, the sedan is more practical and less costly. We recommend the base Premium trim as the higher trims creep closer to the much larger Audi A4. We will also recommend adding the renowned Audi Quattro AWD system.

2018 Audi A3 Engine

7.9/10

“It will come as no surprise to those familiar with Audi that the A3 feels solid and composed at speed. The ride is smooth, with the wheels rebounding quickly from impacts without much jostling in the cabin. The A3 steers easily and accurately.” – Car and Driver

If your motive for buying an A3 is to experience the famed tank-like high-speed composure and stable dynamics of expensive German saloons, you won’t be disappointed. Even with its small wheelbase, the A3 tracks straight at freeway speeds and handles long sweeping turns with aplomb. That said, Audis generally do not provide much steering feedback and the A3 is no different. Powertrain The A3 sedan gets standard turbocharged 2.0L TFSI inline-4 engine. In base FWD configuration, the engine develops 186 horsepower and 221 pounds feel of torque and is mated to a 7-speed Dual clutch automatic transmission.

Models Audi A3 Premium BMW 320i Mercedes CLA 250
MSRP $1,950 $34,900 $32,700
Engine 2.0-liter TFSI 4-Cylinder Engine 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder engine 2.0-liter inline-4 turbo engine
Transmission 7-speed Automatic 8-speed automatic 7-speed automatic
Power 186hp 180hp 208hp
Torque 221 lb-ft 200 lb-ft 258 lb-ft

The A3 Quattro gets the same 2.0L I4 but is tuned for 220 hp and 258 lb-ft torque. To cope with higher torque load, the A3 Quattro gets a 6-speed automatic. The Audi S3 packs more grunt and the new Audi RS 3 is even more bonkers. We cover these spiced up A3s in a separate review.

“With 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, the A3 provides plenty of power to accelerate with purpose” – Edmunds

Acceleration

Let not the price tag fool you – the A3 accelerates like a proper luxury car. Although the A3 feels momentarily slow on launch, it soon scoots forward as the turbo spool up. While even the FWD A3 can do 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds, the A3 Quattro can reach 60 mph from rest in 5.8 seconds flat thanks to its higher power output and all-wheel drive.

“All 2018 Audi A3s use a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-4, either speedy 6- or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and an available Quattro all-wheel-drive system. That is a recipe for a charming driving experience—the A3 receives a 7 out of 10 on our performance scale.” - Carconnection

Models Audi A3 Premium BMW 320i Mercedes CLA 250
0-60 MPH 6.6 sec 7.1 sec 6.9 sec
Quarter mile 15.4 sec @ 89.4 mph 15.2 sec @ 90.1 mph 14.7 sec @ 95.5 mph
Engine 2.0L 2.0L 2.0L
Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year) 6.1 6.3 6.1

Ride and Handling

The Audi A3 drives like its bigger siblings with solid high-speed stability and confidence-inspiring steering. Impressively, the steering lightens at slow speeds. This combined with the good outward visibility and tractable power delivery makes the A3 a joy to whizz around in the town.

“The A3 feels light and athletic in curves. The AWD system makes the most of available grip, and the well-tuned suspension gives it a balanced, reassuring feel.” - Edmunds

The optional sports suspension gives it more agility at a cost of harsher ride quality. If you encounter frequent bad weather, the A3 Quattro is a must have as it delivers excellent stability and the car feels like it’s turning on rails even under traction challenged situations.

Braking

The Audi A3 has a linear brake pedal response and metering the desired amount of braking is easy. The A3 stops from 60 mph in 120 feet. That’s a little faster than the Mercedes CLA which takes 121 feet to stop from 60 mph. The more expensive BMW 3-series stops faster though.

“Around town the A3 has natural-feeling brake weighting and responses. Easy to modulate. In panic braking, there's little nosedive and the car tracks straight.” - Edmunds

Model Audi A3 Premium BMW 320i Mercedes CLA 250
Brake Front(in) 12.3 12.3 12.6
Brake Rear(in) 10.7 11.8 11.6
Curb Weight(lbs.) 3197  

2018 Audi A3 Fuel Economy

7.9/10

“The current A3 line is perfectly thrifty, with the turbocharged models returning 29 mpg combined in front-drive trim and 27 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.” - Carconnection

The Audi A3 with FWD drivetrain delivers 24 mpg in city and 35 mpg on the highway for a combined EPA rating of 29 mpg – impressive for a luxury car. The Quattro A3 with fuel-sipping AWD and the more powerful engine delivers 21 mpg in city and 31 mpg on the highway for a combined EPA rating of 27 mpg.

Model Audi A3 Premium BMW 320i Mercedes CLA 250
MPG (City) 26 24 24
MPG (Highway) 35 35 37
MPG (Combined) 29 28 29

2018 Audi A3 Interior

7.4/10

“Its interior is comfortable, well designed, and looks upscale despite the fact that this is the entry-level Audi.” – Car and Driver

Despite the lower price tag, the A3’s interior looks and feels every bit as high quality and solidly built as the A3’s larger brothers. And it’s loaded with upscale equipment too like the Audi MMI and Bang & Olufsen premium audio system. However, this small Audi has cozy rear seats adults should avoid. Also, the trunk volume is tight, especially in the A3 Quattro.

Seating and Comfort

The front seats of the Audi A3 offer enough room to justify the premium badge. The 41.2 inches of legroom up front is 1-inch more than that of the Mercedes CLA. Qualitatively, the standard front seats offer good support. The optional sports seats offer great lateral support for athletic driving.

“If you're single or free of children, the A3 likely will be a fine choice. Its front seats—even without the Sport Package's upgraded seats—are comfortable and supportive and there's plenty of front seat leg and head room for taller drivers.” - Carconnection

Model Audi A3 Premium BMW 320i Mercedes CLA 250
Passenger capacity 5 5 5
Passenger Volume(ft cube) 92.3 92.6 91.5
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 39.6/54.8/41.2 40.3/55.1/42 38.2/56/40.2
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 36.4/53/35.1 37.7/55.1/35.1 35.4/53.2/27.1

While the front seats are comfortable and roomy enough to make this tiny Audi as comfortable over long distances as its bigger siblings, the rear seats are tight. This is not a limo and you have to look at the larger Audi A4 if you desire rear seat comfort. That said, the rivals like the Mercedes CLA are not any better either.

Cargo Capacity

Along with the tight rear seats, the trunk volume is tight as well. The A3 sedan offers 12.3 cubic feet of luggage capacity – almost 1 cubic feet less than that of the Mercedes CLA. The AWD system in the A3 Quattro further eats up the available luggage space.

“The A3's trunk is the smallest in the class with only a 10-cubic-foot capacity. Large golf bags or long clubs will require folding down the rear seats.” - Edmunds

Model Audi A3 Premium BMW 320i Mercedes CLA 250
Volume (ft cube) 12.3 13.0 13.1

Infotainment System

The Audi MMI is one of the most acclaimed infotainment systems in the automotive industry – but it’s not standard on A3. The base A3 Premium gets a standard 7-inch touchscreen and 9-speaker audio system. The convenience package ($950) brings Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. For the Audi MMI, you have to get A3 Premium Plus and option it with Technology Package ($3,200).

“Audi’s MMI infotainment system is one of our favorite setups in the industry. It performed well in our testing but isn’t available in the entry-level trim.” – Car and Driver

The MMI has a touchpad on rotary control with handwriting recognition – so you can directly input address in navigation. Technology package brings another Audi acclaimed feature – the superb Bang & Olufsen audio system. Technology package also replaces the standard instrument cluster with Audi Virtual Cockpit – it can show important information from touchscreen directly on the instrument cluster.

2018 Audi A3 Exterior

8.6/10

“If you like the Audi styling aesthetic, you'll love the 2018 A3’s defining look. Looking a lot like a smaller Audi A6, its standard bi-xenon headlights, big sunroof and standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels make even the least expensive A3 look great.” – Kelley Blue Book

The Audi A3 sedan is styled just like its larger brothers – and many prospective owners will love it for this. The large radiator grille with horizontal slats, the horizontal stripes of LEDs on headlamps and sharp parallel lines running everywhere are all drawn from the larger A4 and A6. The side profile is dominated by a strong shoulder line that’s typical on Audi’s sedan.

The A3 premium plus even gets the upscale looking polished aluminum window frame. The wheels fill the wheel arches and this combined with other tightly proportioned design features lend this baby Audi sedan a confident stance. The LED headlights and taillights are available as $850 option in A3 Premium Plus. Dual exhaust is standard across the lineup.

Dimensions and Weight

The 2018 Audi A3 sedan is the most compact sedan currently manufactured by Audi with an overall length of 175.5 inches – that’s smaller than the comparable Mercedes CLA. However, this also means the A3 is much more manageable than other German luxury barges around town. At 6.3 inches, the A3 has more ground clearance than the Mercedes CLA and the BMW 320i.

Model Audi A3 Premium BMW 320i Mercedes CLA 250
Curb Weight(lbs.) 3197 3295 3274
Length(in) 175.5 182.5 182.3
Width(in) 70.7 71.3 70
Height(in) 55.7 56.3 56.6
Ground clearance(in) 6.3 6.1 6.2
Wheelbase(in) 103.8 110.6 106.3
Track width(in) F/R 61.2/60.1 60.3/61.9 60.9/60.8

2018 Audi A3 Safety

8.1/10

The A3 gets active safety features like Front Automated Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning as standard. Moving to higher trims and ticking the options will get you features like Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Departure Warning.

2018 Audi A3 Safety Features are listed in the following table:

  • Driver and front passenger advanced airbags, knee airbags and front head/thorax side airbags
  • Front passenger occupant detection for airbags
  • Power central locking system with safety unlock feature if airbags deploy
  • Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and brake assist
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with secondary collision brake assist and traction control (ASR)
  • Anti-theft alarm system
  • Tire-pressure monitoring system
  • Safety belt reminder for driver and front passenger
  • Lower anchors for child seats in rear seats
  • Electromechanical parking brake

NHTSA Safety Rating

The 2018 Audi A3 also got a 5-star rating in NHTSA crash test. This is achieved due to a full suite of airbags and well-engineered crumple zone. However, the 2018 A3 got 4-star rollover rating.

Overall Rating 5 star
Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating 4 star
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Driver 5 star
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Passenger 5 star
Overall Side Crash Rating 5 star
Side Barrier Rating 5 star
Side Barrier Rating Driver 5 star
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat 5 star
Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat 5 star
Combined Side Rating Front Seat 5 star
Combined Side Rating Rear Seat 5 star
Rollover Rating 4 star

IIHS Safety rating

The 2018 Audi A3 also got Top Safety Pick rating from IIHS.

crashworthiness
Small overlap front driver side Good
Small overlap front passenger side N/A
Moderate overlap front Good
Side Good
Roof strength Good
Head restraints & seats Good

However, it missed Top Safety Pick + rating due to the acceptable rating for Latch and Headlights.

Crash Prevention and Migration
Front Crash Prevention Superior
Headlights Acceptable
LATCH Acceptable

2018 Audi A3 Competition

Audi A3 Sedan vs Mercedes Benz CLA

The CLA is priced similarly to the A3 and approaches the low-cost luxury mantra similarly – by offering build quality, performance and bucket loads of standard features expected from a luxury brand in a smaller package. However, the CLA is far more flamboyant with plenty of curves – Mercedes calls it a 4-door coupe.

Audi A3 Sedan vs BMW 3-series

The BMW 3-series sits slightly above the A3 and CLA and is a quintessential sports sedan with responsive steering and rear wheel drive. It’s also roomier than the A3 and the CLA. However, the A3 is more suitable for inclement weather with its Quattro AWD and its priced lower than the 3-series.

2018 Audi A3 Final Verdict

Whether you want to experience the world of premium German brands or are trading in your previous large German luxury barge for something that has a smaller impact on your personal balance sheet, the new 2018 Audi A3 sedan will impress you.

It’s got that sharp no-nonsense business class looks, the German build quality, the famed solid driving characteristics that feel like it was honed on the German Autobahn and a cabin loaded with high-end features. However, to provide you all these at a lower price, the A3 has compact dimensions. Hence, the rear seats are tight and the trunk volume is not impressive either.

So, if you need large rear seats that are comfortable for adults on longer trips, you have to spend more for the Audi A4. Same goes for the trunk volume. Still, if you mostly use the front seats and travel light and are looking for a premium German marque at a relatively low price, the 2018 Audi A3 will meet your needs perfectly.