Keep in mind, I have publicly professed that I have a bias toward Audi products, I own one myself. I was excited to get the Audi A3 sedan to see another small luxury car in a segment that is expanding rapidly. It was not many years ago that if you wanted good fuel economy, you had to get a stripped down car, but that is not the case anymore.
I was a little surprised at how small the A3 really is. This third generation A3 is the first sedan in this model, they were previously all hatchbacks. Soon you will be able to get a convertible model, but again I was struck by how small it really is. It has many of the exterior attributes of the A4 and A6, like the bold grill and sloping roofline. It is almost like they took the A4 and washed it in hot water and it shrunk. To put its size in perspective, it is 4” shorter than Honda Civic, and 7” shorter than Toyota Corolla.
Under the hood, this front-wheel drive Audi has the 1.8-liter turbo, and it comes with the 6-speed S tronic automatic transmission. Together they produce 170-horses. The engine is peppy once you get past a little turbo-lag, and the engine is a little jerky in normal driving. There is a 2.0-liter available, and you can get the A3 with Audi’s terrific Quattro all-wheel system. Although it would run the price up higher, I suspect it would be worth it.
The interior of the Premium Edition model is a bit understated, without the benefit of wood like you normally find in an Audi. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice interior and the seats are comfortable, just not what I thought I would see knowing that Audi is famous for their interiors.
The standard equipment list includes a panoramic power sunroof, power leather driver’s seat, the Audi sound system, 17” wheels, 3-spoke steering wheel with driver controls, and of course power windows and power door locks.
My tester has a base price of $29,900 but quickly climbs to over $34,000 when you add the navigation system that features a pop-up screen that is part of the Audi MMI system. This operates the sound system, climate control, car settings etc. at a cost of $1900. Heated seats add $500, an Aluminum Style package runs $450, music interface with IPod cable is $350, and chrome exhaust tips are $150. This car is Monsoon Gray and the metallic paint runs $500.
One problem I have with this car when you consider the price is the lack of blind spot monitoring, backup camera, cooled seats, perhaps power tilt wheel, and a few other niceties that is sort of expected on the car.
I think the ride and drive of the A3 is no more than average for small cars that cost a lot less money and get better fuel economy. Back seat room for a sedan is extremely small, the headroom is limited, and the trunk is very small, you’d be hard pressed to fit a golf bag in it. Next issue, for me the interior quietness is not up to Audi standards.
Audi calls the A3 a luxury car, but it does not get to that designation in my opinion. I don’t think the interior gets to the luxury level, nor does the equipment meet my criteria of a luxury car. If you moved up to the loaded version, with the Quattro system, larger engine, and the amenities you expect from an Audi, the Prestige package tops $43,000. I still love Audis; I just can’t make the case for this one.
What I liked most: Navigation and sound system are great.
What I would change: More standard equipment for the same price.
MSRP: Base price $29,900, as equipped $34,345.
Fuel Economy: Stated at 23 in town/33 highway/27 combined.
Weight: 3219 Pounds.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gallons
2014 Audi A3 in a few words: Get the VW Passat TDI instead.
Warranty: 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, first scheduled maintenance at no charge.
Manufacturers website: http://www.audiusa.com/models/audi-a3-sedan
Dealers: We have great dealers for all Audi products in Dallas and Houston.