2022 Audi A3 First Test: Is the Cheapest Audi "Audi" Enough? (2023)

Audi’s redesigned subcompact sedan features better styling, more tech, and a smarter powertrain.

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Duncan BradyWriterWilliam WalkerPhotographer

audi a3 Full Overview


  • Planted driving dynamics
  • Refined and efficient powertrain
  • Elegant styling


  • Limited standard safety features
  • Less power than previous model
  • Slightly noisy cabin

Allow us to let you in on a little secret: For many buyers, the badge does matter. The way a car makes them feel when they see it in their driveway or a parking lot is in many ways just as valid a reason for them to own it as how well it drives, its features-per-dollar value, or its road isolation.

Take for example the case of the redesigned 2022 Audi A3. Considering our conservatively optioned $43,440 test vehicle, there are larger, more powerful cars with just as many or more features at a lower price point available from the likes of Genesis (GV70), Lexus (IS), Acura (Integra), and even a couple of non-luxury brands such as Mazda, Kia, and Honda.

But the four rings carry a ton of cachet, and plenty of German prestige. Buyers in the subcompact luxury segment are dipping their toes into the luxury market, with the A3 and each of its direct competitors representing their automakers' most accessible models. The question becomes, is the A3 enough of an Audi to satisfy those first-time luxury buyers?

A Next-Generation A3

Audi is billing the 2022 A3 as an all-new small sedan, a replacement for the previous-generation A3 which had been on sale since the 2015 model year. Its sharp, updated styling looks more mature and elegant in person than in photos, and it's 1.4-inches longer, half an inch taller, and 0.8-inch wider than the car it replaces—all of which help distinguish the new A3 visually from its predecessor.

What underpins and powers the 2022 A3 has changed quite a bit as well. Audi's latest subcompact sedan utilizes the same MQB Evo platform as its distant cousin, the MkVIII Volkswagen GTI, and it's powered by a version of the E888-code 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found under the hood of multiple Volkswagen Group products ranging from the Volkswagen Passat to the Porsche Macan. But in the new A3 it's a little different—here the turbo-four is augmented by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that not only offers a notable improvement in fuel economy (28/36 mpg city/highway for the AWD model we tested over the outgoing car's 22/30 mpg), but also benefits the car's overall driving experience.

On the Road

The best thing we can say about the hybrid system is that we hardly noticed it. The setup allows the A3 to coast with the engine shut down in some driving situations, and, better yet, when the engine fired back up, we never noticed a shudder through the cabin.

Likewise, the A3's mild hybrid setup is responsible for such refined low-speed behavior that we initially could have sworn it was fitted with a conventional automatic as opposed to its dual-clutch auto, many of which have a tendency to exhibit jerky, unrefined tendencies while creeping along in traffic. Not so in the new A3. Its dual-clutcher also delivered quick, crisp shifts when we drove with enthusiasm, which proved to be a best-of-both-worlds scenario.

The 2.0-liter turbo-four is actually down on power compared to last year's AWD A3; instead of offering separate output levels for the standard front-drive A3 and the model equipped with Audi's Quattro AWD system, every 2022 A3's engine produces 201 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, significantly less than the outgoing model's 228 hp and 258 lb-ft. The A3 is now the least powerful German subcompact sedan, trailing the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe and the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class.

When we tested a previous-gen A3 with AWD, it reached 60 mph in a scant 5.4 seconds. For this year's model that same sprint took 6.4 seconds. The 2015 A3 we tested was also a full second quicker in the quarter mile (14.0 vs. 15.0 seconds) and beat the 2022 A3's 26.3-second figure-eight time by 0.7 second. Our track testers described the engine as adequate but nothing special, and pointed out that the test vehicle was obviously not one of Audi's S models. That said, they appreciated the car's satisfying and stable launch control system.

Indeed, Audi's powerplant, while smooth and torquey, leaves something to be desired at full throttle during passing maneuvers. The kind of driver who regularly prods the go pedal to the carpet will wish they had gone for the 306-hp S3.

Although our test crew noted a slightly dull turn-in, a lack of initial bite from the brakes, and a fair amount of body roll out at the track, the A3 feels planted and direct on the road, possessing the kind of high-speed stability we expect from German sedans. The ride is a bit on the noisy and firm side—this is no A8—but it feels sophisticated and not at all punishing through sharp impacts. Those who order their A3s without the Black Optic Sport package's sport suspension and 18-inch wheels (17s are standard) may fare better.

The A3 Has the Tech

Inside, the A3 features a front-and-center, 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment setup that uses the same display as the systems in Audi's more expensive models. Seriously—this is literally the exact screen you'd find in a $120,000 Audi RS Q8. The infotainment suite is logically laid out and mostly easy to use, and we appreciate how Audi separates hard buttons and switches for the climate controls. On the other hand, the quarter-sized touchpad Audi provides to adjust volume or change songs? We'd rather have better physical controls.

Our test vehicle came equipped with the standard 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster display, as opposed to Audi's 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit setup that is included in the Technology package. The screen clearly displayed plenty of high-resolution information, including Google Maps navigation data, and we didn't find ourselves wanting for the larger screen. One note on the navigation system, though: When we were searching the name of a movie theater (with only one location in Los Angeles), the system suggested locations in San Francisco and Dallas first. We opted to use the standard wireless Apple CarPlay instead.

In terms of driver-assist features, Audi only includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and automatic high-beams as standard (not uncommon for German cars in the segment) but our example's $3,300 Premium Plus package added adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic assist, among other conveniences. The features all worked as they should, and we specifically appreciated the smooth, natural braking of the adaptive cruise system. One pain point: The backup camera's low-resolution and fisheye lens make the A3 harder to park than it should be.

Now to address the more serious issues we had. During our initial loan, the infotainment system crashed multiple times (sometimes unable to reboot for hours), the navigation stopped working for days at a time, and multiple driver-assist features were deactivated altogether. Audi was unable to replicate the problems, and upon a second loan in a different A3, so were we. We believe these issues are unlikely to be present in any A3 you buy off the lot, but they are worth mentioning.

Is It Audi Enough?

For the first time luxury car buyer, the buyer who's excited to see an upscale badge on the nose of their new chariot, does the new 2022 Audi A3 do enough to sell that experience? Why yes, yes it does. Of course there are aspects of Audi's smallest sedan that remind us of its entry pricing—primarily the noisy cabin, firm ride, and middling performance numbers—but nothing that would prevent our recommendation to a prospective owner. So if you're in the market for the first car from a premium automaker, while there are other compelling options out there, the A3 mostly does entry-level luxury right.

Looks good! More details?

2022 Audi A3 Quattro (40 TFSI) Specifications






Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan


2.0L Turbo direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4


201 hp @ 4,800 rpm


221 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm


7-speed twin-clutch auto


3,479 lb (59/41%)


103.5 in


176.9 x 71.5 x 56.2 in

0-60 MPH

6.4 sec


15.0 sec @ 91.3 mph


119 ft


0.89 g (avg)


26.3 sec @ 0.66 g (avg)


28/36/31 mpg


450 miles



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Is A Audi A3 A Good First car? ›

All in all, the Audi A3 is a safe and steadfast first vehicle for young drivers—but if you're looking for a good first car that you won't have to be afraid about making mistakes in, a non-luxury vehicle may be a better fit.

How much should I pay for an Audi A3? ›

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2022 Audi A3 starts at $35,895 for the Premium base-level trim with destination fee and popular options.

Is it worth it to buy an Audi A3? ›

The Audi A3 Sportback is a great all-rounder. It's comfortable, yet handles safely and securely on fast country roads, but some other family cars are more fun to drive, if that's your thing – check out the BMW 1 Series, for a sportier example.

Is Audi A3 entry level? ›

It sits as the entry point into the range, below the 40 TFSI quattro S line, S3 and RS3. All variants are available in both Sportback and Sedan guise, with the latter commanding a premium. 2022 Audi A3 pricing: Audi A3 Sportback 35 TFSI: $46,900.

Which Audi is best for beginners? ›

A3 / S3 / RS 3

The A3 is the subcompact, entry-level Audi. Audi also offers two sportier sedan variants. The S3 uses the same 2.0-liter turbo-four as the Golf R; the RS 3 employs a 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo producing 394 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds.

Which Audi is good for a first car? ›

Audi A1. The A1 is the entry point to the vast Audi model range. The base derivative or rather A1 Sportback 30TFSI offers seating for five and 335-litres of luggage space which makes it a practical choice for individuals and small families.

Does Audi A3 need premium gas? ›

Putting 93 Octane fuel in your Audi will allow it to perform just as well as if you put in premium fuel. 93 Octane fuel is more expensive than premium fuel, so you only need to put in your Audi if you have a high-performance model.

Is maintenance on Audi A3 expensive? ›

Cost. The average total annual cost for repairs and maintenance on a Audi A3 is $741, compared to an average of $801 for luxury compact cars and $652 for all vehicle models.

How many miles Audi A3 last? ›

An Audi A3 is expected to last between 150,000 and 200,000 miles before any major work needs to be done such as a transmission or an engine being replaced.

What are the main issues with Audi A3? ›

Most common faults and problems with the Audi A3
  • Gearbox problems. For example, you may find that it has become trickier to shift between the 1st and 2nd gears. ...
  • Excessive fuel consumption. ...
  • Engine failure. ...
  • Door lock problem. ...
  • Clutch faults. ...
  • Airbag faults.

Which Audi A3 model is the best? ›

The best Audi A3 Sportback for value

Audi A3 30 TFSI Technik – even the entry-level Technik trim has a luxury edge with the luxe Audi styling and kitted-out interior. The engine set-up is reliable and easy to drive, making it suitable for most motorists.

What cars are better than an Audi A3? ›

At a glance
Mercedes A Class0-62mph: 8 seconds (A200 model) Top speed: 126 – 167mph31 – 280mpg combined)
BMW 1 Series0-62mph: 4.8 – 10.3 seconds Top speed: 124 – 155mph34.4 – 61.4mpg
Ford Focus0-62mph: 4.7 – 10.2 seconds Top speed: 115 – 155mph52 – 62mpg
2 more rows
Oct 5, 2022

What is the waiting time for a new Audi A3? ›

The timeframes mentioned so far by participants on this site indicate that for ordering a Audi A3 Sportback, it seems to take an average delivery time of about 10 months.

Why is Audi A3 so expensive? ›

With their extra touch of class and styling, Audi A3s tend to be more expensive than other small cars – and they cost more to insure too. The priciest models are way up in insurance group 46 (out of a possible 50). That puts them in the same league, insurance-wise, as some Range Rover Sport models.

What is the cheapest Audi? ›

The A3 is the cheapest Audi you can buy. With an MSRP starting at $35,400 for the 2023 model, the A3 is the cheapest model of Audi available. . In 2021, Audi sold 2,390 A3s in the US and 60,301 Q5s.

What is the best cheap Audi? ›

The 2022 Audi A3 with FWD is priced at $34,800 is the cheapest Audi car on sale. The base trim of the entry level Audi comes with quattro all-wheel drive starts at $36,800. The entry-level A3 sedan can be financed from Audi starting for 3.49% APR for 60 months with zero down payment.

What is most popular Audi? ›

So let's take a look at some of top-selling Audi models in the U.S. in recent years.
  • Audi Q5. The Audi Q5 SUV made the top-selling Audi list for a reason. ...
  • Audi A3. This is a compact car first produced by Audi starting 1996. ...
  • Audi A6. ...
  • Audi R8 V10.

What Audi has the least problems? ›

10 Most Reliable Cars Audi Ever Made
  • 10 2012-2013 A4.
  • 9 2010 A6.
  • 8 2018-2019 Audi A5.
  • 7 2019 Allroad.
  • 6 1983 Quattro.
  • 5 2009 A3.
  • 4 2019 Audi Q5.
  • 3 2020 Q7.
Dec 3, 2021

Can I get an Audi for my first car? ›

Audi A1. A popular choice with new drivers who can afford to spend a little more on their first wheels, the Audi A1 is aimed at the young, urban audience. Audi oozes quality and reliability, so this stylish car is a perfect option for new drivers. It's smart inside, and roomy too.

Is Audi nicer than BMW? ›

When looking at the vehicles, the Audi is more up to date with the interior. Fans of a classy interior will love the sleek, subtle luxury the BMW offers to drivers. However, it's not as modern as the Audi is inside. If you want to keep up with infotainment, Audi is the luxury brand for you.

Should you buy a second hand Audi? ›

A used Audi will naturally have more miles and more wear and tear than a new vehicle. This means that it will likely need more expensive repairs sooner than a new vehicle of another make. However, you can mitigate these costs by choosing a Certified Pre-Owned Audi with its extended warranties.

How often do Audis need oil changes? ›

Your Oil Change Interval

If you drive an Audi luxury vehicle, you should have your filter and oil changed every 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. However, many vehicles need oil changes every 5,000 miles or 6 months.

Can I use 87 octane in my Audi? ›

Generally, most modern vehicles can safely run on regular gasoline. Unless your specific model recommends premium, many older Audi models will perform just as well on regular fuel as they will on premium.

Are Audi A3 good on fuel? ›

Officially it'll cover up to 282.5mpg, although this varies greatly depending on how it's used. CO2 emissions are rated at 31g/km. If you regularly charge the A3 and drive it mostly short distances, expect to achieve north of 100mpg.

Why is Audi oil change so expensive? ›

Why are Audi oil changes so expensive? Like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, Audi has the reputation of being a luxury car. So, the car requires high-quality synthetic oil and specialized filters. So if you want to drive your Audi car for a long period, you need to provide proper maintenance, which will cost high.

Which is cheaper to maintain Audi or BMW? ›

However, Audi tends to be more costly for repairs to your gearbox. In general, Audi and BMW cars are somewhat more expensive cars to maintain. There may be a slight difference in costs overall, but it won't be so much that it should make or break your decision between the both of them.

Are Audi's worth the money? ›

Although Audi cars are more expensive than the average cars, they are worth buying for various reasons like reliability, technology, innovation and more.

What year will Audi A3 be discontinued? ›

Audi A3
ManufacturerAudi AG
Body and chassis
ClassSmall family car (1996-2012) Subcompact executive car (2013-present) (C)
4 more rows

Is the Audi A3 a good reliable car? ›

Overall the Audi A3 reliability is 51.75 and that makes it not very reliable. The chart below illustrates exactly how this ranks compared to some other cars, but the average overall rating is 57 as some comparison.

How many miles before Audi has problems? ›

Audis are expected to last an average of 150,000 to 200,000 miles as long as you keep up with regular maintenance. You can expect a properly driven and maintained Audi to last 150,000 to 200,000 miles, or 10 to 13 years.

Is Audi A3 engine good? ›

The engines in the 2023 Audi A3 vary from satisfactory to superb, and you'll get plenty of power no matter which model you choose. The ride is comfortable, handling is athletic, and fuel economy is good.

Is the Audi A3 fast enough? ›

Petrol engines

The least powerful A3 on offer is the 30 TFSI, which is powered by a 1.0-litre 116hp engine with a 0-62mph time of 9.9 seconds. Next up is the 35 TFSI, which gets a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol with 150hp and 250Nm of torque. This one feels more than fast enough for most situations.

Which Audi A3 has the best engine? ›

Best Audi A3 Sportback engine

Despite the availability of fuel-sipping diesels and high-tech plug-in hybrids, the best engine in the Audi A3 range is the straightforward 1.5-litre petrol one found in the 35 TFSI models, as even this is pretty good at the fuel pumps, offering claimed fuel consumption of nearly 50mpg.

Which Toyota is equivalent to Audi A3? ›

A3 vs Corolla Comparison Overview
Key HighlightsA3Corolla
PriceRs. 29.21 LakhRs. 9.01 Lakh
Engine Capacity1395 cc1794 cc
Power148 bhp-
1 more row

Which is better Audi A3 or BMW 2 Series? ›

In comparing the Audi A3 to the BMW 2 Series, the Audi A3 has the advantage in the areas of new vehicle base pricing, typical lower range of pricing for one- to five-year-old used cars, and fuel efficiency. The BMW 2 Series has the advantage in the areas of interior volume and base engine power.

Which is a better car Audi A3 or Audi A4? ›

The A4 is sportier inside, with a dash that's driver-facing, takes cues from the Audi TT, and is sleek and angular. It's also bigger than the A3, so it's more spacious for passengers. For driving colleagues in a car that feels like an opulent office on wheels, then the A4 is likely the right car.

Which Audi A3 is most economical? ›

The most efficient Audi A3 Sportback is the 35 TDI diesel which returns 62.8mpg and emits 119g/km CO2. An even more efficient diesel engine, the 30 TDI, is on its way. The 35 TFSI petrol, meanwhile, returns 48.7mpg and emits 132g/km CO2 under official tests.

Is Audi A3 good for long drive? ›

Even though Audis are regarded as luxury cars, they do tend to have good mileage over long distances. For example, the 2022 Audi A3 sedan can get you up to 29 mpg for city driving and a good 32 mpg for highway driving. The A3 is one of the most fuel-efficient models that run on gas.

Is Audi A3 cheaper than A4? ›

The A4 is the next step up in the Audi lineup in terms of size, cost and features. Its larger back seat makes it a far more practical sedan. You also get a few more available luxury and technology features. You will pay for it, however, since an A4 costs thousands more than an A3.

Is Audi discontinuing the A3? ›

The Audi A3's future

This fourth-generation Audi A3 is expected to stick around until 2027 but from then on the automotive climate may have dictated the direction in which it goes. We already know that the last ICE model introduction will happen in 2025.

How long are Audi orders taking? ›

How long does a special order usually take? Special ordering takes longer than buying a vehicle off the lot—typically around 6 to 10 weeks for the majority of Audi SUVs (which are built in the US) and 8 to 12 weeks for vehicles built in Germany.

Where are Audi A3 built? ›

Neckarsulm, Germany AUDI AG, Audi Sport GmbH

Automobiles have been built for over 100 years at the Audi site in Neckarsulm.

Is Audi A3 a good first car? ›

All in all, the Audi A3 is a safe and steadfast first vehicle for young drivers—but if you're looking for a good first car that you won't have to be afraid about making mistakes in, a non-luxury vehicle may be a better fit.

Are Audis expensive to insure? ›

The average cost to insure a 2022 Audi is $3,413 per year for a full-coverage policy, based on ValuePenguin research. But the price varies depending on which Audi model you're considering and the insurer you choose. The most affordable Audi to insure is the Q3 crossover SUV, which costs $2,768 per year.

Do Audi parts cost a lot? ›

According to RepairPal, the average annual Audi repair cost is $987. This is much higher than the average across all brands, which is $652. Audi's regular maintenance costs are also likely to be a bit higher than most brands because Audis are luxury vehicles that use expensive specialty parts.

Is Audi cheaper than Lexus? ›

The Audi is a little more expensive and performs better, but the Lexus has a classy look and holds excellent safety features. You can feel safe selecting either of these vehicles as an ideal choice for your next luxury car.

Is Audi or Mercedes cheaper? ›

Both models set a benchmark for compact luxury sedans. Let's take a look and see exactly how the 2022 Audi A4 45 TFSI Premium quattro compares with the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C 300 Sedan. Beginning with MSRPs, Audi's 2022 A4 is priced an impressive $3,700 less than the 2021 Mercedes-Benz.

Which is the cheapest luxury car? ›

The Mini Cooper S 3-door hatchback is the most affordable luxury car one can buy in India in 2023, with prices starting from Rs 41.20 lakh (ex-showroom).

Are Audi A3 easy to drive? ›

Although the A3 costs more to buy than some of its rivals, it's an efficient, high-quality car with lots of tech and it's really easy to drive. There are plenty of models available on the second-hand market and the engines are all good, so you can't go wrong with any version.

Does Audi A3 last long? ›

If properly maintained, Audis can last for 10-13 years or as high as 20 years and can run about 1500,000-200,000 miles.

Which is better Audi A3 or BMW 1 Series? ›

Engines and performance

The current A3 is better to drive than its predecessors, so the gap between these two cars has never been closer. However, the BMW still provides a slightly more fun driving experience, while the Audi is a little better when it comes to comfort.

Is Audi A3 expensive to maintain? ›

The average total annual cost for repairs and maintenance on a Audi A3 is $741, compared to an average of $801 for luxury compact cars and $652 for all vehicle models.

Why do people prefer Audi? ›

Even among people who have never driven an Audi, the cars are known for their style. On the outside, Audis are elegant. Driving down the street, they make high performance look easy. Most of all, Audi has managed to craft a conservative design that has broad appeal yet doesn't look old-fashioned.

Which Audi A3 is most efficient? ›

The most efficient engine in the Audi A3 Saloon range is the 1.6-litre TDI diesel, which in its most basic trim has a six-speed manual gearbox and returns 72.4mpg as well as CO2 emissions of 104g/km. When fitted with Audi's quattro drivetrain, emissions increase markedly to 127g/km while economy drops to 60.1mpg.

Will Audi discontinue the A3? ›

The Audi A3's future

This fourth-generation Audi A3 is expected to stick around until 2027 but from then on the automotive climate may have dictated the direction in which it goes. We already know that the last ICE model introduction will happen in 2025.

What is it like to drive an Audi A3? ›

Generally, the A3 is quiet and comfortable to drive, although S Line cars have a lower suspension set-up than the rest of the range – to make them feel more sporty – so these will feel firmer over potholes and rough roads.

Is Audi A3 quiet? ›

The A3 produces less suspension and wind noise than the A-Class, but road noise can be more intrusive at higher speeds, especially with bigger wheels fitted.

Is Audi A3 comfortable? ›

The Audi A3 has always provided premium levels of comfort, even if you opt for the stiffer sports suspension that comes with S line-spec models. The seats are comfortable and the cabin is well insulated from road noise, making the A3 a particularly pleasant place to be.


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