2016 Audi A3 Sedan

Pros: Nimble, sporty handling with decent ride quality; upscale (if understated) cabin; available all-wheel drive; peppy acceleration, especially with 2.0-liter engine

Cons: Limited passenger and cargo room; some drivers dislike Audi MMI infotainment system; premium-grade gasoline is required

CG Says:

For 2016, Audi’s entry-level compact-car lineup adds a plug-in gas-electric hybrid hatchback version called the e-Tron Sportback. The rest of the A3 lineup sees minor updates: A rearview camera, park-assist sensors, heated mirrors and washer nozzles, and aluminum interior trim are now standard on all models, and an S Line appearance package is available on Premium Plus models. The high-performance S3 models see similar updates, along with an available Black Optic performance package that includes adaptive suspension and special trim. The A3 is available in 4-door-sedan or 2-door-convertible form. The S3 comes only as a sedan, and the e-Tron Sportback is available only as a 4-door hatchback. The e-Tron is front-drive only and is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor for a total output of 204 horsepower. The e-Tron has an all-electric driving range of up to 17 miles (its electric motor puts out 102 hp on its own). The conventional A3’s base engine is a 170-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder; the step-up choice is a 2.0-liter four which is available only with AWD and makes 220 horsepower in the A3 and 292 in the S3. All A3/S3 engines are turbocharged and come standard with a 6-speed automated manual transmission that works much like an automatic. A 2.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder was previously available, but it is discontinued (at least temporarily) in the wake of Volkswagen and Audi’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. The A3 significantly undercuts the base prices of Audi larger A4 compact lineup and offers a similarly invigorating driving personality, albeit in a smaller, slightly less versatile package. If you can live with the cozy passenger- and cargo room, the A3 is an excellent premium compact. The S3 offers even zippier performance, but at a fairly steep price premium. The e-Tron Sportback offers the cargo-versatility benefits of a hatchback body style (which we hope Audi eventually sees fit to offer on the rest of the A3 line) and superior efficiency for a reasonable price premium and only minor sacrifices in all-around performance.

The Facts
Class Premium Compact Car
Body Style(s) 4-door sedan, 2-door convertible, 4-door hatchback
Passenger Count 5, 4
Drive Wheels front or all-wheel drive
Manufacturer Audi
Nation of Manufacture Germany, Hungary
Base Prices 1.8T Sedan: $30,900
AWD 2.0T Sedan: $34,200
1.8T Cabriolet: $36,600
2.0T Cabriolet: $39,600
AWD S3 Sedan: $42,500
e-Tron Sportback: $37,900

Base Engine
1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower
170
Std. Transmission
6-speed automated manual
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
23-24
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
33-35

Optional Engine
2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower
220 (292 in S3)
Std. Transmission
6-speed automated manual
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
23-24
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
31-33

Optional Engine
turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder/electric
Horsepower
204 total
Std. Transmission
6-speed automated manual
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA Combined Range (mpg)
35-39
EPA Combined Range (MPGe)
83-86

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2016 Audi A3 Cabriolet
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2016 Audi S3 Sedan
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2016 Audi A3 e-Tron Sportback