2015 to Present: Audi A3
Beginning in 2015, the second-generation Audi A3 was released, and offered in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. A high-performance Audi S3 model is sold separately. The standard engine is a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine making 170 horsepower and available with front-wheel drive models only. This model is EPA-rated at 23/33 mpg city/highway and takes premium grade gasoline.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 220 horsepower is also available across the model line. This model is EPA-rated at 24/33 mpg city/highway and uses premium grade gasoline. Additionally, a turbodiesel 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is available, which makes 150 horsepower and is EPA-rated at 31/43 mpg city/highway. The diesel is not available with the convertible.
All Audi A3 editions come equipped with Xenon plus headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, power-adjustable side mirrors, an integrated trunk spoiler and dual exhaust outlets. Inside, all models come with leather seats, a tilt and telescopic steering column, power accessories, a panoramic sunroof and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Premium Plus edition brings in heated side mirrors and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Prestige edition has power-folding side mirrors, an automatic dimming rear mirror, and aluminum door inlays. Interior room is for five, but most useful for four; rear legroom is tight.
Standard safety features include knee-level air bags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, electronic brake-force distribution and stability control. The 2015 edition is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ recipient, which is the IIHS’ highest safety award.
Competing models include the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, Lexus IS 250, Acura ILX and the BMW 2-Series. You might also shop the slightly larger Audi A4 sedan when considering this brand.
Earlier Audi A3 Models
Audi offers the A3 as an entry point for the brand. The first generation A3 offered a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine making 200 horsepower or an optional 3.2-liter V6 gasoline engine making 250 horsepower. The smaller engine came paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission and came standard with front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive was optional, depending on the model year. Models equipped with the larger gasoline engine were all-wheel drive and had the automatic transmission. Beginning in 2010, a 140-horsepower, turbodiesel 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine was made available for front-wheel drive models only and paired with the automatic transmission.