Audi A3 Saloon (2013 - present)

The compact Audi A3 Saloon makes a strong case for itself compared with the larger Audi A4

Strengths & Weaknesses


Looks good
Interior feels well made
Back seats fold down


Premium badge means premium prices
Media system could be slicker
Limited choice of models
Best finance deal

Audi A3 Hatchback (2012-2016) 1.4 tfsi 125 sport 3dr s tronic

Finance price £145 per month

Cash price £9,400

Audi A3 Saloon prices from £10,498   Finance from £179 per month

This saloon version of the Audi A3 hatchback is a relatively new concept. It was only made available to Britain’s drivers in mid-2013, as the company sought to replicate the popularity of its larger A4 saloon sibling at a lower price point.

It’s now approaching the end of its life cycle and as a result the range of trims levels and engines isn’t as expansive as it was at the time of the car’s introduction, there are three diesel options but only a single petrol to choose from. For those seeking a small saloon with a smart image though, that’s unlikely to be a problem, as it remains a fundamentally good car. Plus, used car buyers now benefit from plenty of choice, with more affordable older models and more stylish newer models to choose from.

Competing with the more up-to-date Mercedes CLA, the A3 saloon range costs from £26,735, with three trim levels to choose from; the entry-level Sport, mid-range S Line (£28,885) and the flagship Black Edition model (£30,325).

The engine range has been scaled back for new models, so there is now only one petrol unit, referred to as the 40 TFSI. It’s a 2.0-litre, 190hp four-cylinder unit and is only available with an automatic and quattro four-wheel drive.

There’s more choice for drivers who want a diesel-powered model, with 30 TDI, 35 TDI and 40 TDI versions, and manual or automatic gearboxes as well as the option of Audi’s quattro system. For the lowest prices, emissions and fuel economy, it has to be diesel with this car.

It’s a handsome saloon and that impression of style continues inside the car. The A3 might be getting on in years, but its dashboard’s design has aged well. That’s because it’s relatively simple, with a minimalistic layout that ensures it’s both intuitive to live with and easy on the eye.

Compared with any other new Audi and key rivals such as the Mercedes CLA, there are areas where the A3 saloon is showing its age. For example, the media system has a screen that can be lowered into the dashboard at the touch of button, but because it’s only seven inches in size, it can prove a bit of a strain on the eye when trying to decode sat-nav instructions.

Sensibly, however, while many rivals have media systems that can only be used through a touchscreen, this system has a rotary controller, located down near the gearstick. This is far less distracting for the driver to use while on the move, though this may confuse passengers initially, as they’ll instinctively reach out to make adjustments. However, despite this, the Audi media system is logical to operate and you can easily control a number of the car's functions through steering wheel controls and a display between the car's dials.

If you want to do more through the wheel, you can order the optional Virtual Cockpit, which offers even more options, as you can display sat-nav maps and music information within the driver’s digital instrument cluster and change settings quickly and easily.

The rest of the controls and features are straightforward, especially the climate control system. And you’ll be sitting comfortably, as the seat and driving position adjust every which way and the seat itself offers good support.

It’s not quite the same story in the back seats. That’s because headroom is restricted, so average height adults will find their head is touching the roof and anyone taller will have to kink their neck to one side, so if you need to carry passengers on a regular basis, that could be an issue.

Still, high-back child seats fit without a problem, while the level of legroom is reasonable as feet fit comfortably under the chairs in front. But three people abreast the back seat will be a squeeze. An Audi A4 is significantly more spacious.

Compared with the A3 Sportback, the saloon has a larger boot. It carries 425 litres of luggage, which is 60 more than the hatchback. But if you pick a model with quattro four-wheel drive, that drops to 390 litres. The back seats split and fold 60/40, but their drop function is only accesible from inside the car itself - nothing deal breaking, just something to be aware of. Needless to say, it can’t carry as much clobber as the hatchback in this respect, because you can't load up to the roof in the boot as you can in the hatchback.

In terms of driving experience, the saloon is perhaps even better than what you get with the hatchback. Its body is stiffer, helping the car feel a fraction more precise on the road, especially the steering response, while the suspension gives stable roadholding even if the ride comfort proves slightly on the firm side and tyre noise isn’t as hushed as some might like.

In Euro NCAP crash tests, performed in 2012, the A3 hatchback (which offers fundamentally the same level of protection as the saloon in the event of a forward-facing impact) was awarded a maximum five-star rating, scoring 95% for adult protection and 87% for children. There are two ISOFIX mounting points for child seats on the outer rear seats. Do remember, however, tha the crash test procedure has become much more challenging over the last few years, so while the A3 is safe, cars that have scored five stars more recently may be significantly safer - especially when it comes to crash avoidance technology, which now contributes to car's safety scores.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 10:15

Key facts 

Three-years, 60,000 miles when new
Boot size: 
From £170 to £210 in first year; £145 a year after

Best Audi A3 for... 

Audi A3 saloon Sport 30 TDI
With the potential for up to 65mpg, the 2.0-litre diesel is as frugal as things get in the A3 saloon range
Audi A3 saloon S Line 35 TDI manual
You get all the performance, frugal fuel economy and equipment you need with the S Line 35 TDI. Stick with the manual gearbox; the S tronic automatic isn’t very good with this engine and adds to the cost
Audi A3 saloon Black Edition 40 TSI quattro S tronic
The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine in the 40 TSI offers 190hp and powers this four-wheel drive model from 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds.
Audi A3 saloon Black Edition 40 TDI quattro S tronic
We’d give the 184hp diesel a miss, given how well-rounded the more affordable 150hp version is, and because it only comes with quattro and S tronic, which both add substantial cost and aren't necessary unless you really need them and willing to pay a significant premium


  • June 2013 Audi A3 saloon goes on sale in UK
  • March 2014 Powerful S3 version joins the saloon range
  • April 2016 Facelift for Audi A3 saloon range

Understanding Audi A3 car names 

  • A3
  • Trim
    S Line
  • Engine
    35 TDI
  • Gearbox
    S tronic
  • Trim
    This is the mid-range level, offer a sporty look and drive, but without some of the luxury kit of the Black Edition models
  • Engine
    The 2.0-litre TDI is a diesel unit and the best-selling motor in the range. TDI signifies diesel, TSI indicates it’s a petrol engine. When referring to the power of the engine, this is given as 35, indicating it’s the 150hp version.
  • Gearbox
    If no gearbox is specified, the A3 Saloon is likely to have a manual gearbox, while S tronic refers to the automatic option available on certain models

Audi A3 Engines 

2.0 TSI 190 petrol; 1.6 TDI 116, 2.0 TDI 150, 2.0 TDI 184 diesel





Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

30 TDI




10.4 secs


35 TDI




8.6 secs


40 TDI quattro S tronic




6.8 secs


40 TSI quattro S tronic




6.2 secs


As the A3 saloon is soon to be replaced, Audi is phasing out much of the engine range, so it offers a streamlined line-up for new models.

That means that there’s only one petrol-powered engine available in 2019. Called the 40 TFSI, it’s a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 190hp. It only comes in flagship Black Edition trim, with quattro four-wheel drive and an S tronic automatic gearbox.

It delivers brisk performance, with 0-62mph taking 6.2 seconds and overtaking slower traffic is dealt with swiftly and safely. Plus, thanks to the four-wheel drive, its power never overwhelms the grip of the tyres. However, fuel economy is 44mpg at best.

The most affordable engine is the 1.6-litre diesel engine. This turbocharged TDI unit is no great ball of fire, but those who simply want the most affordable A3 saloon will find it’s responsive enough for most driving conditions, and can achieve up to 64mpg and emits 115g/km.

Arguably the best all-round engine in the run-out A3 saloon range – and the most frugal - is the tried and tested 2.0-litre TDI. With 150hp and plenty of muscle low in the rev range, it gives good response in all situations. The 0-62mph dash takes 8.6 seconds, while fuel economy is 65mpg and CO2 emissions are 113g/km.

You could pick the higher-powered 2.0-litre TDI, but in a car of this size and weight there’s not a great advantage to spending the extra money to have 184hp and 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds compared with the 150hp engine, which isn't much slower in reality. Also it only comes with quattro four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox.

Audi A3 Trims 

Sport, S Line and Black Edition

If you want the best value for money then the less powerful engines in Sport trim are the place to start your search for an A3 Saloon. Sport models come with dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, part-leather trim, cruise control, a 7.0i-inch media system screen with DAB radio, Bluetooth, smartphone connectivity and mirroring (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers.

The two other trim levels are S Line and Black Edition. S Line trim is focused on sporty looks; you get 18-inch wheels, a bodykit, LED headlights with fancy-pants LED ‘dynamic’ rear indicators, which progressively light up to point in the direction you're heading, part-leather upholstery and stainless-steel pedals. There’s also a flat-bottom steering wheel, a host of styling features inside and firmer sports suspension. However, those after a more comfortable ride can specify a the standard suspension setup for no extra cost. The Black Edition offers purely cosmetic changes compared with S Line for a meaner look.

Audi A3 Reliability and warranty 

With new cars, Audi provides a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty that’s unlimited for miles in the first two years. There’s also three years of paint cover and 12 years cover against rust.

Despite feeling a quality product when you sit in it, the Audi A3 isn’t without problems, say owners. In the Auto Express 2018 Driver Power survey, the A3 range finished mid-table, coming 46th out of 75 cars. Just over 20% of owners reported one or more problems with their A3 in the first year of ownership.

Used Audi A3 

There have been changes to the A3 saloon range since it was launched in mid 2013. That means used car buyers have rather more choice than anyone buying a brand new model.

At the time of writing, there are more than 170 used A3 saloons to browse on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from less than £11,000, for 2014 models, to £36,000 for nearly-new 2019 versions of the hot S3.

Initially, there were two petrol engines. The entry-level unit was a 1.4-litre with 140hp and a 1.8-litre with 180hp. The 1.4 was clever because it could shut off cylinders when cruising at a steady speed, such as on a main road, saving fuel in the process. Audi reckoned it was good for 60mpg in its day, compared with 50mpg for the 1.8-litre unit.

The diesel engine initially offered was the 2.0-litre 150hp motor, which managed up to 68mpg. Those after more power should search out the S3. The quattro model boasted a 300hp, 2.0-litre turbo unit and made the saloon seriously sporty, with 0-62mph taking just 4.9 seconds.

In the summer of 2016, the 1.8-litre petrol engine was dropped in favour of a more powerful 2.0-litre TFSI unit, while an entry-level 1.6-litre diesel and high-powered 2.0-litre TDI were added. The S3 gained slightly more power, too, taking it up to 310hp.

Other Editions

  • Audi A3 (2012-present)
    Upmarket family hatchbacks don't come much smoother, solid, or as tech-laden as the Audi A3