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Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3

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Audi A3

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Audi A3

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Audi A3

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Audi A3

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Audi A3

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Audi A3

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Audi A3

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Audi A3

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  • Launched in 2020
  • Premium
  • Petrol, Diesel
  • Launch year
    2020
  • Body type
    Premium
  • Fuel type
    Petrol, Diesel

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David Ross

Written by

David Ross

00/10
heycar rating
Classy and stylish compact saloon

Best bits

  • Very quiet and comfortable at motorway speeds
  • High quality and well finished interior
  • Upmarket image and a good alternative to the larger A4

Not so great

  • Boot limits practicality compared to the A3 Sportback
  • Tight for leg room in the back
  • Not the most exciting of things to drive

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Audi A3 Saloon front

Overall verdict

Audi A3 Saloon interior

On the inside

Audi A3 Saloon rear

Driving

Audi A3 Saloon side

How much does it cost to run

Audi A3 Saloon rear

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Audi A3 Saloon

"The A3 Saloon proves that small saloons don't have to be dull. With a sharpish design it stands out more than its hatchback counterpart plus the interior has the same quality appeal as larger Audi saloons. Classy and upmarket, it majors on refinement and comfort, making it ideal as a cheaper alternative to the Audi A4."

Audi A3 Saloon front

Of course the big question is why a saloon? Yes, they do exist apparently. The A3 Sportback - there's no longer a three door - is a popular choice for people wanting a high quality hatchback. It's also practical. And given that small saloons have never been big sellers in the UK, it would seem an odd move to introduce an A3 Saloon. 


But while not an obvious choice, the A3 Saloon has quietly carved out a niche for itself - and indeed it's not alone. Mercedes has the A-Class Saloon and there's the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. And you know that if one of the big German three brands does something, the others won't be far behind...


Switching from the hatchback to a saloon design has been successful we reckon. While small saloons have traditionally been about as attractive as a hospital dinner, this one isn't half bad. In fact we quite like it, those sharp lines mean that at a quick glance, it's hard to tell it apart from an Audi A4. 


Indeed, this is where a big part of its appeal will come from. For owners of an Audi A4 - or even Audi A6 - who are looking to downsize and want something cheaper to run but that still has that upmarket feel, the A3 Saloon could just fit the bill, rather than go for the default small crossover SUV thing.


True, it's not an especially sporty drive, but the A3 Saloon's forte is comfort and refinement, which you'll really appreciate on long motorway trips. Here there's very little difference with an A4, the A3 Saloon proving a relaxed and undemanding car on long journeys. It's what we'd describe as 'grown up'.


It's also sensible when it comes to running costs, with the 35 TFSI, powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine, which has a mild-hybrid system, returning up to 50mpg with the S tronic automatic. This is the combination we think works best in the A3 Saloon, combining smooth performance with good economy. Again, it's not exactly full of thrills, but then again, this is a small sensible saloon. Cake eating and all that.


It's certainly packed with plenty of tech and all models have the Audi Virtual Cockpit as standard along with a top notch 10.1-inch touchscreen. Audi has one of the best infotainment systems around with a sharp display and an intuitive layout. All models get MMI Navigation Plus as standard along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto if you're down with the kids.


And as for the rest of the cabin, Audi has form with designing some of the best interiors around. The A3 Saloon is no exception. The stylish design gives it a modern and upmarket feel, but it's also functional. Those in the back may find leg room on the tight side, but the boot is surprisingly big and you even get folding rear seats.


If you're after a compact saloon with a bit of quality and lots of refinement, the Audi A3 Saloon will tick all the right boxes. Whether we'd choose one over an A3 Sportback is another matter. 


If you're looking for the hatchback version, you'll need our Audi A3 Sportback review

Is the Audi A3 Saloon right for you?

If you want a classy, good looking saloon, the A3 Saloon makes a strong case for itself. Just like the hatchback A3 Sportback it's comfortable and easy to drive, if not that exciting. But what shines through is the quality - if you're downsizing from something like an A6 or an A4, the A3 Saloon has the same upmarket feel to it.


Don't expect the same space of course, you'll find rear leg room on the tight side, but this still very much feels like one of Audi's bigger saloons that's simply been shrunk down. With few around, it's also more exclusive than the A3 Sportback.

What’s the best Audi A3 Saloon model/engine to choose?

Unless you're doing big miles, the 35 TFSI is the best engine to go for. It's a 1.5-litre petrol that's smooth and very easy to drive, especially if you opt for the seven-speed S tronic gearbox which suits it really well.


The 35 TDI is a 2.0-litre diesel with the same 150PS and a mainstay of the Audi range. It's incredibly quiet and refined for a four-cylinder diesel, plus of course it's very economical with a claimed 63mpg. There is also a lower powered 116PS version of the same engine used in the 30 TDI.


Later, Audi added the 30 TFSI which has a 1.0-litre engine with 110PS. It's great for around town and has a surprising turn of pace for a small engine. The entry-level trim is Sport which comes with pretty much everything you need for the money, so it would be our recommendation.

What other cars are similar to the Audi A3 Saloon?

Small saloons haven't traditionally been popular in the UK, mainly because they look terrible and aren't very practical. So you're not awash with rivals, the main one being the Mercedes A-Class Saloon which goes down a similar path of comfort and classiness.


Not to be left out, BMW has the 2 Series Gran Coupe while you could also consider the slightly larger Jaguar XE as a rival. And while not quite in the same premium league, if small four-door saloons are your thing, check out the Honda Civic Saloon and Hyundai i30 Fastback.

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Audi A3 Saloon interior

On the inside

Audi A3 Saloon rear

Driving

Audi A3 Saloon side

How much does it cost to run

Audi A3 Saloon rear

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Is the Audi A3 worth buying?

If you want a classy and premium smaller car, the Audi A3 feels more upmarket than much of the competition with impressive refinement. It's not cheap, but you can see where your money goes.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

How reliable is the Audi A3?

This generation A3 is very new but the old model proved reliable overall and owners gave it a 9.6 out of 10 rating for reliability in the 2020 HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index. The main issues have revolved around the S tronic gearbox.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

Does the Audi A3 hold its value?

Yes, certainly more than mainstream alternatives like the Honda Civic or even the Volkswagen Golf. So while it may not be a used bargain, it should hold its value better than others, with the exception of BMW, Mercedes and MINI.

Russell Campbell

Answered by

Russell Campbell

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