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2018 Audi A3 Overview
The A3 offers premium luxury and convenience as well as an Audi badge in a compact and reasonably priced package. Compared to the sportier S3 and RS3 models, there is more variation in the A3 line, as it is available in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive and as either a four-door sedan, a two-door convertible or a Sportback hybrid that is covered separately. On the outside, the A3 is attractive if somewhat understated, and is available with either 17-, 18- or 19-inch wheels.
Base A3s come standard with front-drive and get just 186 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque out of their transversely mounted 2.0-liter turbo four. Even so, it will do 0-60 in 6.6 seconds. Front-drive A3s also come with a 7-speed automatic gearbox. All-wheel drive versions of the A3, meanwhile, raise things to 220hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and 0-60 naturally drops to 5.8 seconds. The gearbox is a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. A manual version is not available. Even though it’s a fairly hefty turbocharged car, the A3 manages 29 combined mpg in front-drive configuration and 27 combined mpg with all-wheel drive. The convertible model sacrifices a bit of efficiency with 25 combined mpg with all-wheel drive.
The A3 has generally been praised for its crisp handling even if there is a notable amount of body roll through the corners. A Sport Package that adds firmer suspension is available.
Thanks to its Golf underpinnings, the A3 is not cavernous on the inside, especially when looking at the back seat or the trunk. The actual space is attractive and comfortable with the kind of fit and finish you’d expect form Audi. Standard features include 12-way power leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, satellite radio and Bluetooth compatibility, and a reversing camera.
The A3 is available in two trims: Premium and Premium Plus. The A3 is also available as a convertible. The A3 Convertible features a fabric soft top that will fold in just 18 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph, but it stows in the trunk and cuts down the already limited room in there from 12.3 cubic feet to just 9.9.
Optional extras include heated front seats and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo as well as both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The A3 is also available with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, a 12.3-inch configurable instrument screen placed in front of the driver. A Sport Package adds sports seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters and rear seat side airbags.
All 2018 Audi A3s come standard with a rearview camera and automatic emergency braking, and last year’s model got the coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating by the IIHS and five stars overall in federal testing. Buyers will have to pay up for higher trim models to get additional safety features, which include blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitors and active lane control.
Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.
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