Audi A3 (03 - 13) Owner reviews

No longer on sale

I have owned this car for just under 2 years now, having ordered the model as soon as it was officially released in July 2012. Overall, I'd say that the car is well designed and handles well on the road, and the engine is just powerful enough and strikes the right balance between power and efficiency (expect around 475 miles on a tank of fuel). Additionally, the cabin is good quality (decent plastics and neat metal touches) and seats and driving position are both comfortable. I opted for a few extras, such as the MMI system and B&O sound system, cruise control and hill-hold - whilst not cheap, if you can stretch to these they will make all the difference. However, my biggest criticism of this car is its reliability. I rely on the car for commuting and business driving, but it's been off the road on around 4 occasions to date aside from servicing and recalls. Around 3 months after I took delivery, the starter motor packed in. Audi replaced this noting that it shouldn't have failed on such a new car. Then, the MMI system broke. Again, another trip to the dealership was required. Now, the start-stop has broken (most likely another starter motor fault as it experiences the same symptoms as before) and there's a fault on the clutch. It's still under warranty so should be covered by Audi but it's extremely frustrating when your car sticks in gear or cuts out and can't be restarted in heavy traffic. In conclusion, this is a well-designed car but mine is unreliable.

Paul Casey, October 15th 2014

TFSI SE 3dr

  • Overall verdict2/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG48 mpg

I have owned this car for just under 2 years now, having ordered the model as soon as it was officially released in July 2012. Overall, I'd say that the car is well designed and handles well on the road, and the engine is just powerful enough and strikes the right balance between power and efficiency (expect around 475 miles on a tank of fuel). Additionally, the cabin is good quality (decent plastics and neat metal touches) and seats and driving position are both comfortable. I opted for a few extras, such as the MMI system and B&O sound system, cruise control and hill-hold - whilst not cheap, if you can stretch to these they will make all the difference. However, my biggest criticism of this car is its reliability. I rely on the car for commuting and business driving, but it's been off the road on around 4 occasions to date aside from servicing and recalls. Around 3 months after I took delivery, the starter motor packed in. Audi replaced this noting that it shouldn't have failed on such a new car. Then, the MMI system broke. Again, another trip to the dealership was required. Now, the start-stop has broken (most likely another starter motor fault as it experiences the same symptoms as before) and there's a fault on the clutch. It's still under warranty so should be covered by Audi but it's extremely frustrating when your car sticks in gear or cuts out and can't be restarted in heavy traffic. In conclusion, this is a well-designed car but mine is unreliable.

Paul Casey, October 15th 2014

TFSI 125 SE 3dr

  • Overall verdict2/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG48 mpg

Bought this to replace my 2.0 petrol VW Scirocco (uninsurable for my 17 year old son!). Have found it surprisingly nippy for a 1.4 engine, and it zips round corners pretty well. Getting 40 mpg which is good for me (30mpg in the Scirocco!). Stylish interior, excellent manual gearbox, comfortable seating position, very easy to use MMI system and decent sound. Will probably retrofit parking sensors (should be standard on this quality if car). Sat nav is fine, and voice control works OK. No niggles so far. Very pleased with the purchase.

KEITH pollard, November 27th 2013

TFSI SE 3dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG40 mpg

Bought this to replace my 2.0 petrol VW Scirocco (uninsurable for my 17 year old son!). Have found it surprisingly nippy for a 1.4 engine, and it zips round corners pretty well. Getting 40 mpg which is good for me (30mpg in the Scirocco!). Stylish interior, excellent manual gearbox, comfortable seating position, very easy to use MMI system and decent sound. Will probably retrofit parking sensors (should be standard on this quality if car). Sat nav is fine, and voice control works OK. No niggles so far. Very pleased with the purchase.

KEITH pollard, November 27th 2013

TFSI 125 SE 3dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG40 mpg

Glad to be rid of it after 2 years of false neutrals in the dsg stronic box. New Mechatronic unit fitted, box reprogrammed several times and intermittent false neutral leaving us in mid traffic with no drive on many occasions. Audi tried to fix it but I have spent a lot of time driving an A1 which seemed to have a better dsg tho a rather intrusive B pillar when you have the seat further back , it's quite a contorsion getting in n out. A3 cabriolet was the best solution for us needing a 2 + 1 child set up tho in hindsight should have got a manual golf gti. Paddles gets boring after the novelty wears off, especially when you are not sure what gear you are in. 28mpg not so great and tried constantly to drive around pot holes as the ride could be harsh on 18 inch alloys combined with the hardest seats ever in the coxis region, unbelievably no lumbar adjustment in seats, I think I need a volvo's lovely seats now!

paul long, surrey, October 26th 2013

T FSi S line Special Edition 3dr DSG

  • Overall verdict3/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG28 mpg

Can't find the Sportback review section, so putting it on here. Ours is a Black Edition Sportback 140TDi in white. We've had it for 3 years now and it's been brilliant. The only thing to go wrong has been a wheel bearing, other than that after 35000 miles everything is fine. We sometimes wonder if they put the wrong engine in our car! It's that good. It's the best diesel engine I've driven, and I've driven a few. My previous car was a 5 Series 3.0 diesel - that was excellent but the A3 engine is more refined. It pulls smoothly and quietly throughout the rev range. The ride on the BE with 18" wheels is better than we had expected after reading all the reviews, especially "WhatCar" saying to avoid S Line because of the poor ride. It's not poor at all. It is obviously a little firm, but certainly not uncomfortably so. The interior quality is superb, apart from the piano black trim which scratches too easily. The stereo is also decent. The seats are supportive and comfortable, a trip from the Midlands to France was a breeze. The trip computer is showing a lifetime average of 48 mpg, which is rather impressive. I recently took a trip to Kent, around 160 miles. I took it as easy as I could, even drafting a few lorries! I averaged 73mpg for that journey! We would either keep this car or swap for another A3 as it's due for renewal (Company Car), but a dog and growing kids mean it's a bit too small now. Tried an A4 estate but not that much bigger, and the offset pedals were awfu

Phil Read, May 16th 2013

TDI Black Edition 3dr [Start Stop]

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG48 mpg

Hello to you all, I have just traded in my BMW 320I M-Sport for an Audi S3 quattro and so far everything is good. I drove the car to Scotland from the Midlands and it handled well in all conditions. Its fast, very fast and one could amass 12 points in no time at all if not careful. I think it will be a bit gutsier on fuel than the BM was but that is understandble when you think it does have a turbo. Other than that its comfier to sit in with clear well positioned controls and dials and has a brill radio system fitted. One thing that does disappoint and its only a small issue it has no parking sensors fitted, yes I know they are an optional extra but one would think in this day and age this type of car should have them fitted as standard?? Its a little bit more expensive to insure but HEY its in a higher group so horses for courses Hopefully things will stay good and I like reading all the reviews they are very helpful when trying to decide on what car to go for next! Alex

ALEXANDER CRAIG, Highland, November 22nd 2011

FSI 3dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

Had the company car for 18 months now, has been 100% reliable (touch wood!) It's comfortable on long journeys and can't fault the economy. It's leased so don't know the service costs, but does 18/20k between services, 35k set of tires so not bad. Wish I'd test driven before choosing as given the chance again I'd certainly go for a 2 litre as there is a world of difference in performance. I had the 170bhp s-line for a day as courtesy car, really didn't want to give it back - that's the one you should choose if money allows.

alan bliss, warwickshire, February 20th 2009

TDi Sport 3dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive3/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG53 mpg

John Rowan, North Lanarkshire: funnily enough I had a similar experience with my local audi dealer! The salesman was completely disengaged with me that i felt i must have been a complete daft dropping on him 20k for my brand new a3 se 2.0 170! I visited the perth dealer the following day and felt fully happy with my purchasing experience. I can't rate the car yet but surely will do it as soon as i get my new car (mid march) so watch this spot!

Marco Rossi, January 2nd 2009

TDi 170 SE 3dr

  • Overall verdict3/5
  • What it's like to drive3/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality3/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

This was bought as a second smaller car for the household the other car being a 5 year old A4. Went for the A3 as we were so please with the A4 which has been faultless for its 5 years. Generally a good competent all round car with reasonable specification. With the 1.6 engine its certainly no race car and push it past 75mph on the motorway and things get noisy so it could really do with a 6th gear. Its not been as reliable as the A4 as it has required a new clutch with less than 10,000 miles but was covered by warranty, also the finish on parts of the centre console began to flake but again this was replaced under warranty. Fuel economy is diappointing with our 2.0 fsi A4 easily managing more MPG but this might be due to the 1.6 having to be worked harder to get it moving. Would probably recommend going for at least the 1.6fsi instead. Overall though a good alternative to the astra, golf and focus.

Mark Caldwell, Lanarkshire, November 18th 2008

S Line 3dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive2/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality2/5
  • Average MPG35 mpg

Having changed my job I needed to get a small practical diesel as I would be travelling over 500 miles every week. I traded my 328 BMW Coupe in for a 1.9TDI A3 which was a huge mistake. The car has never been right since I bought it with more rattles and squeaks appearing every week. The ESP light has stuck on and the steering has got gradually more unresponsive with every drive, the suspension bobs round corners in a terrible way and the wheels shudder. Audi dealers are idiots as far as I’ve dealt with, even being unable to give me a courtesy car. I really wish I had never bought the car and should have just kept my fuel guzzling BMW, I would never advise anyone to buy an Audi as by far this is the worst car I have ever owned. Audi owner ship has made me angry, and my drive to work every day makes me think ever more "WHY DIDN'T I JUST KEEP MY BMW"

Ryan Mutch, Aberdeenshire, November 10th 2008

TDi 3dr

  • Overall verdict1/5
  • What it's like to drive1/5
  • Running costs1/5
  • Quality3/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

Re: Matt Barratt's comment on the diesel particulate filter system. I have had my A3 TDI 1.9 for two months now. I use the car for my job which has me covering a large area and average 4 - 6 motorway journeys per day. Regardless of this the warning light for the particulate filter comes on every 200 miles(every few days). It is not easily unblocked, taking third gear at high speeds on the motorway for upwards of twenty minutes, sometimes even that does not cause the light to go out. I have driven two other A3 models and two A4's which I have had as courtesy cars in the few unpleasent weeks since gtting my new A3. Despite the fact that they also had diesel particulate filter systems, none of them caused the same problem so I wouldn't suggest that the problems are due to diesel pariculate system's as a whole, but specifically to the 1.9 TDI. Additionally there was no mention to methat thecar was not suitable for many short journeys when I visited the showroom earlier in the year, this has only come to light since the purchase of the car. As I do not fal int this catagory and instead do daily high speed high rev motorway driving which it seems the car is also not coping with I am left wondering what exactly the car is suitable for.

susan mgovern, November 3rd 2008

TDi 3dr

  • Overall verdict1/5
  • What it's like to drive2/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality2/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

i have a Audi a3 reg feb 04 tdi 2.0 dsg since aug 2006. I have had nothing but problems with this car. during my first year it has been back to audi 6-7 times for one thing or another. going in to limp mode being the most common problem, having to pull over and turn off vehicle so the computer can reset. Its broke down twice this year, same kind of problems, complained to audi. they wasnt intersted. My climate control now doesnt work, electrical apparently. some £500 to fix, last straw yesterday broke down again and was towed to audi in brighton, was told my gear box eletric control unit is now faulty and it will cost £1700 to replace plus labour which is approx £300. All of these problems since i had it and its only 4 years old at 380000 miles. i would never recommend audi to anyone and please if you are thinking about getting one, i would seriouly consider getting something else.

jason young, October 22nd 2008

TDi Sport 3dr

  • Overall verdict2/5
  • What it's like to drive3/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality3/5
  • Average MPG38 mpg

Had the car a couple of months so far been very impressed, also have a Mk5 GT TDI which you would expect to be more or less the same, but I would say the build quality is far better than the golf. everday driving you average around 47-49 mpg, if you take it steady can average upto 54mpg which I think is really good. Opted for the 140 model to get good performance and economy. could not justify the new price, so bought an 18month old model fully loaded with exclusive leather and loads of extras for just over £14 (managing to negotiate £2k of advertised price - buyers market) Negatives - 18" tyres very expensive, long life services is based upon how you drive so dont expect to get 20k or 2years as the most ive heard anyone getting is 16k, cambelt change around 50k and very expensive Positives - Looks the business, fantastic performance and economy, reasonable insurance

Martin Conner, September 22nd 2008

TDI S Line 3dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG50 mpg

I recently changed from a 2005 Astra sporthatch 1.6 SXI, I loved the car, but was wanting something a bit more luxurious, so I went to Audi. I went to Audi dealer, and I was apalled at the service I received from the salesman, an absolute JOKE, would never recommend them. Didn't show any interest in wanting to sell me a car, and was not very forthcoming with why I should be buying it. I was going to nail it on the head, but thought I would go to Perth Audi, where the service was brilliant, defo recomend to Scottish readers. Ordered in April and got car mid June. Gripe I had was when I was waiting for car the "facelift" was announced, but I decided not to cancel as bar lights there was not much change, apart from s-line model going from full leather, to half, not an improvement if ask me. Got the 140 TDI, and it is a great drive. Very nippy and a great car to drive anywhere, whether that motorway or urban roads. Good MPG so far, and this is from a brand new car with some breaking in of the engine required, where I feel more MPG will be attained. I would recommend Audi over the overated BMW anyday!!!

John Rowan, North Lanarkshire, August 10th 2008

TDI S Line 3dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG44 mpg

My partner and i decided to look at a premium car, we simply didnt use both the cars we had, I was using the train and we thought why not. We dismissed the Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus and the VW Golf we went to look at Motorpoint was already sold even though it was on their website and forcourt, still for sale!! A wasted journey, we settled on the Audi A3 2.0 FSI. The car has been great with 2 years free servicing, shame the dealership was poor. the drivers door had parking dings on it. We asked for it to be repaired before collection, not so! we had to take car back, and was touched up with a touch up pen, what the!!?? So after complaining, they had an independent sparyer touch up the car, still poor, finally after getting the Head manager to look at it, he then went off on maternity leave they day we brought the car back in again!! Another manager looked at it and agreed it needed the body shop!! Hurray, eventually the car came back looking great. Shame it took nearly 5 weeks to resolve. good car, lively performance,cup holder has broken, the stereo is poor and 7 months later still no Key Ring from dealer as promised in feburary, and they say we like to build relationships!!?? I recommended the car not the dealer!! Its good but not perfect. Especially for the money paid for it.

Alex Bakermault, west yorkshire, August 5th 2008

FSI 3dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality3/5
  • Average MPG35 mpg

RE: Ian Homer's comment on the Diesel Particulate filter, Audi are explicit that if the car is used only around town on short journeys, or at very low revs then the particulate filter will become clogged. This applies to all modern diesel cars, although it is easily avoided by taking the car for a reasonable drive with some high revs and reasonable cruising speed. This does not have to be often, a blast once a week will be more than enough.

Matt Barratt, Merseyside, July 17th 2008

TDI SE 3dr

  • Overall verdict3/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

A guy i work with took delivery of new A3 TD last month.has driven carefully since until light came up on dash.Has been told there is contamination within exhaust particular filter which has been caused by his driving style therefore not covered by warranty. Audi UK are informing all their dealers to inform customers with this problem the same thing. Surely this can not be the case.

Ian Homer, Suffolk, June 26th 2008

TDI SE 3dr

  • Overall verdict1/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs1/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I owned a 2004 model, in yellow! Fabulous colour, loved the car - bought an ex-demo, so had a few extras included. Although it was a great drive etc, I had a lot of niggly little problems with it, so much so I felt like asking the garage to reserve me a parking space! The breaking point came when I had it serviced, it needed 2 new brake pads and it cost me £600! I then had the 5 door sportback as a company car - this was boring in comparison to the Sport. I drive a BMW 3 Series now and think I'd purchase a BMW instead of the Audi.

Angela Baines, Wales, June 18th 2008

TDI Sport 3dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I have always loved the A3 - I dont think there are many better looking cars on the road, espcially if you have a nice set of alloys. I purchased a late 2005 model in 2006 and am still driving it. You get great power from the 2.0-litre engine, especially noticable when you drive someone else's car, and excellent economy especially in the times of soaring fuel costs. One annoyance though is the automatic servicing light. I had the car serviced once at 22,000 miles then the car told me it needed seviced again at 30,000 miles. Can't complain too much though - I would definitely recommend this car on looks, reliability and performance.

James Connery, Down, April 25th 2008

TDi SE 3dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg