Audi has used a combination of aluminium and high-strength steel to help keep weight down, and every model comes with engine stop-start technology. These measures ensure that the A3 Saloon’s fuel economy and CO2 emissions are up there with the best in the class. The diesels, especially the 1.6 TDI, are most frugal, but if you prefer petrol then the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol is pretty good as well.
The A3 Saloon’s list prices aren’t cheap, but they’re lower than those of larger rivals such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. Throw in tempting PCP and lease deals, and impressive CO2 emissions, and it becomes an attractive company car option.
A3’s have excellent resale values, too, so private buyers could also find it a slightly cheaper option than many rivals over three years.
Depending on what sort of journeys you usually do, service intervals can be up to every two years or 19,000 miles.
Audi A3 Saloon equipment
Audi has pitched the A3 Saloon further upmarket than its hatchback stablemates, with only Sport and S line trim levels, and no basic SE. However, that does mean that all A3 Saloons are well equipped. Sport trim offers the best value for money, and comes with dual-zone climate control, 17in alloys, DAB radio, voice control and Bluetooth.
Step up to S line and you get 18in alloys, a bodykit, part-leather seats and LED headlights with LED daytime running lights.
The S3 is a standalone high-performance model, but it comes with 19in wheels, bespoke suspension settings and body styling, and full-leather upholstery.
There’s an extensive options list, but nothing comes particularly cheaply, so you’ll need to be careful to avoid adding a hefty percentage to your final bill. You may want to add one or two carefully chosen optional extras, though, such as rear parking sensors, and automatic lights and wipers.
Audi A3 Saloon reliability
The A3 Saloon is too new to have been included in the latest What Car? customer satisfaction survey, but the hatchback versions – mostly from the previous generation, admittedly – didn’t score particularly well.
What Car?’s latest reliability data isn’t particularly encouraging, either; Audi finished in the bottom quarter of the manufacturers featured, just behind Mercedes, Jaguar and BMW, but well adrift of Lexus and Honda.
The A3 comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty and three years’ roadside assistance as standard. That’s decent enough compared with the industry norm, but it’s some way short of the five-year cover offered by Hyundai and Toyota, and way behind the seven-year protection provided by Kia. You can pay extra to cover your A3 Saloon for up to five years or 90,000 miles for a reasonable price.
Audi A3 Saloon safety & security
All A3 Saloons get stability control as standard, as well as front, side and curtain airbags, a driver’s knee ’bag, and a pop-up bonnet that helps to minimise injuries to pedestrians. However, it’s a bit frustrating that Audi’s Pre-Sense system, which includes autonomous emergency city braking to automatically activate the brakes if it detects an impending collision, is an optional extra. Other optional kit includes rear side airbags and lane-keeping assist, which warns you if you start to wander from your lane.
The A3 hatchback received a maximum five-star crash rating from Euro NCAP in 2012, with a particularly strong score for adult crash protection. Euro NCAP says it is satisfied that the A3 Saloon would offer a similar level of protection.
An alarm, deadlocks (which prevent a door from being opened, even if the window is smashed) and an engine immobiliser are fitted as standard, and the A3 Saloon received the maximum five stars from security experts Thatcham for resistance to being stolen. It also scored four out of five for guarding against being broken into.
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The A3 Saloon’s entry-level trim has more than enough kit, with dual-zone climate control, 17in alloys, DAB radio, a 5.8in colour screen, Bluetooth, a USB socket and a leather steering wheel complete with audio controls. It’s worth noting that you can specify a more comfortable suspension set-up for no extra cost; we’d certainly recommend it. We’d also pay extra for rear parking sensors.
S line trim is focused on sporty looks; you get 18in wheels, a bodykit, xenon headlights and part-leather upholstery. It’s worth noting that you can specify a more comfortable suspension set-up for no extra cost; we’d certainly recommend it.
The high-performance S3 is a model in its own right, with a powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and acceleration times that wouldn’t disgrace many a supercar. It gets 19in alloy wheels, lowered and stiffened suspension, a revised steering set-up, full-leather upholstery, heated front seats, a bodykit and aluminium-look door mirrors as standard.
Based on the S Line with all its features, this adds special 18in alloy wheels, a black styling pack, privacy glass, and the uprated Audi Sound system.
S3 Black Edition
As well as all the goodies the S3 gets, the S3 Black Edition adds different 19in alloy wheels, a black styling pack, privacy glass, and a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system.