Cost & verdict

Audi A3 Saloon review

Manufacturer price from:£23,530
What Car? Target Price:£21,941
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Audi A3 Saloon
Review continues below...
11 Jun 2015 22:00 | Last updated: 21 Aug 2018 16:17

In this review

Cost & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Audi A3 saloon running costs

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 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 1.5-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-Benz C-Class. Throw in tempting PCP and lease deals, along with impressive CO2 emissions, and it becomes an attractive company car option.

The A3 Saloon has 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; it has only Sport and S line trim levels, and no basic SE. However, that does mean all A3 Saloons are well equipped. Sport trim offers the best value for money and comes with dual-zone climate control, 17in alloys, a 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, as well as full-leather upholstery. The RS3 is similarly plush.

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 automatic lights and wipers.

Audi A3 Saloon

Audi A3 saloon reliability

The A3 Saloon was one of the most reliable executive cars in our latest reliability survey, beating all but the Lexus IS in its class and gaining five stars. Audi as a brand was ranked 12th out of 32 manufacturers.

The car 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 far 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 and security

All A3 Saloons get stability control as standard, as well as front, side and curtain airbags, a driver’s knee airbag 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 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 Research for resistance to being stolen. It also scored four out of five for guarding against being broken into.

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Verdict

Good enough to beat the sensational BMW 3 Series

  • Powerful and efficient engines
  • Excellent blend of comfort and agility
  • Impressive resale values and PCP rates
  • Classy interior
  • Not particularly cheap to buy
  • Boot and rear-seat space bettered by many rivals
  • Firm low-speed ride on some versions
There are 5 trims available for the A3 saloon. Click to see details.See all versions
OUR PICK
Sport
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 comple...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£21,941
Average Saving £1,589
View Trim
S Line
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...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
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£24,358
Average Saving £1,702
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Black Edition
Based on S line with all its features, this adds special 18in alloy wheels, a black styling pack, privacy glass, and the uprated Audi Sound system...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
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£25,196
Average Saving £1,834
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S3
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, l...View trim
Fuel Petrol
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£35,526
Average Saving £2,584
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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...View trim
Fuel Petrol
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£36,968
Average Saving £2,692
View Trim