Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
Pricing and running costs for the A3 Saloon are roughly in line with equivalent versions of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé and Mercedes A Class Saloon. What’s more, it will cost you a lot less than an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series with the same sort of power and spec, whether you’re buying outright or on PCP finance.
On the other hand, our favourite version of the 3 Series – the 330e plug-in hybrid – makes a much cheaper company car than any A3 Saloon, thanks to its tiny CO2 emissions and plug-in hybrid tax breaks. If you are choosing an A3 Saloon as your next company car, think about petrol rather than diesel – the A3's diesels aren't RDE2 emissions compliant (unlike those of the A Class Saloon), and that means you'll pay a 4% surcharge.
Equipment, options and extras
Entry-level Sport trim is the one we'd opt for; it has pretty much all the standard kit you'll need. You get 17in alloy wheels, cruise control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, power-folding door mirrors, automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control and leather upholstery. It also comes with the infotainment, parking and safety aids we've described already.
S line brings 18in alloys, sporty styling touches and sports front seats, which isn't really worth the extra in our book. Don't forget, you can deselect the S line's stiffer suspension as a no-cost option.
The A3 Saloon comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty and three years’ roadside assistance – basically on a par with the industry norm. And you can pay a little extra to extend your A3's cover for up to five years or 90,000 miles.
We’d be tempted to do so, because Audi doesn’t have a brilliant record when it comes to reliability; it finished 22th out of 31 brands in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey. That is way below BMW (and a lot of non-premium brands, such as Ford, Mazda and Skoda) but still above Mercedes.
Safety and security
Every model has automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane departure warning as standard. Blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and traffic sign recognition are optional.
The A3 Saloon hasn’t been independently tested by the safety experts at Euro NCAP yet, but the Volkswagen Golf, which is very similar underneath, achieved the full five-star verdict. We'll update you with the NCAP rating when it becomes available, but our sources say it's expected to be good, if not quite as good as the A Class Saloon.
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