Audi A3 Saloon Review & Prices
The Audi A3 Saloon is a classy, high tech four-door that is also great to drive. Audi’s A3 Sportback is the more practical choice, though
Find out more about the Audi A3 Saloon
The Audi A3 Saloon is a sleeker-looking version of the Audi A3 Sportback hatchback, with a lower rear roofline and a shallower boot that stretches further beyond the back wheels. If you like the way it looks and its premium cabin, you’ll also like the Mercedes CLA and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe.
Buying one of these saloons is a bit like living in a treehouse: it looks cooler but a three-bed semi (i.e. a hatchback or estate) is more practical. Still, the A3 Saloon comes with the sportiest interior you’ll find in any Audi this side of the R8 supercar. It looks absolutely fantastic, with sweeping horizontal lines, a wraparound design and hexagonal air vents that look like they’ve been pinched off a Lamborghini.
Sure, the materials don’t quite feel supercar-posh in places, but overall the A3 is a pretty premium place to sit.
Compared with the previous A3, the latest car gets a lot more tech and feels sportier to sit in. You sit lower down than before and the sports seats you get in S Line models have lovely Alcantara trim and give plenty of support.
As with the A3 Sportback, space in the back of the A3 Saloon isn’t exactly generous – tall adults might find their heads touching the roof, but at least there’s plenty of knee room. The dark headlining you get in S Line models can make it feel a bit dingy back there too, but there’s the option of a panoramic glass roof if you want to let a lot more light in.
Though it’s bigger on paper, the Saloon’s boot is actually less practical than the Sportback’s. Its shallower shape and more restricted access makes life a bit harder if you regularly load up the boot.
The A3 Saloon has its own distinctive look that many will prefer, but if you're often filling the boot then the Sportback model will be the one of you
You can choose from several engines for your Audi A3 saloon. Petrol options are a 1.0-litre 110hp engine badged 30 TFSi, and a 1.5-litre 150hp unit in the 35 TFSi. There’s just one diesel, a 2.0-litre with 150hp in the 35 TDi.
If you want something sportier, you can opt for the very fast S3 or absolutely ballistic RS3 models. The S3 has a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that develops 310hp, while the RS3 has a 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine that produces a stonking 400hp.
In general, the A3 is quiet and comfortable to drive, though S Line models have a firmer suspension set-up than the rest of the range. That makes them feel sportier to drive, but the ride isn’t as good over rough roads. To compensate, models with 150hp or more get more advanced rear suspension that better rides over bumps.
So, the Audi A3 Saloon is great to drive, has a high quality interior and comes stacked with the latest tech. Just be aware that a 2 Series is more fun to drive and Audi’s own A3 Sportback is a more practical choice.
If that’s all good, then check out our A3 Saloon deals to get a great price on a new car, or browse the latest used A3 Saloons from our network of trusted dealers. You can also have a look through other used Audis, and when it's time to sell your current car, you can do that through carwow too.
The Audi A3 Saloon has a RRP range of £28,150 to £41,140. However, with carwow you can save on average £1,333. Prices start at £26,878 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £297. The price of a used Audi A3 Saloon on carwow starts at £15,998.
Our most popular versions of the Audi A3 Saloon are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|30 TFSI Sport 4dr S Tronic||£28,413||Compare offers|
There are three trim levels available on the A3 Saloon – Sport, S Line and Edition 1. The further up the range you go, the sportier the car’s styling is. The S3 and RS3 are marketed as separate models, so we’re not covering them here.
Engine choices are 1.0- and 1.5-litre petrols or a 2.0-litre diesel, called 30 TFSI, 35 TFSI and 35 TDI respectively. Though confusing the numbers are devised to represent how much power the engines have. Here, 30 equals 110hp and 35 equals 150hp. The petrol engines are available with a manual or automatic gearbox; the diesel is automatic only.
Saloon-shaped small family cars like this A3 were once pretty common. Now, there are few available in the UK, A3 included. The closest alternatives to the A3 Saloon are the Mazda 3 and Mercedes A-Class saloons. There’s also the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes CLA, which are more like four-door coupes than a ‘traditional’ saloon.
Of those alternatives, the Mazda costs the least, undercutting the Audi by a few hundred pounds. The rest cost several thousand more.
The Audi A3 Saloon gives a comfortable ride and feels safe and secure to drive, although a BMW is more engaging and a Mercedes more comfortable
The A3 Saloon is a compact size, so you can nip around town without having to worry about whether it’ll fit through whatever gap you’re negotiating. Being a saloon, the back end is further beyond the back window than in a hatchback, so bear that in mind when parking. Fortunately, you can have rear parking sensors or a reversing camera (not both, weirdly).
The driver’s seat adjusts forwards and backwards, and up and down, as does the steering wheel, so it’s easy to find a good driving position. The only issue is that, if you position the steering wheel low down, it can block your view of the dials. Visibility out of the car is very good, though.
Sport models give a nice, soft ride. The suspension in S Line and Edition 1 models is firmer so you feel bumps and holes in the road more. But it’s far from uncomfortable.
The 30 TFSI petrol is most efficient in town. It’s relatively low power doesn’t matter much there, either. The more powerful engines have more get go, but use more fuel. Add in light steering, a slick manual gearbox or smooth automatic and the A3 Saloon is entirely hassle-free to drive in town.
On the motorway
The A3 Saloon is a fine long distance cruiser. You’d have to concentrate really hard to notice any significant difference to the bigger Audi A4. It’s quiet and comfortable, and feels resolutely stable from behind the steering wheel. Drive for six hours and you should get out feeling none the worse for it.
If you regularly do long journeys, the diesel engine makes most sense. It has power to spare and will do 60mpg without much effort. If you only occasionally go on motorways, either petrol/ engine will crack along at 70mph happily enough. However, the less powerful 30 TFSI can feel strained if you have a full load of passengers and/or luggage.
The Mercedes A-Class Saloon is more relaxing to spend many hours in, but we’re talking fine margins here.
On a twisty road
The A3 Saloon feels pretty good to drive on a twisty road. The steering is responsive and precise, there’s loads of grip and the body barely leans over in corners. The 35 TFSI and 35 TDI models have sophisticated rear suspension which soaks up bumps better than the simpler set-up on the 30 TFSI model. In practice, that means the more powerful cars feel a bit more stable and reassuring at higher speeds.
Put all of that together and the A3 Saloon (in any form) is a very safe, secure car. You can have a good time but you still feel like the car’s operator, whereas the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe gives you more of a feeling of connection to the car.
The A3 Saloon has loads of passenger space and a big boot, but a hatchback is ultimately more practical
There’s pretty generous space in the front of the A3 Saloon. Anyone under about six feet two will have plenty of leg, head and shoulder room. The steering wheel can block your view of the dials, so you may have to position it somewhere less than ideal to see them. Or switch the driver’s display to show numbers, rather than dials.
For storage, the door bins can hold a litre bottle and your wallet. There’s a small cubby hole under the centre armrest and a space in the centre console with fold-out cupholders. Your phone goes in a tray in front of the gearstick, which doubles as a wireless charging pad in some models. Plus a little cubby to the left of the steering wheel, and the glovebox has space for the car’s manual and a couple of packets of biscuits.
Space in the back seats
There’s a smidge less headroom in the back of the A3 Saloon than there is in the hatchback A3 Sportback, but six-footers fit without brushing their head against the ceiling. There’s plenty of leg and knee room for them, too. Getting three adults in the back is a bit of a squeeze, but that’s true of every car this size, and a family of four will have few complaints. The ISOFIX mounts are easy to get to, but the door opening is a bit small which can make installing child seats – and children – a bit tricky.
For storage there’s decent size door bins and cupholders in the armrest right where your elbow goes. There’s also a 12-volt charging socket.
Overall, the A3 Saloon is more spacious than the BMW and Mercedes alternatives, though not by much.
With a capacity of 425 litres, the A3 Saloon’s boot is about 15% bigger than that of the A3 Sportback. It’s a good square shape and you can get a few big suitcases in there. The back seats fold down for more space, but the boot opening is quite small so it’s more of a pain to load than the Sportback would be. There’s a couple of extra storage spaces to the sides, but you don’t get the Sportback’s height adjustable boot floor.
Looking at the alternatives, the Mercedes CLA has the biggest boot at 440 litres, so it’s the better choice if practicality is a priority. There's also an estate-like Shooting Brake version with 485 litres. The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is on par with the A3 with just five litres extra.
Good quality and nice infotainment, although some materials lower down the cabin feel cheaper than those on show up top
The interior of the A3 Saloon has a nice, clear layout but the actual design is a little fussy. Especially in front of the driver, where there are angular air vents positioned oddly high up. Material quality isn’t what we’d expect of an Audi, either. The upper dashboard surfaces, the steering wheel and all the buttons have a suitably premium feel, but below that some materials are a bit cheap and scratchy.
Every A3 Saloon model has a 10-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system that’s responsive and clear, though the graphics are quite dark. Features in the system include sat nav with 3D maps and live traffic updates, DAB radio, Bluetooth and assorted apps that can give live updates on fuel prices and parking charges. Or you can connect your phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Other standard features include a digital driver’s display that shows all sorts of information including full screen sat nav maps, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and USB-C charging ports.
The Sport, S Line and Edition 1 models have broadly the same features. The latter two are distinguished by different exterior and interior styling details. Edition 1 models also have heated front seats and a wider digital driver’s display.
According to the official numbers, every A3 Saloon model can give fuel economy of at least 50mpg, and it’s worth noting that automatic models are more efficient than manuals. The 30 TFSi petrol has an official figure of 51mpg with a manual or 56mpg with an automatic, the 35 TFSI 50mpg with a manual or 51mpg with an auto and the auto-only 35 TDI diesel hits 62mpg.
You might not see those numbers in the real world but, even so, the A3 Saloon’s fuel economy is right on the money.
CO2 emissions range from 121-137g/km, so vehicle excise duty costs £165 a year once the car is a year old. The A3 Saloon’s list price sneaks under the £40,000 threshold for extra charges applied to high value cars. However, it is possible to breach that threshold if you choose a few options.
If you’re a company car buyer, you’ll probably be in the market for a plug-in hybrid. While the A3 Saloon isn’t available in that form, the A3 TFSIe Sportback is. If you’d still prefer a saloon, check out the Mercedes A250e and CLA250e.
Euro NCAP awarded the A3 Sportback a full five rating which can be applied to the A3 Saloon. It scored strong marks for protecting adult and child occupants in the event of a crash, and is fitted with some useful safety features. They include automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and collision avoidance assist, which sounds a warning if a crash is imminent and helps the driver manoeuvre around the hazard. Edition 1 models also have matrix LED headlights which illuminate as much of the road as possible without dazzling other drivers
Audi has a solid reputation for building reliable cars. We’re not aware of any particular problems with the A3 that might put you off buying one. There has only been one minor recall that affected just 11 cars in the UK, which is reassuring. Audi provides an industry standard three-year/60,000 mile warranty.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.