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The Audi A3 is a new weapon in the battle for compact luxury buyers. A new family of vehicles that slots in below the A4 lineup, the A3 was introduced first for the 2015 model year as a four-door sedan, and now includes convertible and plug-in hybrid hatchback models, as well as the sporty S3 .
The A3 family has rivals in cars like the Mercedes CLA, the Acura ILX, and BMW's 2-Series coupe and convertible as well as entry-level versions of the 3-Series sedan. Buick's Verano, while not likely to be cross-shopped, offers a turbocharged engine and matches the A3 sedan's size, and the Buick Cascada convertible matches up with the A3 Cabriolet.
With its various powertrains, the Audi A3 is available in sedan and convertible form, and as a five-door hatchback. The most popular will be the sedan body style that houses both the gas A3 powertrains and the sporty S3 model.
The four-door's shape looks familiar to Audi drivers. It's sized and even styled very closely to the original A4, and the 80/90 sedans before it. It's somewhat sporty, without any major miscues or excitement. Dramatic? No, but the A3 has subtle and attractive surfaces and a sharp crease stamped into the lower part of th edoors. A distinctive angle in its rear roof pillars does a good job of hiding the very short rear end. The A3 does look a bit bulbous at the rear, though.
The A3 is a compact car, and one with a relatively low price. The lack of space and comfort still has us thinking twice about the need for its luxury-car badge.
At only 175.5 inches long, with a 103.4-inch wheelbase, the A3 is about six inches shorter than a Benz CLA, though it's a little wider. The A3 does a better job of turning that size into as much space as possible; it has a taller roofline and doors. And still, the A3 seems cramped.
The A3 hits a minimum for refinement at its price point, but doesn't go further. Road noise makes itself known, and the engine can thrum coarsely if you're lugging it at urban speeds.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.