By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 2/24/2012
Blurring the line between hatchback and wagon, the 2012 Audi A3 combines utility and excitement in a compact design. Despite its entry-level price point, the 2012 A3 offers a variety of upscale amenities and drivetrain options. Ample cargo capacity and available all-wheel drive make the Audi A3 one of the most versatile cars on the road. For years, hatchback designs were unappealing to most American car buyers. Lately, however, shoppers are beginning to appreciate the flexibility offered by hatchbacks, and the Audi A3's recent sales figures are a prime example of the market shift.You'll Like This Car If...
If you are looking for a vehicle that mixes practicality with dynamic handling, the 2012 Audi A3 will fit the bill. While there are several sensible alternatives including the Volkswagen GTI and Lexus CT 200h, the 2012 Audi A3 delivers a unique blend of excitement and refinement its competitors simply cannot match.You May Not Like This Car If...
At first glance, the 2012 Audi A3's near-$30,000 base price may appear attractive, however, Audi's pricing structure and abundance of options can swiftly inflate the A3's price well into the mid-$30s. If you are simply in the market for a sharp-handling, practical hatchback with a price tag under $25,000, the VW GTI or Mazda3 hatchback are worthy alternatives.What's New for 2012
After receiving a modest refresh in 2009 and the end of its current lifecycle in sight, the Audi A3 remains virtually unchanged for the 2012 model year.Driving It Driving Impressions
Despite 2012 being in the final year of its current lifecycle, the A3 continues to deliver a desirable balance of comfortable ride and sharp handling. The Servotronic speed-sensitive power steering is appropriately communicative, while the 4-wheel independent suspension is both predictable and controlled. Opting for the sport suspension and 18-inch wheels will add an insignificant amount of harshness to the A3's otherwise composed ride. Regardless of your preference for manual shifting, we recommend you experience Audi's S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission before committing to the 6-speed manual. The dual-clutch automatic is more responsive when on the throttle and provides lightning-quick shifts, while (obviously) being more convenient in stop-and-go driving.Favorite Features
QUATTRO ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
The jury is in when it comes to the benefits of all-wheel drive. In virtually any road condition, dividing the engine's output among all four wheels provides a level of control not available when only two wheels are driven. We only regret that Audi's quattro all-wheel drive setup is no longer available in the U.S. market with the 6-speed manual transmission.
The A3's 5-door configuration almost exponentially expands the utility of the A3 platform. With the rear seats up, you'll enjoy comfortable seating for four, along with 19.5 cubic feet of luggage space for overnight travel. When folded, the travel options (for two) are unlimited, providing secure, accommodating storage for any number of activity-oriented pursuits.