By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
Somewhere between small wagon and sporty hatchback is the 2013 Audi A3. While its $28,000 starting price doesn't exactly feel entry-level (it can go as high as $40,000 with all the option boxes checked), the A3 isn't supposed to compete with the VW Golf or Subaru Impreza. It's a genuine Audi through and through, filled with luxury features and high-end engineering every bit as real as that found on more expensive Audi models. From its quattro all-wheel drive to its available diesel engine, the A3 is like no compact on the market. Hatchbacks may still struggle to make inroads in America, especially with older buyers, but if there is one car that can change hearts and minds on the subject, it is the 2013 Audi A3.
If you're seeking a compact wagon with the virtues of all-wheel drive or superior fuel-efficiency, there are a number of choices. But, if you want one that also delivers dynamic handling, upscale refinement and an enviable pedigree, the 2013 Audi A3 tops a very short list.
The 2013 A3's $28,000 entry price may seem reasonable, but Audi's pricing structure and abundance of options can swiftly inflate an A3 into the $40,000 range. If you crave a sharp-handling, practical hatchback with a price tag closer to $25,000, the VW GTI or Mazda3 hatchbacks are worthy alternatives.
There are no major changes to the 2013 Audi A3.
Driving Impressions Despite 2013 likely being the final year of its current lifecycle, Audi's 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.
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 not available with the 6-speed manual transmission or the diesel engine.
The 2013 Audi 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. With the rear seats folded, travel options (for two) are unlimited, providing secure, accommodating storage for any number of activity-oriented pursuits.
Despite its entry-level status, the 2013 Audi A3 features a beautifully crafted interior where high-quality materials abound. The base seats are comfortable and supportive, while the aggressive bolstering of the available sport seating keeps the driver on lockdown during spirited driving. Sensible ergonomics and logical placement of controls ensure a user-friendly driving experience. Tight rear legroom is expected with any compact hatchback, and the A3 is no exception. The rear seats feature a 60/40 split design, and although they do not fold completely flat, they do allow for reasonable cargo versatility.
In 2006, the Audi A3 introduced elegant design to the 4-door hatchback segment. The 2013 Audi A3, like every Audi model, possesses Audi's signature Singleframe front grille. However, the A3's overall style is unique. Its coupe-esque roofline combined with an aggressive nose projects a sense of forward motion. The available '18" Sport Package' supplements the A3's aggressive design with 18-inch 5-spoke wheels wrapped with summer performance tires.
The 2013 Audi A3 comes generously equipped at its sub-$30,000 base price. Standard equipment for its base – which Audi calls "Premium" – trim includes dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating surfaces, fog lights, and Audi concert radio with SiriusXM Satellite Radio, 140 watts of power and 10 speakers. Functional equipment includes cruise control, remote keyless entry, halogen headlights, and Audi's Sideguard airbag system.
Audi's Premium Plus model grade adds xenon headlights, an Aluminum Medial inlay in the doors and center console, Bluetooth mobile phone capability, and a power-adjustable driver's seat. Audi's Titanium Sport package provides a lower, firmer suspension for more precise handling, sport seats for better lateral support, and piano black interior trim. Those living – and surviving – in cold climates may desire the Cold Weather package, offering heated seats, mirrors and windshield washer nozzles. Standalone options include Audi's Open Sky panorama sunroof, dark walnut wood inlays, navigation, rear side airbags and roof rails.
Audi's 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is perennially regarded as one of the best drivetrains available in its luxury segment. Producing 200 horsepower between 5,100 and 6,000 rpm, and 207 lb-ft of torque between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm, the turbocharged four is as flexible as it is fast. If you want to maximize your efficiency, Audi's direct injected 2.0-liter clean diesel is a compelling argument for a non-hybrid drivetrain, with adequate power, generous torque (236 lb-ft between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm) and a whopping 42 miles per gallon (EPA highway). We only wish Audi would combine its diesel offering with quattro all-wheel drive.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
200 horsepower @ 5,100-6,000 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
21/30 mpg (manual), 22/28 mpg (automatic), 21/28 mpg (automatic, quattro)
2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
140 horsepower @ 4200 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 mpg
Including destination charges, the 2013 Audi A3 starts just over $28,000. If you opt for the Quattro Premium Plus trim with the S tronic automatic transmission, Titanium Sport Package and navigation system, the price will ascend to just under $36,000. Those longing for the efficiency of diesel (front-wheel drive only) can expect to pay over $36,000 with the typical sprinkling of comfort and convenience options. Be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price for a reliable indicator of what consumers pay in your market area. And while there are other premium priced hatches (the Mini Cooper, Lexus CT 200h and VW GTI are the three most prominent), the A3 stands alone with its diesel option and performance-biased all-wheel drive. Audi's recent upsurge in popularity has led to a considerable rise in residual values, suggesting that A3 resale will perform on a par with VW's GTI, and better than comparable Japanese offerings.
By Eric F on Tuesday, May 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value, safety, comfort"
Cons: "No backup camera"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I purchased a 2015 A3 Premium 1.8T a few weeks ago and am still pinching myself regarding what I paid. I feel that the value for money here is exceptional. The cabin, while sporting a minimalist approach, is spacious, quiet and comfortable. Traveling from Chattanooga to Atlanta over 117 miles, using cruise control entirely, my A3 realized 38.2 MPG. Coming from a smaller car previously, I find the A3 to be a perfect size. Not too big, not too small, just right. I also like that the car comes with a standard 4 year / 50,000 mile warranty. I cannot rate regarding reliability, but first impressions, and 800 miles in, I'm very satisfied with my purchase. The one surprising omission from this car is the lack of a back-up camera. With Audi's focus on safety, this should be standard."
29 people out of 46 found this review helpful
By speedyrunner on Friday, April 04, 2014
I want this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fast, comfortable, quiet, standard features"
Cons: "Little headroom in the rear, confusing MMI system"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Overall, Audi has done a great job with the 2015 A3 sedan! It is quiet (cruising), comfortable,and luxurious with the expected sporty feel of an Audi. The 2.0 quattro accelerates quickly and definitely instills a sense of fast in the driver. On the exterior, it appears aggressive with the body structure and lights. Inside, in the front, it does not appear confusing as the layout is straightforward (including the instruments); in the back, leg space is ample and offers a large trunk. This will benefit those who haul a great amount of items. Most importantly, the major attraction is that it comes with excellent standard features; LED lights (front and back), HD radio, leather seating, sunroof, and many others that frankly, I have forgotten. Many may realize something new inside; the MMI infotainment system. It is great as it retracts into a compartment when not in use and displays EVERYTHING for the car. This is where you can control the modes of the car (dynamic, comfort, etc.), radio, navigation (available package), phone, media (iPod), and social media display. A convenience that benefits the driver is a voice recognition system that is surprisingly accurate. It does take some getting used to though, especially the center console with the switches and handwriting apparatus. It will be confusing at first, but is not impossible to figure out. Another downside to the A3 is the back seat headroom. As a 5' 8" person, my head was almost touching the roof. If you are any taller than me, I would recommend sitting in front. To conclude this review, it is evident that Audi has maintained its reputation for producing great vehicles with this redesigned 2015 A3 and will be a car that I would recommend to someone searching for a decently priced luxury sedan!"
19 people out of 25 found this review helpful
By Good Sport on Thursday, November 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great to drive; hatchback versatility"
Cons: "Premium gas; instrumentation design"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Best thing is the driving experience - it's a little rocketship, with great handling and crisp precise shifting (I own the 6-speed manual). However I find the instrumentation poorly placed and overly complicated. For example the climate controls are way down at knee level, and cramped together at that. While cargo space is ample, the passenger compartment storage leaves something to be desired, with a miniscule glove compartment and no pouches on the seat backs. Another annoyance is that the exterior door handles can only be grasped from underneath. For a "luxury" car I find it disappointing on such points."
17 people out of 28 found this review helpful