• Car Review

Driven: 2022 Audi A3 Review

By Shawn Furman | June 9, 2022

Vehicle Type: The 2022 Audi A3 is a compact luxury sedan that can seat up to five passengers.

Price Range: The base model 2022 Audi A3 start at $35,895, including destination. A top-of-the-line Audi A3 Prestige with all-wheel drive equipped starts at $44,100 without the addition of the $1,095 destination fee, any dealer charges, or any added options.

Powertrain: With only one powertrain available across all trim levels, buyers’ choices are made easy.

A 201-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

All A3 models also come with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

The latter option adds $2,000 to the bottom line.


What’s New for 2022?

Audi has completely redesigned the 2022 A3 after one skipped model year. In addition to a redesigned exterior and interior, the new A3 benefits from additional standard technology features, more standard safety features, better fuel economy, and a more simplified powertrain lineup than the outgoing generation.

For enthusiasts, the biggest complaint will be that the new A3 only features a 201-horsepower engine, down more than 20 horsepower from the optional 228-horsepower engine available in the 2020 model. This will most likely not matter to most buyers with the more performance-oriented S3 and RS3 models still available.

On top of that, better fuel economy, more tech gadgets to play with, and better safety features, can more than compensate for fewer horses under the hood. Features like Audi’s digital gauge cluster, a 10.1-inch touch screen infotainment system, lane departure warning, and wireless Apple CarPlay are now standard.


What’s Good?

  • For such a small car, the interior is quite roomy and comfortable for both front and rear passengers
  • The infotainment system is one of the most intuitive and easiest to use in the class
  • Fuel economy estimates approach 40 MPG max in front-wheel-drive models with all-wheel drive models not far behind

What’s Bad?

  • Although it is good, interior styling may not be everyone’s cup of tea
  • There is less power available for the 2022 A3 than in the 2020 A3
  • Cargo space is only adequate compared to the competition

Would we buy one? Yes! There are very few truly bad things the A3 brings to the table and that drop in horsepower is only a bummer at worse.


More Photos:

See more 2022 Audi A3 Photos.


Overview:

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The 2022 Audi A3 sedan marks the start of its fourth generation of production, though the first two generations were offered solely as hatchback models. The new model impresses on all fronts with its handsomely redesigned exterior, its excellent interior, its upgraded safety features, its longer tech list, and its stellar fuel economy. Performance is handed off to its Audi S3 and RS3 siblings, but the more down-to-earth A3 will certainly get the job done.

It competes with a wide range of other small luxury cars like the BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe, Cadillac CT4, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Genesis G70, Volvo S60, Acura ILX, Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, BMW 3-Series, Volkswagen Arteon, and Lexus IS. Despite the large range of engine choices, sizes, and body styles offered by competitors, the A3 still shines through with its strong mix of features, styling, and relatively superior affordability.

Unfortunately for the U.S. market, the A3 is only available as a sedan for the 2022 model year. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but competing German automakers offer coupe versions of some of their cars, increasing their market range. The Volkswagen Golf R could even be considered a closer competitor if a hatchback were available here. With what the A3 sedan brings to the table, we are not that upset, though. Its redesign only further solidifies its place as one of the best new cars in the segment, despite some tough competition.


Overall Score: 4.3/5 stars

Tech Features: 4/5 stars

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With the name recognition Audi brings with it, all of the tech that one would expect from an established luxury automaker is present in the new A3 without blowing buyers out of the water. Audi has made their digital instrument cluster standard in their redesign, something that had been lacking in the previous generation A3 and something that helps the car stand out a bit more in the segment.

They have also increased the standard touch screen size from 7 inches to 10.1 inches, bringing the A3 more in line with current trends. Additional standard features on all A3 models include heated mirrors, LED headlights, LED taillights, a panoramic sunroof, tri-zone climate control, heated front seats, an easy-to-use infotainment system, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Optional equipment and upgrades found on higher trim levels include a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a park assist system, Audi Virtual Cockpit, a head-up display, and a navigation system. Most competitors feature a comparable tech list with a few offerings from Mercedes-Benz and BMW bringing some extra advanced features to the table. Overall, the A3 does very well for itself considering its price point and reputation.


Practicality: 3.5/5 stars

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Slotting in below the larger Audi A4, the A3 does well for itself considering its small size. Passengers in both the front and rear seats sit in comfort as the cabin is much roomier than its size would suggest. Despite this, the rear-seat headroom and legroom can get tight for taller passengers, and the middle rear seat is better suited for emergency situations rather than long trips.

All the seats themselves are comfortable while also being sufficiently supportive. Ride comfort is also good as it leaves the sportier ride characteristics for the S3 and RS3 to handle. Unfortunately, cargo space is somewhat limited by a small 10.9-cubic foot trunk and the lack of a hatchback option for the U.S. market.

The interior is well laid out, and the infotainment system is one of the easiest to use on the market, helping the A3 earn some more brownie points lost in the cargo space department. Compared to larger competitors like the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the A3 is lacking in size. Compared to the smaller competitors like the BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, the Audi shines much brighter.


Styling & Design: 5/5 stars

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Styling is largely subjective, but it is hard to deny that the A3 is a handsome car. It looks modern, reserved, professional, and muscular at the same time. Subtle wheel arch flairs, large wheels, distinctive Audi grille, and door panel lines give it more of a sporty look than its performance can truly match. Audi also avoids giving the A3 an excessively swoopy roofline, letting it look like a more natural sedan and bringing overall balance to its exterior.

The interior is a little more aggressive and may appeal to fewer buyers, but it is still one of the best in the segment. Everything looks and feels well built and logical. The infotainment system and digital gauge cluster help keep surfaces simple, and Audi has placed some helpful physical knobs and buttons in the center console. Without going overboard, there are enough for ease of use and few enough to keep surfaces clean and simple.

The dashboard stitching and leather seats finish off the interior. Because of its logical interior layout, quality surface materials, subtle flare, and exterior balance, there are few competitors that can match the A3’s overall styling.


Driving Experience: 4.5/5 stars

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201 horsepower is only considered adequate these days, but it is more than enough to power the A3 and its sub-3,500 pound curb weight. Its turbo and mild hybrid system help it feel faster than it is off the line, its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is quick and responsive, and the car is limited to 130 miles per hour at the top end. Braking inspires confidence as well.

The A3 is still soft enough to be comfortable, though. Its size allows it to be nimble and agile, but the suspension still soaks up bumps nicely. Even though the S3 and RS3 have more power, the A3 strikes a beautiful balance between the power you need, some playfulness around the corners, and the comfort you want in most everyday situations. This balance makes it a great choice for most buyers.


Safety Features: 4/5 stars

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At the time of this writing, neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has rated the 2022 Audi A3, though it should be noted that the outgoing generation received very high ratings from both agencies. With more standard safety features, we expect the new A3 to capitalize even further on its previously earned scores.

Standard safety equipment on the 2022 Audi A3 includes a rearview camera, lane departure warning, and Audi’s Pre Sense Basic and Pre Sense Front suite of safety systems. These systems include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and a system that rolls up the side windows and tightens the seatbelts when an impending collision is detected.

Optional features include adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a head-up display, and a park assist system. Even though competitors like the Lexus IS and Genesis G70 offer more standard safety features and other German automakers offer some more advanced safety features in their vehicles, the A3 offers enough to be competitive and remains a safe car even before the latest safety tech is added.


Value: 4/5 stars

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Even though the A3 is one of the smallest cars offered in the Audi lineup, it has a reputation to maintain, being part of one of the “Big 3” German automakers. It upholds its reputation well, although the Genesis G70 has put many other luxury automakers on high alert. It is arguably the best car for the money within the segment.

With an MSRP of under $35,000, buyers do not get just an entry-level luxury sedan. They gain entry into the prestigious German luxury club, but being an Audi alone is no longer good enough. The Volkswagen group has given the A3 great interior space for its size, they have bolstered its impressive list of standard technology features, and they have continued the tradition of best-in-class styling and craftmanship.

Along with the A3’s available all-wheel-drive system, excellent fuel economy, and sub-$50,000 maximum price tag, it remains a strong value even when compared to both BMW and Mercedes-Benz’s wider, and arguably more advanced lineup range. Resale value continues to be one of the A3’s weaker points, and competitors like the Acura ILX and Cadillac CT4 feature lower starting price points, albeit with less to offer buyers out of the gates.


Efficiency: 4.5/5 stars

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Audi is known for its Quattro all-wheel-drive system, but the highest EPA fuel economy estimates come with the front-wheel-drive A3. It returns fuel economy estimates of 29 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway. All-wheel-drive models bring those numbers down, but not by much: 28 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway.

In our week of testing a loaded Prestige model over 330 miles of more highway than city driving, we averaged 29.5 MPG, a number we were impressed by.

These numbers are some of the best in class compared to other compact luxury sedans and coupes. With the rise of electric options and hybrids, the A3’s mild-hybrid helps keep it in the mix, but there is currently no e-tron version of the car – Audi’s version of what could be a plug-in hybrid A3, hinted to be available in the near future.

Some competitors like the Volvo S60 and BMW 3-Series do offer plug-in hybrid options, but closer competitors like the BMW 2-Series and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class do not.


What’s it Going to Cost Me?

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All A3 models share the same powertrain: A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The engine produces 201 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. All trim levels come standard with front-wheel drive, and each trim level is available with all-wheel-drive for an extra $2,000.

Standard safety features on all A3 models include Audi’s Pre Sense Basic, Pre Sense Front, lane departure warning, and a rearview camera. Additional safety features can be added through package options depending on the trim level.

The Audi A3 Premium FWD is the base model A3, and it will cost $35,895 with the $1,095 destination fee included. Upgrading to the A3 Premium Quattro will bring the cost up to $37,895.

Standard features include LED headlights, LED taillights with dynamic turn signals, a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display, a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, a panoramic sunroof, tri-zone climate control, leather seats, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable front seats.

Optional packages include the black optic sport package for $850 and the convenience package for $1,900. The first of the two includes black exterior trim and sport suspension for better handling. The convenience package adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, park assist, driver’s seat memory functionality, auto-dimming side and interior mirrors, and Audi’s advanced key.

The Audi A3 Premium Plus FWD starts at $39,195 with the destination fee included. The A3 Premium Plus AWD bumps the price to $41,195. In addition to the base equipment from the A3 Premium, the Premium Plus adds adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, wireless device charging, driver’s seat memory functionality, and Audi’s advanced key.

In addition to the same black optic sport package available on the Premium trim, the Premium Plus can also be optioned with the interior style package for $550 and the technology package for $2,250. The interior package adds wood trim and LED interior lighting while the technology package adds a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, Audi’s 12.3-inch virtual cockpit, navigation, and traffic sign recognition.

The Audi A3 Prestige FWD starts at $43,195 with the destination fee included. Adding the Quattro AWD system brings the price to $45,195 (this is what we tested). In addition to the standard features on the Premium Plus trim, those from the interior package, and those from the convenience package, the Prestige adds the features from the technology package and a head-up display as standard.

The only optional package available for the A3 Prestige remains the black optic sport package for $850. Fully optioned, a new Audi A3 Prestige with Quattro all-wheel-drive will approach $48,000.


More Photos:

See more 2022 Audi A3 Photos.