Last year Audi sold nearly 3 times as many SUVs as it did cars despite a lineup of coupes, sedans and sport models that come in every size and flavor. So it’s fair to question the relevance of this redesigned gas-fueled subcompact sedan in a market dominated by SUVs and burgeoning EVs. But if you still appreciate a sporty, German-engineered, turbocharged ride this new A3 has got your back.
So you want an Audi but your bank account is borderline. Well, meet the A3. With starting MSRP of $35,895 it’s one of only 2 Audis priced at under $40,000. The other is this car’s SUV counterpart, the Q3 which outsells the sedan nearly 5 to 1.
So why choose this? Well, it’s a little cheaper than the Q3, its new mild-hybrid powertrain is significantly more fuel-efficient and it’s quicker making for a sportier drive. But with a trunk instead of a hatch, it has less than half of the standard cargo volume even though the A3’s backside gets a little bigger this year.
The A3 is now a tad longer, wider and taller than before, 66 pounds heavier and slower to 60mph by a half a second, clocking in now at 6.3 seconds. But before you roll your eyes you should know that this 48-volt electrical system provides eboost upon takeoff and fills the 2.0-liter turbo with additional low-end torque so the immediacy to go is still there; impressively so for an engine alone that now makes only 201 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. The big benefit of this electrical assistance though is of course gas mileage which rises from 25mpg to 31mpg in combined driving and all the way to 36mpg on the highway. Regular gas? No problem. This also increases the driving range from 330 miles to 450 miles.
And this car is so comfortable up front and quiet that long highway cruising is most certainly in play. I say front because the A3’s rear seats aren’t nearly as accommodating, this is a subcompact after all. You can fit 2 back here and it’ll be OK but 3 across is definitely a no.
If it’s all out performance you crave remember the S3 and RS3 are here to fill those needs. But this A3 – with quattro all-wheel drive, the 4-cylinder turbo, 7-speed dual clutch transmission and Drive Select is the perfect blend of silky smooth sedan and frugal fun.
For TestDriveNow car critic Steve Hammes’ complete video review & test drive of the 2022 Audi A3 click HERE