Audi A3 Saloon Review

Overall Rating:

Audi A3 Saloon

With cost-effective running costs and bags of practicality, the compact Audi A3 Saloon is a sound option for a good family car or a company car.


  • High-quality interior finish

  • Economical engines


  • Not particularly cheap

  • Rear and boot space better in similarly priced alternatives



Driving Experience






Running Costs


Our Rating:

Overall Verdict

As the dark horse of the Audi range, the A3 Saloon is a breath of fresh air if you’re in the market for a new car in the premium executive range. Although the cabin might be a touch lifeless, the sheer quality of the interior finish and the tranquil driving experience should be more than enough to sway your vote. If size matters, the A3 Saloon may be trumped by more spacious, similarly priced alternatives like the Mercedes A-Class or the BMW 1 Series.

In terms of efficiency, the entry-level 1.6L diesel is the most effective engine in the range as it returns fuel economy of around 74 mpg. If protecting the planet is high up on the agenda, the 1.4L petrol engine emits a respectable 109g/km of CO2.  

Practicality wise, the Saloon is winning the race in the A3 class. The A3 Saloon provides much more legroom in the rear seats as well as having a bigger boot (425 litres seats up) than its siblings, the A3 Sportback and A3 Cabriolet. There's also plenty of headroom to get those long journey neck exercises in.

The Audi A3 Saloon comes with a slick 7.0" colour touchscreen, user-friendly sat-nav system, Bluetooth interface and a crisp sound system as standard. Paying an extra £450 gets you Audi's Virtual Cockpit system which we highly recommend if you want the complete Audi experience.

Available Trims


Starting from the bottom, the Sport is equipped with 17” ‘5-arm’ design alloy wheels that certainly add a pleasing visual to the exterior of A3 Saloon. The Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights are another subtle touch of class to an already polished car. 

S Line

Upgrade to the best-selling S Line trim and you’ll add a number of mouthwatering features, in addition to those available with the Sport level trim. 

The front sport seats, sports suspension and flat-bottomed 3-spoke leather multi-function Sport steering wheel will ensure that those morning commutes become a whole lot more enjoyable. 

You’ll also be treating yourself to 18” ‘parallel-spoke’ partly-polished wheels and an S Line exterior styling pack that’ll have you drooling at the mouth.

Black Edition

Opt for the cream of the crop Black Edition and you’ll seldom be disappointed. 

In addition to the S Line, the Black Edition trim includes 18” ‘5-arm trapezoid’ design Audi Sport alloy wheels that are sure to leave fellow drivers in a daze. The black styling pack offers meticulously crafted black highlights to the exterior, including the radiator grille, window trims and rear diffuser insert. 

The privacy glass creates an enigmatic and luring vibe, whereas Audi’s very own sound system is undoubtedly going to be a crowd-pleaser for you and your passengers.

For more information on the latest trim availability and pricing head over to our Audi A3 Saloon deals page to see how much you can save on your next lease.


Our Rating:

Rivalling both the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the BMW 1 series in terms of style and appeal, the Audi A3 Saloon just about keeps its elitist title thanks to its elegant shape and glossy exterior finish. 

You wouldn’t be the first to mistake the A3 Saloon with it’s older A3 Sportback sibling. However, a side-on inspection of the Saloon gives you the impression that Audi are targeting a more upmarket, business-orientated segment, perfect for hard-working commuters. Audi is working the ‘Compact Premium Executive’ angle with the A3 Saloon, aimed at buyers who are looking for a smaller-than-most saloon. It's one of the best compact saloons on the market. If you're hoping for something a little sportier, take a look at the A3 vs A1.

The A3 comes with a choice of 2 solid finishes (black and white) at no extra cost and 7 metallic paint finishes if you are willing to fork out an extra £575. The Cosmos blue and Monsoon grey are rather dashing if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary. 

Driving Experience

Our Rating:

With a premium manufacturer, you’re obviously looking for a premium driving experience. So how does the A3 square up?

For the petrolheads out there, the entry-level 114bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine (30 TFSI) will feel a little out its depth if you’re constantly up and down the motorway, but it’s a different animal gliding around town. 

Our pick of the bunch is the punchy 148bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged (35 TFSI) engine. Although it has a tendency to guzzle fuel, the 1.4-litre engine combines fluid performance with quiet operation to provide one of the more enjoyable driving experiences out there. The alpha of the group belongs to the 187 bhp 2.0-litre (40 TFSI) engine that certainly packs a punch despite its high running costs.

The alternative diesel engines are available in 3 different outputs - the most economically friendly 114bhp 1.6-litre (30 TDI) that shows power and grace in any situation it finds itself in. You also have the choice of 2 x 2.0-litre engines - the 148 bhp (35 TDI) and 187 bhp (40 TDI) that are both available in quattro four-wheel drive if you fancy using the Saloon for a more rugged trip than your usual 9-5 routine.

The 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine is capable of going 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds and reaches an impressive top speed of 139mph. For the Dominic Toretto’s of the world, the 2.0-litre petrol engine completes 0-62mph in just 6.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 155mph. The 1.6-litre diesel engine takes just over 10 seconds to do 0-62mph, whereas the 2.0-litre 184bhp powerhouse does 0-62mph in just 6.8 seconds with the helping hand of Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system and seven-speed S Tronic gearbox. 

Driving Position

With ample steering wheel and seat adjustment capabilities, you'll be happy as Larry behind the wheel of the Audi A3 Saloon.

Opt for the Sport or S Line editions and you'll receive the more supportive seats with puffy side bolsters that hold you in position and ensure you're sitting with a good posture.

The only disappointment is that you'll have to pay extra for adjustable lumbar support across the range.


One of the A3 Saloon’s main selling points is its ability to glide through journeys at any speed. Regardless of trim, the A3 Saloon’s steering will be precise and accurate thanks to Audi’s electric power steering system. 

Audi also offers three different driving modes - Dynamic, Economy and Comfort. Each mode brings a different throttle response and power steering weight to let you unleash the true potential of the A3 Saloon.


The standard Dynamic suspension that comes fitted on all trims for no extra cost is the trick to getting the most comfort. The trendier, yet stiffer, Sport suspension has been described as rigid and inflexible in comparison.

Audi A3 Saloon Interior

Our Rating:

Audi models are known for their plush, thoughtfully-designed interiors and the Audi A3 range is no different. This car makes for one of the best company cars available.


Audi set their standards impeccably high and the A3 Saloon is through the roof in terms of what a compact saloon should look and feel like. 

If you’re in the market for high-end luxury, the S Line spec will seldom disappoint. The S line spec comes with glossy aluminium trim pieces, Alcantara leather seats and interior mood lighting that make the A3 untouchable for any saloon within its price range. 


A crisp 7.0” colour touchscreen and sat-nav come as standard across the whole range. The infotainment system is controlled using a quirky, yet user-friendly scroll knob between the front seats, ensuring your eyes are kept on the roads at all time. 

If you’re into your gadgets, it’s well worth considering Audi’s Virtual Cockpit for an extra £450. This will replace the outdated and clunky conventional instrument binnacle with a multi-function digital display that adds further charisma to the elegant cabin. The upgrade really is the one feature that makes the Audi A3 Saloon soar above its rivals in terms of chic style. 

Audi’s technological prowess stems further than their infotainment system. The S Tronic dual-clutch transmission has made driving an enjoyable motoring experience for even the most anxious drivers. By combining the ease of an automatic with the efficiency of a manual transmission, the S Tronic provides a smooth, calm ride. 

If you want more, more, more, you should investigate the add-on Audi tech pack.


Our Rating:

The four-door, five-seater Audi A3 Saloon has the edge on the Audi A3 Sportback for size, but comes in at 24cm shorter than the A4 Saloon. It’s not the roomiest saloon on the market, but there’s plenty of space for a family of five to take off on a weekend adventure.


4,458 mm L x 1,796 mm W x 1,416 mm H

Boot Size

Boot space could be better in this Audi A3, and it is in the case of the Mercedes A-Class and BMW 1 Series. 

With the seats up, the A3 Saloon’s boot capacity is a maximum 425 litres (enough for a couple of sets of golf clubs or two large suitcases) and 880 litres once folded down meaning it definitely won’t be shying away from the weekend IKEA trips.

If you’ve got your eye on the 4WD A3 Saloons, it's worth noting that the boot takes a 35-litre hit on space to make room for the mechanical parts of the Quattro system.

The A3 Saloon does, however, have an extremely handy square shape that makes loading those school bags and briefcases a doddle.

Passenger Room

In the front, you’ll have no complaints from any of your passengers, unless you’re giving Shaqueal O’Neal a lift home from the gym. There’s more than enough headroom and legroom for 6 footers in the front.

Squish three tall adults in the rear seats and it's a different story. The interior is fairly narrow so prepare for a game of elbow wars if you’re at full capacity. 

On the other hand, two average-sized adults will be relatively comfortable, and three children will be absolutely hunky-dory. The smaller dimensions of the Audi A3 Saloon do bring to light the inferiority in size compared to standard executive saloons like the A-Class and the 1 Series, so it's not quite the top of the list of best executive cars

Safety Features

In Audi we trust. The engineers at Audi are so well trusted that Euro NCAP felt they didn’t need to safety test the A3 Saloon. Since the A3 Sportback received 5* In its test, Euro NCAP felt satisfied that the Saloon would offer the same level of protection.

Kitted out with an array of safety features, there’s no surprise the A3 Saloon received an automatic 5*. All A3 Saloons have electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes as standard, as well as front, side and curtain airbags to minimise or prevent injuries. 

Hill-start assistance comes at an additional £90, while cruise control will set you back £225, which feels a little steep. If you’re tired of parallel parking you’ve got the option of paying for parking assistance - it’ll cost you £835 though.

Running Costs

Our Rating:

You’ll be pleased to hear that running the Audi A3 Saloon is surprisingly cheap thanks to the fine selection of refined engines on offer.


Audi has ensured that the A3 Saloon’s fuel economy is amongst the best in the business by integrating engine stop-start technology. The Sport trim ranges from 45 mpg to 57 mpg with the 2.0-litre manual diesel coming out on top as the most frugal engine. The most economical engine across the whole range belongs to the 1.6L diesel output.

CO2 Emissions

If we’re looking at the middle of the range, the 1.4-litre petrol engine emits 109g/km of CO2 which categorises it in the 25% BiK tax bracket for company car users, so it's a good company car choice. It's handy to know that company car users driving petrol cars dodge the 4% diesel surcharge.

In relation to the Audi A3 alternatives petrol equivalent A-Class and 1 Series, the A3 Saloon fairs reasonably well. The A-Class pips the A3 at 108g/km, whereas the BMW 1 Series 118i emits a less frugal 114g/km. If you’re inspired to reduce your carbon footprint, it’s not the worst choice in the world, but you won’t be winning any Eco peace prizes anytime soon!

Insurance Group

On the whole, the less powerful engine outputs fall into the insurance groups 14 to 16. However, ramp up the engine and you start to see the 2.0-litre engines in the early 20s. The high-performance S3 version is way up in group 36.

Cheapest Trim Lowest Insurance Group RRP


As a brand, Audi reliability scores are surprisingly low on Reliability Index’s manufacturer rating where it placed 34th out of 40 manufacturers.

In the past, A3 owners have complained about rattling noises coming from the centre console. There have also been a few issues surrounding the sat-nav screen which has a tendency to creak over time as it appears from the dashboard.


The A3 Saloon comes with a three-year or 60,000-mile Audi warranty and three years’ roadside assistance. BMW also offer a three-year warranty, but with the added perk of unlimited mileage. Audi extended warranty is available - the four-year/75,000 mile upgrade for £245, while the five-year/90,000 mile deal is £545.


Servicing intervals for the A3 Saloon depend on the schedule you choose when you purchase/ lease the vehicle. Audi suggest their own service plans. You’ve got the option of the fixed-inspection schedule, where your car is serviced once a year no matter how miles you clocked, or the variable schedule, that is better suited to longer-distance drivers.