Audi’s entry-level model, the A3, is a five-door hatchback with four- or six-cylinder power, available Quattro AWD and all the flexibility and functionality of an upscale German mini-wagon.

The A3 has been nicknamed the Beverly Hills GTI in some circles, referencing its Volkswagen-based underpinnings and engines.

Feature content included upgraded audio, heated leather, navigation, folding rear seats, a panoramic sunroof and plenty more.

Engine

Look for VW Group’s two-litre turbo four-cylinder with 200 horsepower, or a 3.2-litre V-6 with 250. Quattro was standard with the six-cylinder engine and available on four-cylinder units later in the A3’s life.



What owners like


Existing A3 owners typically rave about styling, build quality, comfort levels, all-season traction and even fuel efficiency on models with the four-cylinder engine. Good ride and handling characteristics round out the package.

 

What owners dislike

Owners say the A3 won’t prove the most comfortable way to haul around four or five adults, and the centre console chews nicely into the driver’s right-side knee space. Owners of earlier models typically wished for Bluetooth compatibility, and many report “weak” factory tires.

Common issues

Hard, inconsistent or “sloppy” shifting from the Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) may be caused by a faulty computer control or “mechatronics” unit, which controls this advanced transmission. Long-term reliability of the DSG gearbox is currently unclear. If you’re happy driving a manual, stick to your guns.

Note that sporadic acceleration or a “lumpy” feel to the engine’s power delivery could be related to faulty or failing ignition coils.

Verdict

There are more affordable and reliable ways to get around than the A3 —though a largely satisfied owner community suggests that the potential issues are far outweighed by the rewarding year-round driving experience and luxury.

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