Highlight: A 2018 RS 3 was launched at this year’s New York International Auto Show. The five cylinder compact, which arrives this summer, is slated to push out 400 horses, the fastest A3 to date. With this being the case, only a limited number of 2017 RS 3 models will be available.
Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $43,025 (base model $32,150)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Equipment: airbags; ABS; electronic stability control system; a tire pressure monitoring system; an electronic parking brake; a rearview camera; a forward collision system; automatic braking; front and rear parking sensors; and automatic windshield wipers and headlights
Standard Equipment (FWD): 17-inch wheels; front wheel drive; a 7-speed automatic transmission; automatic headlights; a 7-inch infotainment screen (which hides away at the touch of a button); a keyless ignition system; power adjustable side exterior mirrors; a panoramic sunroof; leather seats; a power driver’s seat; dual zone automatic climate controls; power folding/heated side mirrors; and a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel
Standard Equipment (AWD): a 6-speed transmission and front-wheel drive features
Optional Features On Test Vehicle: 18-inch wheels; power front passenger seat; heated front seats; keyless entry; automatic dimming mirror with compass; aluminum door-sills; a navigation system; a rear traffic cross assist system; LED headlights; a multi-media system with Google applications; start and stop engine; and LED taillights
S3 (performance sedan)
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 14-speaker AM/FM/HD/CD with satellite radio
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/220-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular Unleaded
Standard Fuel Mileage:
What’s New: The entry-level luxury sedan wears a new grille redesign to mimics its larger siblings, while adding a seven speed transmission on front wheel drive vehicles.
Why: The compact premium A3 is available in a front wheel drive or an all wheel drive configuration. The entry-level Audi is available in a variety of configurations: convertible, hatchback or sedan.
Like its larger siblings, Audi’s engineering team has provided the perfect balance of ride and handling capabilities combined with the brand’s engaging precision steering. Moreover, while this vehicle is classified as a compact, the front seats provided adequate support for both short and long distance drives.
Furthermore, the interior layout of the A3 interior looks like the larger Audis. There is the hideaway retractable infotainment screen to the height adjustable armrest to the center-console mounted controller to the intuitive electronic instrument gauges to the street-like Google view (Google Earth) navigation system.
Also the vehicle can be outfitted with 18-inch wheels, heated seats, Android Apple CarPlay, an electronic blind spot system, a radar-activated cruise control system and a lane departure system.
Lastly, depending upon once price point, the A3 can be easily powered by a variety of powertrains. We found the seamless, precision-like engine to be quite exceptional. We can only imagine the thrill behind the wheel of the more power packed Audis that can pushed up to 400 horsepower.
But: With this being an entry-level premium compact, the vehicle can become a little pricey, especially when adding on options. Moreover, there is a $3,700 price spread between the A3 and slightly larger A4 vehicles. Pricing for a base front wheel drive A4 is literally the same as the base all wheel drive A3.
And, of course, the rear seat room isn’t suitable for long road trips due to leg room and overall comfort.
Verdict: Despite its compact size, Audi’s engineering team packs a lot into this vehicle. Audi does a great job of welcoming first time buyers into the brand, offering a well-executed vehicle both inside and out that offers all of the amenities one would expect in its larger A5, A6, A7 and A8 siblings. The Audi A3 definitely gives all of its competitors a run for the money.