The A3 is our new favorite among entry-level luxury sedans. For a reasonable price, “it delivers refinement, enough performance to make it fun to drive, cutting-edge technology, and even a little prestige.” Sold in the U.S. previously only as a five-door hatchback, the A3 has been repositioned to compete directly with Mercedes-Benz’s year-old CLA250. The Audi offers limited cargo space and a cabin that’s a bit “austere,” but it betters its chief rival in quickness and athleticism.
With its “stubby outline” and truncated rear end, it also gives off “an endearing ‘Oh, how precious’ vibe.” Inside, the cabin’s fit and finish impress, though “the second row is a squeeze” and even the leather front seats are “a smidge hard on the bum.” Tire noise is also a problem: To communicate with rear passengers while on the highway, “we resorted to yelling.”
Road & Track
“The closer we looked at the A3, the more we wanted to look elsewhere.” The car “sure is quick,” with an available 2.0-liter four-cylinder that rips to 60 mph “in a jaw-droppingly fast 5.5 seconds.” But it’s “not involving to drive” and seems sized for buyers who are under 5 feet tall.