Debuting in 2015, the latest generation Audi A3 marks the departure of the previous generation, without body style hatchback for sedans and convertibles. Then receive a simple face lift in 2017.
The Audi A3 debuted one year after the Mercedes CLA-Class was released, marking the start of a new entry-level competition among German carmakers. The A3 Cabriolet model lost its roof but gained help elsewhere to prop up the structure. It became lighter about 250 pounds than its sedan counterpart. The power-folding top is fully lined, but its narrow rear window and large, unbroken swaths of fabric obscure visibility.
Under the skin, 2018 Audi A3 associated with Volkswagen Golf. That’s not a bad thing, because both are quite accomplished compact car. Fun to drive, attractive and upscale, the 2018 Audi A3 sets the standard for the smaller crop of entry-level luxury cars.
Trim, Features and Engine Specs
The 2018 Audi A3 is offered in two-door convertible (Cabriolet) and four-door sedan body styles. Both are available in three trim levels Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige.
The 2018 Audi A3 Premium comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, automatic xenon headlights, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera, cruise control, a backup camera, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar adjustment, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, leather upholstery, the MMI electronics interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 3.5 mm auxiliary input with USB charger, a 180-watt, 10-speaker sound system with a satellite radio and CD player. Cabriolet models are similar but have a power-folding soft top, six-way power front seats with lumbar and a nine-speaker sound system.
The 2018 Audi A3 Premium Plus adds S line exterior appearance package, 18-inch wheels, front and rear parking alerts, keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, an eight-way power passenger seat with lumbar (sedan), blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
The 2018 Audi A3 Prestige adds LED headlights, LED ambient interior lighting, automatic high beams, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, power-folding exterior mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming, lane departure warning, an upgraded MMI system, a navigation system, an expanded Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster, mobile app integration, mobile 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi hot-spot capability and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
The optional Convenience package for Premium includes keyless ignition and entry, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 18-inch wheels and heated front seats available as stand-alone options. For the Premium Plus, the LED Lighting and Technology packages and Bang & Olufsen stereo are optional. A Sport package is available for all trim which adds a lowered sport suspension, adjustable vehicle settings, front sport seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel with shift paddles.
Additional options for the sedan only include 19-inch wheels with summer tires (except Premium) and rear side airbags and a black cloth headliner.
The 2018 Audi A3 front-wheel-drive models come with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the all-wheel-drive variants continue with the six-speed dual-clutch automatic. There is one engine: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 186 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque in front-wheel-drive models, while in all-wheel-drive variants it is tuned to pump 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
In performance testing, an all-wheel-drive Audi A3 sedan accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a quick 5.8 seconds, while the convertible in 6.2 seconds. The EPA fuel economy for the front-wheel-drive sedan at 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined, while the all-wheel-drive versions rated at 24 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. The 2018 Audi A3 convertible rated at 28 mpg combined (25 city/34 highway) in front-wheel-drive models and 25 mpg combined (22 city/30 highway) with all-wheel drive.
Despite being the lowest model in the Audi lineup, the 2018 A3 style has a clear similarity with larger and more expensive models. Inside the cabin, knobs and knobs that feel right, unique air vents and leathers provide a luxurious experience. Unlike other entry level luxury sedans, only slightly in the 2018 Audi A3 cabin that looks or feels low.
Front seat passengers will enjoy the comfort and generous amount of space. Adult passengers with average size will fit in the backseat, but they will not find much room for movement. The 2018 Audi A3 rear seat is more accommodating than the Mercedes CLA-Class, but is nothing compared to the Acura ILX or other small sedans. It becomes smaller in the convertible model. This is the best place for kids.
The cargo space was limited. The 2018 Audi A3 sedan has 10 cubic feet of luggage for all wheel drive models, and 12.3 cubic feet with front-wheel drive. That’s enough to hold a golf bag or some luggage but not much else. Folded flat rear seats help to load longer items. Convertible luggage at 9.9 cubic feet.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Audi A3 has available on the showroom now. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts under $33,000 for Premium models. Pick AWD and the price jumps to just under $36,000. The A3 Cabriolet starts around $39,325 for FWD, and $42,000 if you want AWD.