The 2016 Audi A3: A stylish, classy, and enjoyable premium vehicle

While the 2016 Audi A3, a compact sedan and soft-top convertible (Cabriolet), is in its second year of production for Audi, the model’s first year of success is far from over.

The A3 has proven popular with consumers because of its small size and affordable price, just like the original A4 did in the late 1990s.

The Audi A3 does what many other entry-level luxury cars haven’t been able to do: it offers Audi-style elegance, craftsmanship, and performance without breaking the bank. If the A3 is the Audi that works best for you, then by all means, go for it.

The 2016 Audi A3: A stylish, classy, and enjoyable premium vehicle
The 2016 Audi A3: A stylish, classy, and enjoyable premium vehicle. Image source: edmunds.com

The 2016 Audi A3 models

The 2016 Audi A3 is available as a two-door convertible (Cabriolet) with seating for four people and a power-folding fabric top, or as a four-door compact sedan with seating for five. Prestige, Premium Plus, and Premium are the three primary trim levels. The sedan and convertible trim levels have nearly identical features.

The standard equipment for the Premium trim level includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, front and rear parking sensors, heated mirrors and windshield-washer nozzles, automatic wipers, cruise control, a panoramic sunroof (only for sedans), an eight-way power driver seat with a four-way power lumbar (only for sedans), leather upholstery, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity

Audi’s unique digital audio interface (with an iPod cable), heated front seats, 18-inch wheels, keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an eight-way power passenger seat with four-way power lumbar adjustment, and more are included with the Premium Plus.

The Prestige includes an “S line” exterior appearance package, an LED lighting package, power-folding exterior mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, a forward collision mitigation system, and a technology package (including a color trip computer, mobile 4G LTE connectivity with WiFi hotspot capability, mobile-app integration, an upgraded MMI system with an improved display and a touch-sensitive controller, voice controls, a navigation system with Google Earth imagery, lane-departure warning, and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system).

In the Premium Plus, the S line, LED lighting, and technology packages are optional, whereas on the Premium, every component of the technology package—aside from the lane-departure warning—are included. In the Premium, the S line, the LED lighting, the S line, the LED lighting, the Premium, the S line, the LED lighting, the With the Premium Plus, the Bang & Olufsen stereo is available as a stand-alone option.

The Premium has options like an Audi music interface with an iPod connection, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, and 18-inch wheels.

For the Premium Plus and Prestige models, there is a performance package that includes a lowered sport suspension, front sport seats, shift paddles on the steering wheel, and the ability to change the car’s settings (Drive Select). For all three trims, the sport suspension is a distinct option.

Image source: carsales.com.au

The 2016 Audi A3 Overview

The A3’s constrained passenger and cargo capacity, which is necessary for a vehicle of this size, is the only serious sacrifice. The backseat and trunk of the A3 sedan are likely to fall short of your expectations if you frequently transport passengers in the back or large loads, not to mention how cramped the convertible is.

You won’t have much else to complain about if you can manage those flaws, though. Even if you have the means to purchase any of Audi’s more expensive models, the A3 has a lot to offer, from its crisp handling and quick acceleration to its great fuel efficiency and well-equipped cabin.

The 2016 Audi A3: Expert Review

The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedan is the main rival of the Audi A3 sedan. Even though the CLA is trendy, the Audi beat it easily in a comparison test done by Edmunds.

Additionally, we advise the A3 over the middling 2016 Acura ILX. Check out the base models of slightly larger models, like the stylish and sophisticated Lexus IS 250 and the sporty and sophisticated BMW 320i, if you’re looking for more space or versatility.

The BMW 2 Series, which is even more entertaining to drive, is a formidable rival for the A3 Cabriolet. Yet the 2016 Audi A3 is the finest of the bunch if your lifestyle demands a true luxury vehicle in a neat, tiny package.

Pros

  • Cabin uses high-quality materials and provides the design you expect.
  • Engines that use less gasoline nevertheless provide decent thrust.
  • Handles turns and peaks with equal proficiency.
  • Sufficient equipment as a minimum.
  • Best crash test results.

Cons

  • Trunk is compact.
  • Only younger individuals should use the backseat.
  • Not a single USB port for your gadgets to plug into.

The 2016 Audi A3: Performance

A six-speed automated manual transmission that functions like a conventional automatic is standard on every 2016 Audi A3. A turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder (1.8 TFSI), a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (2.0 TFSI), and a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder are the three engines that are offered (2.0 TDI).

The 2.0 TFSI produces 220 hp and 258 lb-ft, while the 1.8 TFSI is rated at 170 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0 TDI has 236 lb-ft of torque and 150 horsepower.

Both the sedan and the convertible come standard with the 1.8 TFSI. Just front-wheel drive is included. According to Audi, the 1.8 TFSI sedan will reach 60 mph from 0 in 7.2 seconds, while the convertible will require an extra 0.2 seconds.

The EPA expects that the sedan will get 27 mpg combined (23 city/33 highway) while the convertible will get 28 mpg combined (24/35), respectively. For both body types, the 2.0 TFSI is an optional upgrade. This engine comes standard with all-wheel drive.

In testing, a 2.0 TFSI A3 sedan reached 60 mph in a speedy 5.8 seconds, compared to 6.2 seconds for the heavier 2.0 TFSI convertible. The EPA rates both the sedan and the convertible at 27 combined mpg (24 city/33 highway) and 26 combined mpg (23/32).

Just the sedan is available with the 2.0 TDI, which includes all-wheel drive as standard. Even though the A3 2.0 TDI’s copious torque makes it feel faster in actual driving, it reached 60 mph in our tests in 8.3 seconds. The EPA estimates that the diesel A3 gets 36 mpg combined (31/43).

The 2016 Audi A3: Safety

A rearview camera, parking sensors, and an automatic seatbelt tightening and window closing system (Audi Pre Sense Basic) are just some of the standard safety features on every 2016 Audi A3.

Antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front knee airbags, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and front and rear parking sensors also come standard. Sedans can be equipped with optional rear side airbags. Automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning are two additional features exclusive to the Prestige trim (Audi Pre Sense Front).

At 60 miles per hour, the tested A3 2.0 TFSI on 17-inch wheels and all-season tires stopped in 118 feet. This is a few feet shorter than the category average. An A3 2.0 TFSI Cabriolet achieved a stopping distance of 120 feet. An Audi A3 TDI equipped with the optional (and grippier) 18-inch summer tires could come to a stop in an astounding 105 feet.

Totaling five stars in government crash tests, the 2016 Audi A3 sedan received four stars for frontal impact protection and five stars for side impact protection.

In small-overlap front-offset, moderate-overlap front-offset, side-impact, and roof-strength crash tests, the A3 sedan received the highest possible rating from the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “Good.” The A3’s seat and head restraint design earned a “Good” rating for reducing the risk of whiplash in rear-end collisions.

Image source: carsguide.com.au

The 2016 Audi A3: Interior

The 2016 A3’s interior is a cut above the competition for the price because of how much it resembles the cabins of previous Audis. The automated rise of the MMI display from its place at the top of the dashboard, the jet-engine-inspired air vents, and the high-quality seeming switchgear all work together to create a sumptuous environment.

You wouldn’t know from behind the wheel or in the backseat that the A3 is Audi’s entry-level model. Audi’s MMI interface is offered in two distinct flavors.

Both options have a rotary controller in the center console, but the more expensive one also has a touchpad on top of the controller that allows you to write letters with your finger when inputting a location and a more advanced display and voice commands.

We’ve found MMI to be one of the most straightforward infotainment systems with consistent usage, although the knob-based interface may be unfamiliar at first if you’re used to conventional dash-mounted controls. The persistent usage of a proprietary iPod interface by Audi is disappointing given how much more adaptable a standard USB connector would be.

The A3’s lack of rear legroom is another possible downside. The A3 does have enough space for average-sized persons, so it may be more spacious than you think. In terms of space, it beats out the Mercedes CLA-Class, too.

Yet, the A3’s rear seat comfort is still subpar compared to that of bigger sedans like the Acura ILX or the Audi A4. The back seats of the A3 convertible are much more cramped, making long excursions uncomfortable for anybody who isn’t a little child.

There is similarly little room in the trunk. The sedan’s trunk is only 10 cubic feet (with all-wheel drive; the front-drive A3 is somewhat more spacious with 12.3), making it unsuitable for transporting more than a golf bag and some suitcases.

Yet, in order to facilitate the loading of longer things, the rear seats fold down completely flat. There is the same amount of storage space in the convertible’s trunk, 9.9 cubic feet.

Image source: carsguide.com.au

The 2016 Audi A3: Comfort and Driving

The 2016 Audi A3 is a more serious premium vehicle than its rivals in the subcompact luxury car segment. Standard all-season 17-inch tires keep the ride composed while still being compliant, and the turbocharged engines deliver a reassuringly muscular dose of low-end torque.

Another sign of a high-end vehicle is its quiet interior performance on the highway. Although the ride is tolerable with the larger 18- or 19-inch tires, we found that the harshness increased over large bumps and ruts in the road while driving the long-term A3 2.0 TFSI.

The A3’s mild steering effort makes it feel distant at low speeds, but it comes alive when driven with intent. With the larger summer tires, which produce greater limits and sharper reactions to driver inputs, this spirited personality shines through.

The optional shift paddles on the steering wheel enhance the sporty vibe, but the automatic manual gearbox in every trim level is satisfyingly fast and accurate. The A3’s diminutive size also makes it easy to maneuver into and out of tight parking spots after the party’s ended.

Which is better, renting or buying a 2016 Audi A3?

Should I purchase a car or sign a lease? If you ask around, you’ll hear that purchasing a car is highly recommended. If you’re prepared to make larger monthly payments, pay off the loan in full, and retain the automobile for a few years, it makes financial sense to do so.

On the other hand, leasing often results in lower regular payments than buying. If you want to get a new automobile every three years or so, this is a fantastic option for you as well.

I was the kid you'd come to when you wanted to buy a used car. Now that I'm older, I look up the cars I used to admire when I was a kid and post about them!

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