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2020 Audi A3 Review

The 2020 Audi A3 is the least expensive brand-new vehicle in the company’s portfolio. This premium subcompact sedan has all the typical Audi attributes. Its exterior design is both classy and restrained. Its cabin is similarly honed and toned with high-quality materials, a smart layout and exemplary luxury car build standards. Driving the A3 is also a pleasurable and confidence-inspiring experience.

Just one big thing to consider: This current generation of A3 enters its final model year for 2020. A new generation is due next year. So anyone who has been hankering after this model ought to make a move. After all, the amount and effectiveness of the technology on offer is still considerable while the styling is virtually timeless.

The wider A3 range includes a hot S3 sedan and the even hotter RS3 sedan, both of which have their own reviews.

What’s New for 2020?

The biggest news is that the A3 cabriolet (convertible) has been discontinued. The previously range-topping Prestige trim is also no more.

On more positive notes, the standard alloy wheel size grows from 17 to 18 inches, and the Black Optic cosmetic package becomes standard along with selectable drive modes, keyless entry/ignition and an antitheft system.

The Premium Plus trim gains high-beam assistance, rear USB ports (charging only) and a Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Both trims (Premium and Premium Plus) are eligible for the Final Edition options package, which brings sport front seats in black or red leather with contrast stitching, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and puddle lamps with the Audi logo.

Quantum Gray is a new paint choice for the 2020 A3/S3 range.

There’s also been some changing of names. The entry-level A3 becomes the A3 Sport with a 40 TSFI engine and the upper level is now the A3 S Line, which comes with some cosmetic differences, all-wheel drive and a more powerful 45 TSFI engine as standard. See the Audi A3 models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Overall premium feel
  • Satisfying driving experience
  • Respectable fuel consumption
  • Impressive crash-test performance
  • Panoramic sunroof and leather are standard

What We Don’t

  • Small trunk
  • Dashboard seems sparse
  • Options are pricey

How Much?

$34,295-$40,495

Fuel Economy

The basic 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is found in front-wheel drive versions, also referred to as 40 TSFI. It produces 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque and is linked to a 7-speed dual-clutch (automated manual) transmission.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel consumption at 26 miles per gallon in the city, 35 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in combined driving.

Quattro AWD versions have a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine (45 TSFI) that develops 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The transmission here is also a 7-speed dual-clutch unit and the EPA rating is 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined.

Both engines have a stop/start feature.

Standard Features & Options

The 2020 Audi A3 comes in Premium and Premium Plus trims and with a FWD 40 TSFI drivetrain or an AWD 45 TSFI setup.

The 2020 A3 Sport 40 TFSI Premium ($34,295) has leather seating surfaces, 18-in alloy wheels, keyless entry/ignition, panoramic sunroof, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat, Audi Drive Select (separate driving modes from Comfort to Sport), heated front seats, xenon headlights with LED running daytime lights and LED taillights, 60/40 split folding rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, forward-collision warning, 7-in screen for the Multi-Media Interface (MMI), Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, two USB ports, SD card slot, Bluetooth, 9-speaker audio system and HD/satellite radio.

Premium Plus ($37,295) adds 18-in alloy wheels, full LED headlights, 8-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, self-dimming rearview mirror, blind spot monitoring, high-beam assist, two rear USB charging ports and a Bang & Olufsen audio system.

The A3 S Line 45 TSFI Premium ($37,495) and S Line 45 TSFI Premium Plus ($40,495) add AWD and the more powerful engine.

Premium Plus models are eligible for active lane assist, adaptive cruise control, navigation and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, which is a 12.3-in configurable LCD screen replacing the traditional instrument cluster.

As mentioned above, all versions may be ordered with the Final Edition options bundle. Other extras include blind spot monitoring, LED interior lighting, high-gloss aluminum window surrounds and rear-passenger thorax/side airbags.

Trunk space measures 12.3 cu ft. AWD hardware reduces that to 10 cu ft, which is still enough for a couple of golf bags.

Safety

Thanks to its chassis and airbag setup (which includes knee airbags for the front occupants plus side airbags with inflatable curtains), the A3 sedan earned a Top Safety Pick+ accolade from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, with top scores of Good across the board.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the A3 sedan a maximum five stars overall with four stars for front impact protection, five for side impacts and four in the rollover test.

Behind the Wheel

Although its interior comes across as somewhat small, the A3 sedan feels well-proportioned and has sufficient rear room to encourage prolonged drives with four passengers, largely thanks to the car’s more conventional C-pillar, which doesn’t emulate the coupe-like look currently in fashion.

Extensive use of aluminum helps keep a check on weight, so acceleration and handling benefit significantly. When enhanced by AWD, the A3 tackles twisty roads with a strong grip and precise changes of direction. Body control is excellent, making the A3 feel as capable of attacking a curvy canyon road as a sports car.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Acura ILX: Hard to shake the idea that this is really just a posh Honda Civic. Keenly priced, though.

2020 BMW 230i: BMW has a compelling package with its 2 Series, which comes in coupe or convertible form. Pricier than the A3, though.

2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: Launched in the United States last year, the excellent A-Class is a more conventional sedan shape than the fastback CLA 4-door subcompact.

Used BMW 3 Series: For the cost of a new A3, a recent certified pre-owned (CPO) 3 Series offers more space, plenty of driving fun and just as much Euro-style status.

Autotrader’s Advice

Despite heading for the exit, this generation of A3 is still a well-equipped and capable car. It might come down to waiting for the new model, due for the 2021 model year, or trying to negotiate a great deal on a 2020 A3. Find an Audi A3 for sale

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