AUDI A3 2008 – 2021

2008 Audi A3 TDI e

German automaker Audi is often ahead of the pack when it comes to new ideas. In Europe 
the Audi A3 is often used as a family car, but in Australia it’s more likely to be bought by 
singles or couples.
The A3 created quite a commotion when it was first released in the small car market way 
back in 1997. Some felt prestige cars should be large, imposing and expensive – certainly 
not small and relatively affordable. They were wrong and Audi has since been joined by 
other prestige marques.
In May 2013 the Audi A3 gen-three arrived downunder. It was slightly larger than the gen 
two of 2004, which in turn was larger than the original A3 of 1997.
Audi stylists have stuck with the original successful shape over the years. Differences are 
obvious when the generations are viewed side by side but the timeless lines make for 
good resale value. 
The current (fourth generation) A3 arrived here in early-2022 so is still quite scarce on the 
used car market. We’ll cover it in a later checkout.
Audi A3 is sold in just about every imaginable body type, though not all are offered at any 
one time. There’s a two-door convertible/cabriolet, three- and five-door hatchback 
(Sportback in Audi speak) and four-door sedan. The five-door is almost station wagon in 
its rear and many buyers choose it because it looks smooth and can carry a decent load.

2013 Audi A3 Sportback

Four adults can get comfortable in most A3s, but two plus two children is a more practical 
load. Rear-seat access is in the three-door because the front seat design means it move 
well out of the way.
The convertible uses and old-style soft top which we reckon is much nicer than a boring 
folding hardtop. It can carry four adults if they don’t mind doing some serious 
compromising on legroom.
Handling is very good, though there is perhaps just a little too much understeer at the limit 
to suit the full-on driving enthusiast.
Engine choices are many and varied. Most engines are four-cylinder units but Audi’s 
fascinating five-cylinder turbo-diesel, sold from 2008 till 2010, is an interesting exception. A 
big capacity 3.2-litre V6 petrol quattro was first imported in 2004 and ran through till 2010. 
It has a huge amount of get-up-and-go in a relatively light car. 
Then there’s the Audi A3 e-tron Sportback – a plug-in, petrol-electric, hybrid that arrived 
here in 2014. It uses a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine giving up to 110 kW of power and 250 
Nm of torque and an electric motor which produces up to 75 kW and 330 Nm. The e-tron 
isn’t cheap and you probably can’t justify it on the ground of your budget, but those who 
want to minimise climate change love it.
Power in most standard Audi A3 models is transmitted to the front wheels, the high-
performance models have the company’s quattro all-wheel-drive system. Quattro is also 
offered in some other models.

2019 Audi A3 S-Line

Audi S3 is a performance variant and Audi RS3 is a full-on hot-hatch with everything that 
means in the way of stunning performance. Its handling is nicely sorted out and it remains 
neutral if driven correctly, high-performance drivers love it.
Spare parts and servicing are reasonably priced for this class. However, if you are moving 
up to an Audi from an Asian or lower priced European for the first-time check on parts and 
servicing costs or you might get a scare.
Check your insurance company about their attitude to the Audi S3 and RS3 variants. 
Some charge premiums that can add significantly to the purchase price of an older used 
Uneven tyre wear, particularly at the front, probably means an A3 has been driven hard. 
This is more likely in one of the high-performance models, but check even the basic cars 
as A3s seem to attract press-on drivers.
Tyre wear may also mean one of the wheels is out of alignment after a crash, but a hard 
thump against a kerb can give the same result. If in doubt, get a professional opinion.
If the engine hesitates under hard acceleration in older A3s there may be computer 
problems. Chances are these have been sorted out by now, but check with the Audi dealer 
you’re buying from, or contact Audi online.
During your test drive check that an automatic transmission doesn’t hunt up and down the 
gears when climbing moderate hills with light to medium throttle openings.
Body repairs are most easily spotted by sighting along panels in a strong light to see if 
there are ripples in the metal. If there’s any doubt have a professional do a full inspection, 
preferably while the Audi’s up on a hoist.
Look over the interior and luggage area for signs of damage, particularly in the Sportbacks 
as many have begun their lives as reps cars. 
Expect to spend from $4000 to $8000 for a 2008 A3 Ambition Sportback; $6000 to $9000 
for a 2011 Ambition Sportback, $9000 to $14,000 for a 2010 Attraction Cabriolet or a 2015 
Attraction Sportback; $10,000 to $16,000 for a 2014 Ambition sedan; $13,000 to $19,000 
for a 2011 S3 Sportback; $17,000 to $24,000 for a 2016 A3 Sportback; $20,000 to 
$29,000 for a 2018 e-Tron; $22,000 to $30,000 for a 2018 A3 Sportback; and $31,000 to 
$43,000 for a 2019 A3 S Line.
High-performance cars are more likely to be bought by keen drivers and may have been 
driven to the limit, causing exaggerated wear on their components.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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