The 2017 Audi A3 is a stylish entry-level luxury car.
Available as a sedan or convertible, the A3 exudes a premium vibe and features a cabin with many standard features.
Its precise handling and solid performance come at the price of a small backseat and trunk. Refined and rewarding,
it's a top choice in its segment.
The 2017 Audi A3 comes with a new seven-speed,
dual-clutch automatic transmission in front-wheel-drive models,replacing the previous six-speed.
There is one engine: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that pumps out 186 hp and 221 pound-feet of torque in front-wheel-drive models,
while in all-wheel-drive variants it is tuned to produce 220 hp and 258 lb-ft.
All-wheel-drive variants continue with the six-speed, dual-clutch automatic.
The EPA rates the front-wheel-drive A3 sedan at 29 mpg combined
(26 city/35 highway); all-wheel-drive versions achieve
27 mpg combined
(24 city/31 highway). The convertible rings in 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.
In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive A3 sedan with the 2.0-liter engine accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a quick 5.8 seconds,
while the heavier convertible needed 6.2 seconds.
The 2017 Audi A3 comes standard with antilock brakes,
front-seat side and knee airbags,
traction and stability control,
a rearview camera,
side curtain airbags,
The Prestige trim adds lane departure intervention and blind-spot monitoring.
a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking and front and rear parking sensors.
Premium Plus models can also be optionally equipped with blind-spot monitoring (via the Technology package), and rear-seat side airbags are optional for all sedan variants.
In government crash tests
including four stars for total front-impact protection,the 2017 Audi A3 sedan was awarded the top five-star rating overall and five stars for total side-impact protection.
The A3's seat and head-restraint design was also deemed Good for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2016 A3 sedan (we expect the essentially identical 2017 model to perform similarly) the highest possible rating of Good in its small-overlap front-impact,
moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests.
In Edmunds brake testing, an all-wheel-drive A3 2.0-liter sedan with 17-inch wheels and all-season tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet,
which is a few feet better than average.
An A3 2.0 TFSI Cabriolet recorded a 120-foot stop.
Despite being the lowest rung on the automaker's ladder, the 2017 A3's styling inside and out bears unmistakable resemblance to its bigger and more expensive brothers.
In the cabin, precise-feeling knobs and buttons, unique air vents and leather touchpoints set the tone for the experience.
Unlike in other entry-level luxury sedans, there's little in the A3's cabin that looks or feels low-rent.
Front seat occupants will enjoy an agreeable amount of space and comfort. Though average-sized adults will fit in the backseat, they won't find a lot of wiggle room. Sure, the A3's backseat is more accommodating than the Mercedes CLA-Class' but it pales in comparison to those of the Acura ILX or other slightly larger sedans,
such as the A4. Things get even more squeezed back there in the A3 convertible. It's a place best left for children.
Cargo space is also limited. The sedan has a puny 10-cubic-foot trunk when equipped with all-wheel drive (the front-wheel-drive A3 offers 12.3 cubic feet),
and it manages to hold a golf bag or a couple pieces of luggage but not much else.
The rear seats do fold down flat to help with loading of longer items, though. The convertible's trunk is essentially the same at 9.9 cubic feet.
The optional navigation system comes with a larger central display screen and a revised, touch-sensitive control knob. This allows you to enter commands by simply scribbling them with your finger.
Though it sounds odd, the touchpad works surprisingly well in practice. This system also includes Audi's Virtual Cockpit, an expanded, configurable instrument cluster that can display map data with brilliant clarity.
Other controls for the stereo and other systems might take some time to get used to, especially if you're used to a car with traditional dash-mounted buttons.
Fortunately, the addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for 2017 makes smartphone integration that much easier.
The 2017 Audi A3 brings a genuine luxury vibe to the entry-level class. In contrast, others in the segment feel more like a dressed-up compact.
Opting for 18-inch or 19-inch tires (as we did on the Edmunds.com long-term A3 2.0 TFSI) results in more noise and a busier ride.
The A3's turbocharged engine delivers good thrust and commendable fuel efficiency, and its ride quality with the standard 17-inch all-season tires is very well composed.
Another sign of its refinement is that cabin noise levels remain pleasantly civilized on the highway.
Its steering effort at low speeds is overly light but feels appropriately weighted and precise when the A3 is driven with spirit. Its athleticism is magnified with the larger summer tires, which deliver more cornering grip and sharper reactions to driver inputs.
Though its available steering-wheel shift paddles give the driver more control, the dual-clutch automatic transmission is suitably responsive when left to its own devices.
And when the fun's over, the A3's tidy size makes easy work of parking in tight spaces.