Audi is a German car manufacturer owned by the massive Volkswagen Group. It competes against fellow German brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz for a share of the luxury car market. Audi’s cars share a lot of components with sister company Volkswagen but differentiate itself by offering more comfort and luxury and the legendary Quattro all-wheel drive system.
In 2022, Audi offers no less than 47 different cars. Everything from small crossovers to EV sedans to supercars like the R8 and the RS6 super-wagon. That’s a lot to choose from, and within that catalog is a range of vehicles to suit everyone’s needs.
Let’s take a look at the entry-level car, the easiest and most affordable access point to the famous four-ringed brand. That is the A3 sedan and it starts at just $34,800. Is it the best way to break into the Audi lifestyle?
2022 Audi A3 sedan – performance and economy
The base model Audi A3 sedan comes in the Premium trim and features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 201 horsepower. That engine sends its power through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and out to the front wheels. The A3 will complete the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 6.6 seconds and top out at 130 mph.
Audi is all about the Quattro all-wheel drive, but to gain access to that level of traction and control, you’ll need an additional $2000.
The EPA estimates that you’ll get 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
Exterior design and features
The A3 is a great-looking car. It follows Audi’s design language and looks like a smaller version of the big vehicles. That is not a bad thing, as Audi is doing a pretty good job designing cars that look modern, stylish, and won’t quickly look dated.
You can have your A3 sedan in any color you want, as long as it is black or white. Silver, gray, blue, red, and a few other options are available but carry a $595 premium.
17-inch silver wheels are standard, and the optional 18” wheels require an additional $800.
A panoramic sunroof is standard, as are LED headlights taillights.
Comfort and multimedia
On the inside, you’ll find premium materials. The seats are leather, eight-way adjustable, and heated. There is a choice of colors which include black, beige or brown. All seat colors are combined with aluminum interior trim.
Audi has always been known for its well-designed and comfortable interiors. The A3 does well in this respect. The controls, dashboard, seats, and fittings all feel high-end and are comfortable to use. It’s important to remember that this is a small car, and as such, the rear seats are a bit cramped.
The infotainment screen measures 10.1 inches and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Bluetooth connectivity is included as well as a rearview camera and smartphone interface. The instrument cluster is digital and adds a high-tech look to the interior.
The Audi A3 does well on the safety front. The NHTSA has given it a five-star crash test rating, and Audi’s small sedan comes with a decent set of features.
To keep you and your passengers safe on the road, the A3 comes with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. Even the base model car gets 10 airbags, but you’ll need to go up a trim level or spec some of the options packages if you want additional active safety features.
It is not a bad set of specs, but competitors from Mercedes and BMW come with more standard active safety features.
Is the 2022 Audi A3 sedan, in base spec, worth buying?
The base A3 sedan costs $34,800, and the $1,045 destination charge pushes that to $35,845. That’s still significantly less expensive than the base Mercedes A-Class, but there is one major problem. No Quattro all-wheel drive. If we can speak honestly for a minute, that is the primary reason to choose an Audi over similar cars from BMW or Mercedes.
You can add it to the A3 for an additional $2000, but then you are better off selecting the Premium Plus or Prestige trim. Those trim levels offer more technology, more standard features, and a better experience.
If you opt for the base model A3, you will still get an excellent car that is very comfortable and well built. The MQB platform may be getting a bit long in the tooth, but it still provides plenty of fun and luxury in a small package.