8 Best & Worst Audi A3 Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Audi A3 is a compact luxury sedan that was first launched in the US as a 2006 model year.

Despite its small size, it still offers the same quality, luxury and athletic handling found in Audi’s bigger and more expensive models.

In this article, we’ll investigate the best and worst model years of the A3.

2022 Audi A3

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Audi A3 Are:

The best Audi A3 model years are 2023, 2022, 2020, 2019, and 2013. The worst model years of the A3 are 2015, 2006, and 2016. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Audi A3?

2023 Audi A3

The 2023 A3 is packed with the latest and greatest tech which makes it one of the most superior luxury compact cars to date.

It is fun to drive, has an intuitive infotainment system, and is powered by a peppy yet efficient engine.

The entry-level Premium trim is sold at approximately $36,000 while the high-end Premium Plus trim comes at around $40,000.

New features for this model include full LED headlights with daytime running lights (DRLs) and a convenience package that installs a wireless charger for compatible mobile devices.

Notable safety features include Audi Side Assist with rear cross-traffic alert (optional), and Pre Sense Basic and Pre Sense Front (standard).

  • Edmunds: 5.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 5.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2023 A3, Edmunds review:

“I am so impressed with the new A3, it’s quick, it handles great, and it has great luxury. You get a car that has all-wheel drive and gets amazing gas mileage on regular fuel with the hybrid system. To me it’s the perfect car. UPDATE: Luxury, great gas mileage, with a sporty feel makes this an excellent choice.”

2022 Audi A3

The 2022 A3 is another great choice when shopping for a small, premium sedan. Feedback from owners has been overwhelmingly positive and auto critics have given it the thumbs up too.

It kicks off the third-generation A3 and stays true to its roots offering high performance, luxury and great value.

This model boasts a revamped interior and exterior design, updated in-car tech and driver assistance features, and an efficient mild hybrid powertrain.

It may be a tad small for those with practicality in mind, but the model makes up for it in more ways than one, including a lightweight body, impeccable agility, and nimble handling. 

EPA estimates place its fuel economy at 29 mpg for city driving, 38 mpg for highway driving, and 32 mpg for combined driving. 

  • Edmunds: 5.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 5.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2022 A3, Edmunds review:

“The 2022 Audi A3 is the perfect balance of power, handling, ride, tech and efficiency I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning and I’ve been driving since 1973. The mild hybrid system combined with the smoothest start/stop system I’ve ever driven has allowed me to far exceed the EPA highway mileage, routinely hitting 42 mpg on trips from Connecticut to NYC. The ability to coast down hills with the engine off is a hyper milers dream come true. The 201 SHP is more than adequate and the compliant ride, comfortable seats and precise handling make it a joy to drive. This car should definitely be on your list.”

2020 Audi A3

The 2020 A3 is the top pick if you are shopping for a second-generation A3. It lacks the updates of the newer models but will be easier on the wallet.

It boasts a comfortable ride, sporty handling, and strong acceleration from its 2.0L turbocharged engine.

The cabin also received a lot of praise for its high-quality, styling and refinement.

For 2020 the cabriolet (convertible) was dropped leaving just the sedan models.

There are 4 available trim levels: Sport Premium, Sport Premium Plus, Premium S Line, and Premium Plus S Line. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2020 A3, Edmunds review:

“If you want to turn heads, a great ride, and affordability, this is the car for you. When I say great ride, I mean great ride. It hugs the road. It’s almost as if the car is saying, “Let me show you what I can do”. I was on the highway one afternoon, and the engine was purring like a much contented cat, when I glanced at the tach, and it was around 2000rpms. Then, I looked over to the speedometer, and I doing close to 90mph. It’ just that smooth…”

2019 Audi A3

Whether sedan or convertible, the 2019 A3 packs quite a punch despite its small stature. 

The model is powered by a turbocharged 2-liter TFSI engine with horsepower ranging from 184 up to 228, depending on trim.

Interior space is a bit tight and so too is cargo capacity although this car makes up for it in other areas.

The base Premium model is front-wheel-drive and comes with a 7-speed automated manual transmission. 

EPA fuel estimates are admirable, providing 26 mpg for city driving, 35 mpg for highway driving, and 29 mpg for combined driving. 

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2019 A3, Edmunds review:

“After having BMWs to Audis (I even did a brief stint in a honda accord, yuck) I found this to be the most likable. I loved my a4 and s4, but due to older age, needed something brand new, didn’t want to sacrifice acceleration or comfort. The a3 is noticeably smaller than the a4 of today, same size as the a4 of previous generations…”

2013 Audi A3

Despite being slightly dated, the 2013 A3 is a great choice for those on a tighter budget. It is only available in hatchback form as it wasn’t until 2015 the sedan and covertible body styles were brought in.

The 2013 A3 sports an upscale interior, enjoyable driving dynamics, and versatile interior space. 

It comes in 6 trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, TDI Premium, Premium Quattro, TDI Premium Plus, and Premium Plus Quattro. 

There are 2 engines available, a 2-liter gasoline engine (200 horsepower) and a 2-liter diesel engine (140 horsepower).

Its luxury amenities are tech features are plentiful too.

This model received the IIHS Top Safety Pick thanks to its high scores in crashworthiness tests.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 75 / 100

2013 A3, Edmunds review:

“In most categories, I love this car. I like the look, the fuel economy, it’s fun to drive and has a great stereo. The turbo lag does take some getting used to – When accelerating from a stop, it can take a full second or two for the turbo to engage. It’s very responsive once you’ve started moving. Fuel economy is great and overall, it’s really a fun little car…”

Consumer Scores For Best Audi A3 Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 Audi A35.0 / 5.05.0 / 5.078 / 100
2022 Audi A35.0 / 5.05.0 / 5.078 / 100
2020 Audi A34.2 / 5.04.0 / 5.083 / 100
2019 Audi A34.4 / 5.04.0 / 5.0NA
2013 Audi A34.4 / 5.04.6 / 5.075 / 100

Related: 5 Most Common Problems With Audi A3 (Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Audi A3?

2015 Audi A3

The 2015 A3 was plagued by airbag problems.

The issue was caused by a faulty passenger occupant detection system (PODS) which meant that the passenger in the front seat may not be protected by the airbag system.

Complaints were filed by many unhappy owners due to the unresponsiveness and slowness of dealers to address and fix the problem.

Here is one owner’s complaint:

“It has been nearly 9 months since this recall was issued. Audi cannot provide a remedy and cannot tell me when they can provide a remedy. I cannot transport a passenger in the front seat safely, and I cannot sell the car because Audi has issued a ‘stop sell’ order. Audi will not repurchase the car.”

The 2015 A3 had a total of 34 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 199 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Died while driving
  • Cracked differential crown wheel
  • Excessive oil consumption

2006 Audi A3

The 2006 A3 was notorious for issues surrounding its automatic transmission.

Owners reported loss of power, intermittent hesitation, going into neutral whilst driving and non-responsive shifting. 

The most common, and dangerous issue owners faced was when they pulled out into traffic from a stop, the car would suddenly stall in the middle of the road.

Many of these issues have been linked to a fault in the mechatronics of the direct shift gearbox (DSG).

This model was also recalled due to being fitted with exploding, shrapnel-shooting Takata airbags.

The 2006 A3 had a total of 3 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 131 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Lost power while driving
  • Lurched unexpectedly
  • Excessive oil consumption

2016 Audi A3

Much like the 2015 model year, the 2016 A3 was rife with airbag-related problems.

The chief complaint of many owners (which was also acknowledged by the automaker through recall campaigns) was a faulty PODS (passenger occupant detection system).

A PODS functions as a weight-sensing mechanism that is typically mounted under the passenger seat cushion to communicate the presence of a passenger in the seat.

Unfortunately, several reports indicated that a lot of owners were left to wait indefinitely due to a scarcity of replacement parts. 

The 2016 A3 had a total of 6 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 111 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Jerks and hesitates
  • Water leaking in
  • Headlight out

Related: How Long Do Audi A3 Last? (11 Important Facts)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints(CarComplaints.com)Problems(CarProblemZoo.com)
2023 Audi A30
2022 Audi A305
2020 Audi A3014
2019 Audi A3114
2018 Audi A3135
2017 Audi A3077
2016 Audi A36111
2015 Audi A334199
2013 Audi A3624
2012 Audi A3047
2011 Audi A3248
2010 Audi A3458
2009 Audi A3664
2008 Audi A3046
2007 Audi A3161
2006 Audi A33131

What Problems Do Audi A3 Have?

  • Died while driving
  • Mechatronic stopped working
  • Cracked differential crown wheel
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Air conditioning not working
  • Steptronic gearbox skips gears
  • Timing chain stretch
  • Vehicle hesitating, not firing properly
  • Dimming headlights
  • Stalls when first started
  • Electrical short, fire
  • Jerks and hesitates
  • Water leaking in
  • Headlight out
  • Transmission failure
  • Complete electrical failure
  • Engine bay smoking

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Audi A3?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Acura Integra9.0$30,800 – $35,800City: 26 – 30 /Highway: 36 – 37
Audi A48.7$40,300 – $42,400City: 24 /Highway: 32 – 33
Audi A58.6$44,600 – $53,900City: 24 /Highway: 31 – 33
Mercedes-Benz C-Class8.6$43,550 – $87,100City: 17 – 24 /Highway: 24 – 33
Genesis G708.5$39,400 – $47,000City: 17 – 21 /Highway: 26 – 31
BMW 2-Series8.4$35,700 – $48,550City: 23 – 26 /Highway: 32 – 35
Kia Stinger8.4$36,690 – $54,090City: 17 – 22 /Highway: 24 – 32
BMW 3-Series8.3$41,450 – $56,700City: 23 – 26 /Highway: 32 – 36
Volkswagen Arteon8.3$43,010 – $50,175City: 22 – 25 /Highway: 31 – 33
Volkswagen Golf R8.1$44,740 – $46,190City: 20 – 23 /Highway: 28 – 30
Volvo S608.1$41,300 – $50,300City: 25 – 26 /Highway: 33 – 35
Audi A38.1$34,900 – $36,900City: 27 – 28 /Highway: 35 – 38

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: Audi A3 Snow and Winter Driving (Solved & Explained)










  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...