There are plenty of compact luxury cars you can buy used.
The 2021 Audi A3 sedan looks like a strong entrant into the sub-compact luxury segment, which currently includes the Acura ILX, BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and CLA-Class. With its updated styling, improved interior and a price tag we expect to be in the low $30,000 range, the new A3 should be highly competitive against other entry-level luxury sedans. But if you are willing to go for a used model, there are plenty of even more attainable options out there. Here are five cheaper used alternatives to a new A3.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI may not technically be a luxury car but thanks to premium materials and excellent build quality, it does feel premium inside. A brand-new GTI can approach almost $40,000 but on the used market, the most recent seventh-generation car can be had for around $10,000. Even a certified pre-owned example, which includes a two-years/24,000-mile warranty can be found starting around $15,000. We suggest the GTI because it rides on the same MQB platform as the A3, utilizing the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, albeit with a more aggressive tune.
If you can live without two rear doors, the BMW 2 Series Coupe is a great used option. In performance-oriented M40i guise, these cars can be found starting around $23,000, while with a CPO warranty including one year and unlimited mileage, we found examples starting under $30,000. The M240i is powered by a turbocharged inline-six producing 340 horsepower, which is significantly more than you'll get from the A3. Rear-wheel-drive is standard but xDrive is also available.
An all-new Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 will do battle with the upcoming Audi RS3 but if you are looking for the best deal, a used CLA 45 is the way to go. The last generation car produced 345 hp from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder sending power out to 4Matic AWD. While not as modern as the new A3 inside, some buyers may crave the additional performance. Used prices start in the low-$20,000 range and CPO examples can be found ranging between $30,000 and $40,000.
If you prefer to stand out amongst the crowd, we recommend the used Volvo C30. This quirky hatchback offered an interesting alternative to a Mini Cooper at the time and is now available starting for as little as $5,000. On the other end of the spectrum, T5 R Design examples can found for less than $20,000 with low mileage.
Buyers often forget about the used Acura ILX when shopping for entry-level luxury cars. Acura's least expensive car is still powered by an old-school 2.4-liter Vtec four-cylinder while its cheaper sibling, the Honda Civic, has moved on to a turbocharged powerplant. The ILX still represents good value in this segment and used examples can easily be found for under $10,000. Even a low-mileage CPO example can be purchased starting at just $13,000, making it a reliable used luxury bargain.