2022 Audi A3 Sedan First Look Review: Sub-Compact Luxury At Its Best

First Look / Comments

Audi is ready to take on BMW and Mercedes.

Following the reveal of the Sportback model for the European market, the 2022 Audi A3 Sedan has just been unveiled for the United States. As expected, the sedan shares much of its design with the hatchback except at the back, where the former obviously has a trunk rather than a hatch. This new A3 is a little bit longer and wider than the car it replaces, yielding more interior space. It also has newer technology and some efficiency improvements under the hood. When it goes on sale in late 2021, the A3 will jump into battle with other sub-compact luxury sedans from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, including the 2 Series Gran Coupe and A-Class. Does it have the goods to stack up against the competition?

Audi Rear Angle View Audi Audi
Rear Angle View

Similar, But More Aggressive Style

To say the new A3's styling is a complete departure from the last model would be an overstatement but Audi has certainly dialed up the aggression here. The LED trapezoidal headlights are angrier and now flank a more intricate Singleframe honeycomb grille. In the rear, the taillight design looks far more complex, giving the impression that the car is ready to accelerate away from annoying tailgaters in a hurry. Then there are the wheels, which feature a five-spoke blade design that is far more stylized than the last-generation car. The more aggressive design is welcomed and will be needed to compete with its German rivals.

Crucially, Audi hasn't ruined the A3 in its transition from a hatchback to a sedan, which is more difficult than you'd think. Both the BMW 2 Series and Mercedes A-Class look far more natural as hatchbacks but Audi, on the surface, has done a better job of designing the A3 to suit both body styles from the get-go.

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Frontal Aspect

A Well Laid Out Interior

The last A3 debuted some of Audi's best technology at the time but started to feel outclassed by its newer competitors. With this all-new model, Audi has once again granted its best technology to its smallest car in the US. The pop-up screen is gone, replaced by a 10.1-inch touchscreen display in the console, powered by the latest MIB 3 system. Of course, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, while built-in navigation is optional.

Audi's Virtual Cockpit is now a standard feature housed on a 10.3-inch screen in the gauge cluster, and a larger 12.3-inch cluster with a HUD is also available. The A3's rivals also include dual-screen setups in their cars as well, but we think the Audi treads a fine line between the minimalist design of the BMW and the flashy look of the Mercedes. It's nicely equipped with standard heated seats featuring eight-way power adjustment and four-way power lumbar support, plus an available driver seat and mirror memory function.

Central Console Audi Instrument Board Audi
Central Console
Instrument Board

Less Power, More Efficiency

This latest A3 arrives sporting a single engine option, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower and 236 lb-ft going out to front-wheel-drive or quattro all-wheel-drive through a seven-speed dual-clutch. The previous A3 only produced 184 hp and 222 lb-ft of torque in its base guise, so this new model is an improvement. However, the latest A3 is less powerful than the old 45 TSFI drivetrain, which produced 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Audi lowered the power output on this new model to focus on efficiency with a standard 48-volt mild-hybrid system.

The A2 is less potent than the BMW 228i (228 hp) but offers more standard power than the Mercedes A220 (188 hp). Audi will offer a more powerful S3 version to rival the BMW M235i and the Mercedes A35, while the upcoming RS3 model will rival the Mercedes CLA 45.

Front View Driving Audi Audi Rear View Driving Audi
Front View Driving
Rear View Driving

Pricing & Competition

Pricing for the 2022 A3 starts at $33,900 for the Premium 40 TSFI model with FWD. The price tag jumps to $37,200 for the Premium Plus and $41,200 for the Prestige. Opting for quattro adds $2,000. At this price, the A3 undercuts the BMW 228i ($35,700) but costs slightly more than the Mercedes A-Class ($33,650). Based on its attractive standard features, the A3 looks like the best value among this German subcompact German sedan trio.

Sideward Vision Audi Lateral View Audi
Sideward Vision
Lateral View

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