The Audi A3 is one of the best-selling Audi models ever to come out because it offers a more luxurious experience compared to the VW Golf for a price that isn’t all that much different. The Audi A3 is now available as either a sedan or a regular hatchback which has also boosted sales of the Audi A3.
When it comes to reliability, the A3 was always a relatively decent car, but only if you maintained it well enough. German premium cars are notorious for reliability is they are not properly taken care of. If they are, they will be able to last you for hundreds of thousands of miles, so be sure to do your due diligence and make that happen if you want an A3.
The most common issues with the Audi A3 are associated with the engine, the suspension, the DPF filter (diesel cars), oil leaks/excessive oil use, and issues with the start-stop system. It’s worth mentioning that most of these truly can be solved with preventive maintenance.
All in all, the Audi A3 can be more reliable than it is, but it is not as bad as most people say it is. I owned three different Audi A3 models from three different generations and I never had any serious issues besides those that were caused by lack of maintenance.
Audi A3 engine issues
The Audi A3 suffers from various engine issues such as misfiring and loss of power followed by the dreaded check engine light. These are typically caused by engine coil failure which has happened to me as well. The issue can easily be solved by just replacing these as they are not designed to last forever.
Probably the worst possible Audi A3 issue is the one where the engine dies completely and is a known issue with 2.0L diesel models. I owned a few of these and some of my friends did as well, but I never came across anyone that has experienced these issues.
Audi A3 suspension issues
The Audi A3 is known to develop various suspension issues after the car has been on the road for a few years. These are typically associated with either knocking or thumping noises while the car goes over speed bumps and can be easily solved if you just replace the components that need replacing.
The track rods are known to break after a while, especially if you aggressively go over speed bumps. I did experience issues with knocking sounds coming from the suspension area and replacing the track rods seems to have solved the issue. All in all, the suspension on the A3 is dependable, but higher mileage cars are likely to come across these issues.
Audi A3 DPF filter issues
One of the most annoying problems I faced a few times with an Audi A3 and I also heard from a bunch of other people who experienced DPF filter issues a number of times during their ownership. The issue here is mostly because the car is being driven around town on shorter distance journeys which means that the DPF system can’t reach the temperature needed to burn all the harmful substances.
This causes the filter to clog and prompts a warning sign on the dashboard. This can be solved either by reaching the desired temperature by driving faster and a bit more aggressively, or it can be manually cleaned which you will sometimes have to do because the car will effectively enter limp mode.
Audi A3 oil leaks and excessive oil consumption
The Audi A3 is known to both leak and consume a bunch of oil in the process. These can be caused by broken turbocharger pressure pipe seal and many other hoses and seals that house the oil. This can be a really serious issue because the oil is needed to lubricate the engine and always keep it in perfect running order.
If you come across an oil puddle underneath your Audi A3, be sure to test the entire system out for leaks and be sure to take care of them before they cause any damage to the engine.
Audi A3 start/stop system issues
Many Audi models seem to experience a bunch of issues related to the start-stop system, but the A3 might as well be the one that experiences these the most. I experienced issues a few times with these in which they can strain the starter motor, the alternator, the battery, and even the engine coils.
As such, I have permanently disabled the start-stop system so I don’t have to worry about fixing it if it breaks.
Is the Audi A3 worth it?
If you are after a compact car that perfectly balances premium feel with attainable prices, the A3 is a really good choice. It is not the largest car inside and out, but it does offer enough space for those who aren’t often transporting a bunch of passengers at once.
The entire package is well priced and the technologies you can get in the A3 are present in even the most expensive Audi models. As such, if you are in the market for a relatively compact car that can do both long-distance and short-distance journeys, the Audi A3 is a great choice.
Is the Audi A3 better than the VW Golf?
The VW Golf is one of the most popular cars on the market, especially in Europe. That is why the prices of used VW Golf models are really similar to the price of a used Audi A3 which has similar miles on the clock. However, the Audi A3 is definitely the more premium car.
The A3 is also being offered in sedan form which further increases the appeal of the A3 to a wider audience while the VW Golf is just a regular hatchback.
Is the Audi RS3 a good car?
The Audi RS3 is the top-of-the-line Audi A3 model that comes with a glorious 5-cylinder engine that sounds like a baby Audi R8. The RS3 is the definitive class leader because the A45 Mercedes offers a relatively boring 2.0L 4-cylinder in comparison.
BMW was never even able to compete with the RS3 and the A45 anyway, so the newest 1-series didn’t really change that. All in all, the RS3 is one of the best, if not the best compact performance cars you can buy right now.