Audi's smallest sedan is fully redesigned for 2022, with styling that brings the A3 in line with the brand's latest look. Slightly longer, wider, and taller than before, the new A3 provides improved passenger space. The interior features a revised layout and enhanced technology. A turbocharged and hybridized 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine will be available with Quattro AWD once the car rolls into U.S. showrooms late in 2021. The sporty S3 and RS3 also makes their return.
New for 2022, the A3 features:
The new Audi A3 aims to improve on its likable predecessor. Hopefully it'll also remedy some of that vehicle's flaws, such as loud tire noise and cramped rear seats.
Technology is a focus in Audi's newest vehicles, a theme that's consistent even on the entry-level A3. The brand's latest infotainment system is among the best in the industry, and the 2022 A3 will arrive with a standard 10.1-inch touchscreen. A 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster will also be standard on the 2022 A3, with a 12.3-inch unit available.
With its mild hybrid turbocharged I-4 engine, the 2022 A3 should be appreciably quick. If that's not enough, Audi has solutions. The S3 returns with even more power, and an RS5 is on the way, once again with a snarling turbocharged five-cylinder engine under its hood. On the other end of the spectrum, it's possible that Audi will launch a more efficient hybrid A3, or even an all-electric E-Tron variant, at some point in the model run.
The 2022 A3 is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 engine supplemented by a 48-volt mild hybrid electrical system. Output measures 201 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. It's all sent through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, with FWD standard and Audi's signature Quattro AWD system available.
We expect the new model to be about as quick as the last A3 we tested, which was a 2015 2.0T AWD model. That car accelerated to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. It had a six-speed dual-clutch automatic, but was a bit more powerful. It stands to reason that FWD A3 models will follow a few tenths of a second behind.
Audi says the 48-volt mild-hybrid system equipped on the A3 has benefits for performance and efficiency. Pulling away from a stop, the system can provide extra low-end torque for better off-the-line response. It can also allow the A3 to operate with the engine off in certain situations like coasting to a stop. It's possible that the setup will improve on the last A3's fuel economy ratings, which were 27/37 mpg city/highway with FWD and 22/30 mpg with AWD in 2020.
Like the standard A3, the sporty S3 features a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 engine. But its performance is a step above, cranking out 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Again, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is used, but Quattro AWD is standard. Audi says this setup will let the S3 launch to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Larger brakes and low-riding sport suspension are among the S3's other sporty hardware.
Check out our 2022 Audi S3 Buyer's Guide.
For all the impressive grip Audi's sporty cars exhibit, what's less awesome is the understeer that tends happen when they let go. Audi seeks to change that with the new RS3, which features a torque-vectoring rear axle that lets the car do something few of its RennSport stablemates can: drift. The RS Torque Splitter can send more torque to the rear axle, and then distribute it between the rear wheels, for rear-drive aping tail-out fun. As before, the RS3 packs a turbocharged 2.5-liter I-5 engine, which now makes a bit more horsepower and torque than before. With 401 hp and 369 lb-ft, it's possible that the RS3 will improve the 3.6-second 0-60 mph time we recorded from its predecessor. We can't wait to find out.
All 2022 A3 models are equipped with 10 airbags. Standard driver-assist and active safety features include front automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. Systems like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert are optional extras.
Although the 2022 A3 has not yet been crash tested, impressive results from other Audi models indicate that safety will be a priority for the brand's smallest car. Audi vehicles made the lists of the safest cars and luxury SUVs for 2021.
Every A3 features a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and WiFi hotspot capability. An available mobile app can provide remote monitoring and control of vehicle functions, such as door locking and engine ignition. Digital gauge displays, now a signature Audi feature, are part of the 2022 A3 package: a 10.3-inch unit will be standard, with a larger 12.3-inch version available. Optional technology features should include a head-up display, 360-degree parking camera system, wireless charging pad, and premium sound system.
The A3 may be Audi's entry-level model, but it's still equipped with standard features that position it as a luxury car. Among those is leather upholstery for the seats, which are heated and power-adjustable up front. Three-zone automatic climate control keeps things comfortable, while a panoramic sunroof lets in fresh air. Large gauge cluster and infotainment displays lend a high-tech ambiance.
Of course, Audi will offer a long list of options to increase the high-end feel. A wireless device charger is available to supplement the standard USB ports. For the first time, the A3 can be equipped with a head-up display. If the optional front and rear parking sensors don't suffice, the A3 can be had with a semi-autonomous parking aid. There will also likely be a premium sound system from Audi's audio partner Bang & Olufsen. Other upgrades could include heated rear seats, multi-color interior ambient lighting, and built-in navigation.
The A3 starts at about $34,950 in entry-level Premium trim, and increases to around $42,500 for the range-topping Prestige trim. Those prices are for FWD models; choosing Quattro AWD adds $2,000 to all A3 trim levels.
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