2022 Audi A3

By May 26, 2022

The Audi A3 is a small sedan that’s quick, good-looking, safe and stuffed with high-tech features. For 2022 it gets new looks, while improving on three of the things it’s already good at: power, cabin technology, and safety.

The base 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine jumps from 188 to 201 hp, while making 221 lb-ft of torque. The higher-performance S3 also gets more powerful, increasing from 296 to 306 hp and from 280 lb-ft of torque to 295 lb-ft. Both engines use Audi’s superb 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The A3 is standard with front-wheel drive with AWD available, while the S3 is AWD only.

The new A3 wears bigger front air intakes around a wider trapezoid-shaped grille. LED headlights are now standard, with an option for more effective LED matrix lamps. The cabin has new lines that echo the exterior, and adds digital displays, now with as many as three, including a big touchscreen of 10.1 inches. Those three don’t count the optional head-up display.

The S3 is lower by half an inch, and has 18-inch wheels, bigger vented brake discs, and available adaptive dampers.

The EPA says an A3 with front-wheel drive gets 29/38/32 mpg, while an AWD model gets 28/36/31 mpg. The S3 comes in at 23/32/27 mpg, not bad for all that horsepower.

The 2022 A3 hasn’t been crash tested yet, but standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and active lane control. Optional equipment includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic park assist.

Model Lineup

Made in Hungary, the A3 and S3 come in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trims.

The front-wheel-drive A3 Premium starts at $34,945 and comes with leather seats that adjust eight ways with power and are heated in front, a 10.1-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster, LED headlights and taillights, and 17-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires. All-wheel drive adds $2,000.

The $40,245 Premium Plus adds adaptive cruise control, wireless device charging, a surround-view camera system, synthetic leather door armrests, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts, memory for the driver seat and mirrors, satellite radio, and automatic park assist.

The S3 Premium Plus costs $48,745 with those same features, but has the stronger engine, 18-inch summer performance tires, front sport seats, and bigger brakes. Options include wood trim, adaptive cruise control, the head-up display, LED matrix headlamps, and Bang & Olufsen audio. For $1,100 you can add the S Sport package with adaptive dampers and red brake calipers.

At the other end of the lineup, the S3 Prestige costs $52,945.


The A3 is refined and tidy. For 2022 it gains sculpting and polish, while the teardrop shape of the headlights is heightened. The wider grille’s trapezoid shape is sporty without detracting from a luxury look. You’ll never notice the increased size of this year’s A3: it’s 1.5 inches longer, 0.8 inches wider, and 0.5 inches taller than last year’s version.


The cabin comes off as modern, with two big screens, but function is the priority, as it’s focused on the driver. The materials are sturdy and the fit and finish excellent. There are a lot of soft-touch surfaces, with no feeling of cost cutting. Optional trim includes wood, carbon fiber and aluminum.

The screen layout looks good, and it’s fast. The infotainment touchscreen is 10.1 inches and is canted toward the driver. The digital display screen is 10.3 inches, with an option for 12.3 inches. The instrument cluster can be configured, with three available themes that encompass anything a driver might want to know about what his car is doing.

The A3 is spacious in front, and the base seats are comfortable. The S3 does one better: it gets sport seats that don’t go overboard on bolstering. One interesting touch is the shifter that looks like a big toggle switch.

Room in the rear is okay if you’re not taller than 6 feet. The A3’s trunk checks in at 10.9 cubic feet, but the S3 loses some space; it’s rated at 8.3 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

The standard 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine delivers a solid 201 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Muscular and flexible, this engine delivers 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds, or 0.3 quicker with all-wheel drive thanks to better grip off the line.

Given that the S3 makes 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and can blast to 60 mph in a mere 5.5 engines, it’s a surprise that the engine is basically the same 2.0-liter turbo-4. But it’s all about turbocharger boost, plus of course stronger parts to withstand the horsepower. The S3 has a mode called Dynamic, which opens the exhaust to crackle and pop like a racecar engine.

The A3 is stable and agile, sporty, and comfortable. The ride is firm but no problem on bumpy streets, as it takes a very sharp bump to get it upset. The brakes are good too, smooth, and progressive; the S3’s bigger brakes rise to the occasion of coming hard down a mountain road.

The steering is sharp and quick, more so with the lower S3 that corners flat, especially when it has the optional adaptive dampers. But the A3, too, feels light and tossable, although it reaches its point of complaint sooner, if it’s over-driven in a turn. Then, the weight in the front will cause it to push. But we’re talking limits here, and few A3 buyers will have a need to push them, or even get there by accident.

Final Word

The 2023 Audi A3 has technology that accentuates its performance. It’s fun to drive in lower-output models, but the S3 blazes its own brilliant path.


—by Sam Moses, with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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