The 2011 Audi A3 is a stylish and upscale hatchback. The A3 has compelling options like an efficient diesel engine and optional all-wheel drive, and its agile handling and quick-shifting transmission draw praise from reviewers. A steep base price prevents it from being a top choice when compared to other economy hatchbacks, including its corporate stablemate, the highly rated 2011 Volkswagen Golf (Base MSRP: $17,995 to $19,755). Other cars that are nearly half the price, such as the 2011 Mazda3 (Base MSRP: $15,800 to $23,010), are also fun to drive and offer hatchback utility.
The 2011 A3 remains essentially unchanged from last year aside from a few minor trim enhancements and new wheel options. For more details, see our page on the 2010 Audi A3.
Different versions of the A3 have varying degrees of fuel efficiency based on specific combinations of transmissions, engines and all-wheel drive. The base, turbocharged, 2-liter four-cylinder gets 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway/24 mpg combined with the six-speed manual, while the six-speed automatic is rated slightly lower at 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway/24 mpg combined. Quattro all-wheel drive is available only with the automatic transmission and 2-liter four-cylinder, and returns the same fuel economy as the non-all-wheel drive version except for a city rating that is one mile per gallon lower. The 2-liter, diesel four-cylinder is available only with the six-speed automatic and delivers an impressive 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway/34 mpg combined.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the 2011 A3 as a Top Safety Pick in the midsize car category. This means that it receives the highest rating of Good in tests of front-, side- and rear-impact protection, as well as roof strength. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not tested the 2011 Audi A3.
Base MSRP for the 2011 A3 is $27,270 for the 2.0T Premium trim and $30,850 for the 2.0T Premium Quattro, the all-wheel-drive model.
The 2011 A3 carries over into this model year unchanged. The editors consider the price low for a luxury hatchback, but high for an economy car. They point out that there are better values out there for hatchbacks.
Review: 2011 Audi A3, Editors of Edmunds.com
ConsumerReports.org tests the Audi A3 and provides driving impressions, concise overviews and well-respected reliability data.
Review: New Cars: Small Cars, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
3. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The IIHS names the 2011 Audi A3 a Top Safety Pick, indicating that it receives the highest possible score in all four test scenarios.
Review: Midsize Moderately Priced Cars, Editors of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The 2011 Audi A3 has an EPA-estimated fuel-efficiency rating of 24 to 25 mpg in mixed driving, depending on transmission and drivetrain choice. The diesel engine A3 has an excellent fuel-economy rating of 34 mpg combined.
Review: 2011 Audi A3, Editors of FuelEconomy.gov
This full report on the 2011 Audi A3 takes an in-depth look at the model, based on expert reviewer opinions. Links to many useful sources can be found here.
Review: 2010 Audi A3, Editors of ConsumerSearch.com, June 2010