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 (Base MSRP: $27,270 to $30,850).
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