- See also Audi S3
First generation (1996-2002)
The original A3 bears a close resemblance to its contemporary sister car, the Mk. IV VW Golf. It exists as a three-door hatchback and a five-door hatchback, in both front- and four-wheel drive, all with four-cylinder transverse-mounted engines. The front-wheel drive versions feature three petrol engines and three diesels. The four-wheel-drive A3 1.8T Quattro uses a 132 kW (177 hp) version of the 1.8 L turbo engine and the same Haldex-based Quattro drivetrain as the Audi S3 and the original Audi TT. Unlike the S3, the A3 Quattro does exist as a five-door model.
In late 2001, the A3 range was revised with new light clusters, an improved interior, and the introduction of a six-speed manual gearbox. Audi's ESP (Electronic Stability Program) traction-control and brakeforce distribution computer became standard equipment.
- 1.6 L (1595 cc/97 in³), 75 kW (101 hp)
- 1.8 L (1781 cc/108 in³), 92 kW (123 hp)
- 1.8 L (1781 cc/108 in³) light-pressure turbo, 110 kW (148 hp)
- 1.8 L (1781 cc/108 in³) light-pressure turbo, 132 kW (177 hp) Quattro
- 1.9 L (1896 cc/115 in³) Diesel, 66 kW (89 hp)
- 1.9 L (1896 cc/115 in³) light-pressure turbo Diesel, 81 kW (109 hp)
- 1.9 L (1896 cc/115 in³) turbo Diesel, 96 kW (129 hp)
Second generation (2003-)
In the 2003 Frankfurt Motorshow, Audi launched the second-generation of the A3. The premium version of the A3 is the 3.2 Quattro with a 24-valve 250 hp (186 kW) VR6 engine. It delivers a peak-torque range with a maximum value of 320 N·m (236 ft·lbf) from 2500–3000 rpm. The new Audi A3 (three doors and SportBack) has been drawn by Italian Walter Da Silva.
A five-door version was launched in the United States market in May 2005 priced at US$25,450. It uses the 200 hp (149 kW) turbocharged 2.0 L I4 engine with a standard six-speed manual transmission. A DSG clutchless manual transmission is optional and priced at $1,400. The American A3 will initially be limited to front wheel drive, though a Quattro (all wheel drive) version with a 3.2 L VR6 engine will be made available in the future.
The American A3 comes with a great deal of standard equipment, including 17-inch wheels, a 140-watt sound system with 10 speakers and CD player, automatic climate control, and an Electronic Stabilization Program. The $1,800 Sport Package includes colored wheels, a sport suspension, and an upgraded interior with leather sport seats. For $2,025, the Premium Package adds a trip computer, leather seats, and other convenience features. A panoramic sunroof, called "Open Sky System" that comprises a sun-roof and a glass panel over the backseat passengers is optional, as are a navigation system and upgraded Bose audio system.
- "A7, A5, and A3 Joins Even Numbers", an article in the "News" section on page thirty-eight of the June, 2004 issue of Motor Trend
- Audi A3 Owner's Manual (English/UK edition) (2000 Audi AG)