Audi a3 diesel reliability

Audi a3 diesel reliability DEFAULT


It’s not necessarily a bad thing, being responsible in a room full of class clowns. This is the story of the grasshopper and the ant: once playtime is over, who’s prepared when real life comes crashing in?

The A3 sedan doesn’t just look like a car; it looks like a good investment.

As much as I love the Mini Cooper, I’ve got to admit that its reliability ratings would make me hesitate before making one my transportation. The A3 sedan is the diametric opposite of the Mini Cooper, diminutive and dignified.

It looks like an A4 that shrank in the wash, and gives off a solid air that suggests it’ll be around for a long time to come. The A3 sedan doesn’t just look like a car; it looks like a good investment. Audi’s big “singleframe” grille is up front, flanked by LED-accented headlights and neatly starched side creases that carry through to the rear of the car.

Though it shares no body panels with the A4, the A3 is close to impossible to distinguish. I’m a dedicated car spotter and I admit I’ve mistaken A3 sedans for A4s three times since the car debuted.


Note: Different Audi A3 Sedan interior shown.
The interior’s an equally serious affair, scaling Audi’s conservative yet handsome family styling down to a subcompact level without losing the sense of quality.

It'll seat four without undue discomfort, thanks to extremely comfortable seats and generous interior space.

A three-spoke wheel frames electroluminescent gauges, and includes controls for the Multi-Media Interface system. Round air vents provide a look that’s subtly retro. There’s even a version of Audi’s signature retractable navigation and information screen. It took me a few drives to realize just how small the A3 is; it’s so elegantly appointed that my brain just defaulted to assuming it was a bigger car.

Perhaps there’s something to that, though; a check of the measuring tape says that the A4 is less than an inch wider than the A3 in terms of interior shoulder room. It’ll seat four without undue discomfort, thanks to extremely comfortable seats and generous interior space.

A panoramic sunroof is standard, as are dual-zone climate controls and leather upholstery. The A3 sedan’s got better sound deadening than the hatch, so it’s quieter inside as well. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s an A4 at first blush. The A3 also likes to wear its big brothers’ stuff, like any overachieving youngster, and so it’s available with the MMI touch interface and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.


The A3 is available with a range of four-cylinder engines, as well as a gas-electric hybrid and a diesel. I drove the A3 TDI, which is arguably the most like a sensible three-piece suit of the entire powertrain family. The 2.0 liter clean-diesel engine rumbles out 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.

The diesel engine gives up a bit of low-end acceleration, but exchanges it for smooth freeway manners and impressive fuel economy. There’s barely a hint of additional noise or roughness, either; a modern diesel just doesn’t sound that much different from a gasoline engine these days. Driving the A3 TDI is a distinctively nondramatic experience, with the car nonchalantly providing as much power as you want or need. It actually tended to be a bit dull; I told the car where to go and it went there.

"Push the A3 hard and a bit of its neutral Teutonic demeanor will crack, revealing a confident grin"

Push the A3 hard and a bit of its neutral Teutonic demeanor will crack, revealing a confident grin, but otherwise it’s content be as expressive as a fresh Botox injection site. The power’s transferred to the road by a six-speed automatic transmission. Combining a very small car with a diesel engine is a good recipe for excellent fuel economy, and the A3 TDI delivers nicely, with freeway efficiency rated solidly in the 43-mpg range.

The A3 TDI is at its best on the freeway, unlike many smaller cars. Around town, the drivetrain is responsive and competent to the point of seamlessness. This car is an accomplished subordinate, unobtrusive and trustworthy. Utterly so: it’s hard not to feel like, if I were to exceed the speed limit, the A3 would call the teacher and tell on me. The suspension consists of MacPherson struts in the front and a twist-beam rear—one of the few reminders that the A3 is a subcompact at heart. Between the electronic power steering and excellent damping and wheel control, however, the ride echoes that of its bigger brothers. It’s small enough to nip through traffic with ease.

Audi has made a point of making nearly all of its high-tech toys available on the A3. That includes driver aids like the Side Assist blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control with full start-stop and a park-assist system with a backup camera. Just because it’s smaller doesn’t mean it has to be less well-equipped, after all. That’s the mantra of the premium compact.


The A3 sits in a comfortable spot in the premium-compact market. Pricing starts just far enough under $30,000 that Audi can say there’s an A3 starting below $30,000—$29,900 for the A3 1.8T. The slightly speedier 2.0T comes in at $33,200, while the TDI undercuts that slightly with an MSRP of $32,600. Part of that difference is all-wheel drive: uncommonly for Audi, the A3 TDI and A3 1.8T are only available with front-wheel drive.


Mercedes CLA-Class

The CLA-Class hit the premium-compact market like Mercedes hoped it would; as a game-changer. The expressive and handsome CLA offers everything that the Mercedes badge implies—smooth operation, competent handling, world-class aesthetics and a general feeling of “something special”—at a relatively competitive price. It’s succeeding at its mission of bringing new buyers into the Mercedes fold.

Read our full review here.

Buick Verano

The lone American entrant in the premium-compact class is a Buick. Underscoring the fact that American small cars have gotten much better over the years, the Verano’s quiet and comfortable, lower-priced than the European competition and available with a 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder.

Read our full review here.

Acura ILX

The ILX isn’t Acura’s best effort, but this reskinned Civic offers the marque’s signature video-game styling and a smooth powertrain, along with adept handling and the same excellent fuel economy as the Civic.

Read our full review here.


Compared to other premium compacts, including its own stablemate the A3 five-door, the A3 sedan is actually rather dull. It’s a highly competent, excellently styled and appointed vehicle, but it’s not intended to be the life of the party. As a more efficient luxury car or a means to get into an Audi without spending $50,000, it’s the way to go.

  • Love it

    • Fuel economy and torque
    • Feels just like a larger Audi
  • Leave it

    • Strong family look leaves it somewhat invisible
    • Heavily-optioned models can get pricey
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Should I Purchase an A3?

Thanks for the info/questions. My Golf runs and drives great aside from smoking (oil burning) if I corner, brake, or accelerate too fast. There is no loss of power while it smokes. It us an odd thing and no one seems to have an answer. I spent $1200 on new parts/labor through a local TDI Guru and that did not fix the issue. Body-wise, the paint is great. There is 1 dent (Fender), the rear hatch handle is starting to some show age/rust, and there is rust on the fenders at the rockers (The typical Mk4 rust). Inside is pretty clean with the black leather seats.

The reason I want an A3 TDI Wagon is ... it's an Audi TDI. Plus I want a bit more room over what my Golf can provide.

Honestly, everything I look at points towards the smart buy being the Jetta TDI SportWagen, but I like the Audi. I can deal with an automatic if I must. I bought the Golf back in 2014 as I had a 63 mile round trip commute. I purchased a closer house and now have a have a 28 mile round trip commute so top fuel efficiency is not as important.

I am 6'4", and one thing I read on the A3 Wagon is the limited driver seat space. I need to sit in both the Audi and the Jetta SportWagen and see if I fit comfortable in both. Unfortunately, the closest A3 Wagon for sale is 65+ miles away so it's not as simple as I would like.

The other question is what is my car worth? I have seen them from $1500-$5000.




Audi A3 diesel voted the least reliable second hand car while Lexus CT hybrid wins most trusted

THE Audi A3 diesel is the worst second hand car, according to owners.

It came bottom in reliability ratings — which were dominated at the other end by Japanese used motors with seven in the top ten.

 The 2003-2013 Audi A3 diesel was ranked as the least reliable second hand car by owners



The 2003-2013 Audi A3 diesel scored just 40 per cent in the What Car? survey.

Some 37 per cent of diesel A3s developed a fault — and 22 per cent of those were with the engine.

Around a third of repair bills were between £500 and £1,500.

The Ford Focus diesel (2004-2011) and Vauxhall Zafira (2005– 2016) were second and third worst.

Across all vehicles a third of owners reported a fault.

The Lexus CT hybrid was voted most reliable used purchase, with a 99.5 per cent reliability rating.

Only four per cent of CT owners reported a fault — and those were only with the battery.

The Suzuki Swift and Toyota Auris Hybrid were second and third most reliable.

More than 18,000 drivers took part in the survey.

Steve Huntingford, of What Car?, said: “By shining a light on the reliability of various makes and models, we hope to help buyers make the right decision.”

 The Ford Focus diesel wasn't popular with drivers either, as it narrowly beat the Audi


 Meanwhile the Lexus CT hybrid emerged victorious after achieving a 99.5 per cent reliability rating


Huge fire breaks out on roof of Audi dealership in Finglas after cars go up in flames as fire brigade tackle blaze

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]



Diesel reliability a3 audi

The first A3 TDI hit the streets for 2010 as Audi’s second diesel-powered offering for the U.S. market, the 2009 Q7 SUV being the first. Those models paved a wide road for ensuing diesel Audis: The four-ring brand currently offers Americans six diesel models, more than any other carmaker. Following a diesel blitz for the 2014 model year, Audi added its A6, A7, and A8 sedans as well as its Q5 crossover to the diesel lineup.

Each of the marque’s A-badged models currently has a diesel take rate of roughly 10 percent, and the compression-ignition crossovers sell in even greater percentages. The A3 was recently redesigned, however, and it's now Audi’s freshest diesel model.

Family Matters

We were impressed with the gasoline-powered, all-wheel-drive A3 in a 2014 comparison test, where it beat a BMW 228i and a Mercedes-Benz CLA250. That A3 was comfortable, gorgeous, and quick. The front-wheel-drive diesel A3 tested here was comfortable, gorgeous, and . . . fuel-efficient.

“Quick” definitely does not belong among the primary descriptors of the A3 TDI—at least relative to its stablemates. Requiring 7.9 seconds to reach 60 mph and 16.2 to complete the quarter-mile at 86 mph, the diesel trails the comparison-test-winning gasoline A3 2.0T by 2.5 seconds to 60 mph and by 2.2 ticks and 14 mph in the quarter-mile. (The 292-hp, 4.4-second S3 that shares the same platform and basic body is on a whole other level.) Despite a quick-shifting transmission, the TDI’s powertrain runs out of tangible push as you climb above 3500 rpm or so (redline is 5000), but the car feels spritely off the line, which is handy around town.

The A3 TDI’s performance stats are obliterated not only by those of the gasoline model, but also by BMW’s entry-level diesel, the 328d, which is the most comparable diesel in our market, even if it does have a base price $6455 steeper than that of the $33,495 A3 TDI. In our testing, the 328d—also two-wheel drive (the rears versus this Audi’s front-drive setup), and also propelled by a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four—turned in superior times of 6.8 seconds to 60 and 15.3 in the quarter-mile.

At least the 211-pound-lighter A3 TDI nips the BMW in our braking and cornering tests, registering a fade-free stopping distance of 160 feet from 70 mph and pulling 0.92 g on the skidpad, despite moderate understeer. You’re not going to put on a Fast & Furious–style stunt show in this car, but three-stage stability control (on, sport, off) is a welcome feature. Plus, the A3 TDI is quite good to drive, with tightly controlled body motions and very good steering accuracy and feel.

Keep on Drivin’

But people generally buy diesel cars not for feats measured on the test track but for computations made following visits to the filling station. In that respect, the A3 TDI fared extremely well, averaging 38 mpg over 965 miles in our care (excluding, as is our policy, the partial tank consumed during performance testing). That’s 2 mpg better than the EPA’s combined rating but 1 mpg shy of our observed mileage in the aforementioned 328d. Still, 500 miles between fill-ups should be no trouble whatsoever. (For our first drive of the 2015 A3 TDI, Audi officials challenged us to drive 845 miles from Albuquerque to San Diego on a single tank. We didn’t quite make it, but we got close.)

At speeds beyond what any hypermiler would do, the A3 lets a disappointing amount of noise into the cabin. We measured 72 decibels at 70 mph, two louder than the 328d and five noisier than the A3 2.0T. At idle, the diesel A3 was four decibels louder than the A3 2.0T and just a bit quieter than the 328d. Even the $25K Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI is quieter than the A3 TDI, which isn’t something prospective Audi customers will be happy to learn. All that said, diesels are significantly quieter than they were a decade or two ago.

Fortunately for Audi, there’s no Volkswagen or sub-$50K BMW that can hold a candle to the A3’s lovely interior and its sharp-looking suit of sheetmetal. As we noted in bestowing the most affordable Audi its crown in that 2014 comparison test: “The A3 says: You’re not in the cheap Audi, just the small Audi.” A huge sunroof brightens the cabin, whose rear quarters are somewhat confined in headroom but are nonetheless better than average in this segment. The navigation system, part of a $2600 option package, is easy to use and is displayed via a large screen that looks trick as it ascends from a thin slot in the dashboard. (Although we wonder what the screen motor’s operating status will be, say, 10 years down the line.) Premium Plus, the only other option package on our car, brought items such as 10-spoke wheels, heated front seats, and passive entry for $2550. Tack on $550 for the deep Mythos Black paint, and our A3 came in at $39,195.

That’s not the cheapest way to get 38 mpg, but it may be the classiest. As long as you’re not in a big hurry.


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED: $39,195 (base price: $33,495)

ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve diesel inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 120 cu in, 1968 cc
Power: 150 hp @ 4000 rpm
Torque: 236 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

Wheelbase: 103.8 in
Length: 175.4 in
Width: 77.2 in Height: 55.7 in
Passenger volume: 87 cu ft
Cargo volume: 12 cu ft
Curb weight: 3288 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 7.9 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 23.4 sec
Zero to 110 mph: 31.3 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 8.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 4.3 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 6.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 16.2 sec @ 86 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 126 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 160 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.92 g

EPA city/highway: 31/43 mpg
C/D observed: 38 mpg


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Audi A3 Used Car Review - CarGurus UK

2015 Audi A3 Long-Term Update 4: A3 TDI

Does it deliver?

Audi A3 Full Overview

As you might already know, our plan is to sample all three versions of the 2015 Audi A3 across the span of a year. With the Phase One 1.8T Premium Plus having recently been returned, next up is the $33,495 A3 TDI Premium. This Florett Silver ($550) A3 sedan is equipped with MMI Navigation Plus ($2,600) and the Premium Plus specification ($2,550), which includes 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats and exterior mirrors, keyless entry/ignition, and aluminum window and interior trim for a total price of $39,195. As with our previous A3, this one also arrived "well-loved" with just under 7,500 miles on its odometer.

The nearly identically equipped front-drive TDI is a dead ringer for the 1.8T with the exception, of course, of the badging indicating the turbodiesel engine. A mere 150 hp is all that's on tap from the oil burner, but plenty of torque (236 ft-lb at 1,700 rpm) means it doesn't need to rev much to move the car down the road while shifting gears with its six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission—more on this combination in a bit. We've already put more than 3,500 miles on the A3 TDI (it's calling for an oil change already), and a couple long-haul tanks helped it earn a darned respectable 35.9-mpg average. We even recorded a 474-mile tankful. Our real-world fuel economy essentially confirms the EPA's estimated 36 mpg combined figure.

At the test track, the less powerful A3 TDI is predictably slower than the 1.8T, with a sprint to 60 mph requiring 8.2 seconds (to the 1.8T's 7.1 seconds), and the quarter mile passes by at 16.3 seconds at 85 mph (versus 15.5 seconds at 89.2 mph). Grip and agility are nearly indistinguishable between the two A3s, with the TDI stopping in 108 feet (versus 112 feet) and circling the skidpad with average lateral acceleration of 0.88 g (versus 0.88 g). Finally, on our unique figure-eight test, the TDI was able to lap the course in 26.6 seconds at an average g-load of 0.65 to the 1.8T's 26.7 sec at 0.67g best.

Back to that engine/transmission combination: I scoured Christian Seabaugh's entries looking for a hint of criticism (or praise) regarding the A3 1.8T's driveline, but there wasn't one mention of it. I asked around the office, and nobody had a strong opinion of it in either direction. The engine/transmission combination in the A3 TDI, however, draws unanimous ire from the staff, especially those who are forced to endure bumper-to-bumper traffic. Why? Two reasons: The engine doesn't deliver power in a predictable, linear fashion, and the transmission's programming is not optimized for this trait. Low-speed starts are prone to bog, then sprint. Abruptly lifting off the throttle sometimes results in the transmission holding the gear tightly, which produces sufficient engine braking. Other times, doing exactly the same results in the transmission upshifting, which causes a free-fall feeling, as if it were in neutral with the bumper of the car in front approaching quickly. Multiply this unpredictable behavior a couple hundred times on a particularly crowded drive home, and we're ready to park the A3, perhaps permanently.

For now, we're impressed with the car's fuel economy, regardless of how it's driven, but for a commuter car, it isn't an ideal choice. Think of it this way: The A3 TDI, with its more than 400-mile range, would be an ideal car for a regional sales representative whose clients reside in the cities scattered about Kansas City, where it's flat and traffic-free for hundreds of miles in any direction.

We'll get that oil changed soon and update you on more details next time.

More on our long-term Audi A3 and S3 here:

Looks good! More details?
2015 Audi A3 TDI FWD S tronic
BASE PRICE $33,495
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE 2.0L/150-hp/236-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 6-speed twin-clutch auto.
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3256 lb (61/39%)
WHEELBASE 103.8 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 175.4 x 70.0 x 55.7 in
0-60 MPH 8.2 sec
QUARTER MILE 16.3 sec @ 85.0 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 108 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.6 sec @ 0.65 g (avg)
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 122/88 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.63 lb/mile


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EDITOR WES RAYNAL: Wow, 10 grand in options?!?

It looks like a smaller A4. Not a bad thing. The MQB platform is damn impressive, as we’ve written countless times. It’s stiff as hell but doesn’t beat you up on the nasty bits. This is one of those cars that the harder you push it, the better it is. And yes indeed, you can flog it even with the diesel, a torquey little bugger I like a bunch and one that works well with the DSG.

With other A3s in the office, there’s been debate about the interiors. Some say they’re too dark, too bleak. Some call that clean and stylish. Some go on to say it looks cheap.

I can’t agree with that last part. I have a habit of tap-tap-tapping dashes and door panels and such when I get in a car. I don’t like brittle, shiny plastics. The materials in this car are not brittle and shiny. This interior is well built with nice materials. I appreciate things like the knurled plastic knobs and the click-click buttons feel the same as the ones in a $100,000-plus A8.

“That’s too much for a small car,” I hear you snivel. My opinion: Nah. I think a company like Audi, and the way its cars look good and feel so rock-solid, is appealing to plenty of younger buyers who want a ton of fun behind the wheel—and I’m usually the first to gripe about high stickers.

That said, I’m a bit of a hypocrite about it, because I’d get a Golf diesel if it was my money; but if I was asked, I wouldn’t talk anybody with the budget out of an A3.


EXECUTIVE EDITOR RORY CARROLL: I drove a friend up to Clarkston, Mich., in the Audi A3 the other day. Digging through the glove box, he found the monroney. When he saw the $42K price, he said, “Ugh, now, that’s just [expletive] cynical.” It’s hard to disagree there, even if TDI A3s generally sell for something closer to the $32K base price. Sorry, not “base.” There are three levels of Audi A3 trim: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. At any trim level, I’m not sure you’re better off buying the Audi over say, a Golf or Jetta TDI. Unless you must have that coveted luxury badge, of course.


EDITORIAL CONTENT MANAGER NATALIE NEFF: I have to say, this was the first time in an eon that I got into an Audi and thought the interior felt old-ish, cheap-ish and not best-in-class. I can’t say why, exactly; perhaps the overall design just feels tired and overdue for an overhaul, or maybe it’s just because cars like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class have simply outdone the perennial interior kings at Audi.

Beyond that, I was also a bit underwhelmed behind the wheel. Sure, like Wes reminded, the MQB platform is simply rock solid; I’ve no complaints on the car’s ride and handling. But I’d just come out of three days in a Hyundai Elantra, and honestly, I kept forgetting I had switched into an Audi the overall driving experience differed so insubstantially. Is that a knock on Audi? Or praise for the little Korean car? Dunno, maybe both.

As for the price…meh. It’s been a long time since I felt shocked/incredulous/offended at a sticker for a car like this. People clearly will pay a premium for brand they perceive as superior, more luxurious, of higher quality or, um, braggier (if I’m allowed to make up a word), and automakers count on it for their bottom lines. Volkswagen Group can’t only count on the profits from Golfs to keep it afloat.


Options: A3 Prestige model including 18-inch, 10-spoke design wheels, all-season tires, heated power front seats with four-way lumbar, power folding and heated exterior mirrors, auto-dimming driver side exterior mirror, auto-dimming interior mirror with compass, Audi advanced key, aluminum window surrounds and interior package, S line exterior, LED interior lighting package, Audi MMI navigation plus with voice control, Audi MMI touch, parking system plus with rearview camera, Audi connect with online services, Bang and Olufsen sound system, LED headlights with LED DRLS and Audi side assist ($8,450); Sport package including front sport seats, Audi drive select controls, 3-spoke steering wheel with shift paddles and sport suspension ($800); Florett silver metallic ($550)

Vehicle Model Information


BASE PRICE: $33,495


POWERTRAIN: 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel I4; FWD, six-speed S tronic automatic

OUTPUT: 150 @ 3,500-4,000 rpm, 236 lb-ft @ 1,750-3,000 rpm

CURB WEIGHT: 3,241 lbs

FUEL ECONOMY: 31/43/36 mpg

FUEL ECONOMY: 33.9 mpg

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