2019 A3 New Car Test Drive
The Audi A3 is a small premium sedan or convertible that's built on the platform of the Volkswagen Golf. For three generations, the A3 has offered good looks, high quality, and good value with top safety scores and thorough standard equipment.
Nearing the end of its life in its current form, the A3 gets few changes this year. The Premium Plus gets standard LED headlights and taillights, and wireless smartphone charging; the Prestige gets those things plus active parking assist.
One big change for 2019 is the discontinuation of the e-tron Sportback plug-in hybrid. But that doesn't mean Audi is shying away from electric technology; it now sells the battery-electric E-tron SUV.
The base powertrain for the front-wheel-drive A3 is awesome. It's a 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected 4-cylinder engine which makes 186 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. With available all-wheel drive, the same engine makes 220 hp and 258 lb-ft, mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch with paddle shifters.
The front-wheel-drive A3 sedan gets 26 mpg city, 35 highway, 29 combined, while the Cabriolet gets one less combined mile per gallon. The AWD sedan and Cabriolet get 27 and 25 combined mpg respectively. That's all on regular fuel.
Many cars see their safety scores decline at the end of their generation, but not the A3. With standard automatic emergency braking, the 2019 A3 gets five stars overall from the NHTSA, and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, with top 'Good'? scores in all the crash tests, with 'Acceptable'? for the headlights and child seat anchors. .
The 2019 Audi A3 models are Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige, available as a sedan and Cabriolet.
Standard equipment on the A3 Premium (about $33,000) includes dual-zone climate control, xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, 12-way power front seats, Bluetooth, and automatic emergency braking. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and keyless ignition are available in a $900 package.
The A3 Premium Plus (about $36,000) adds styling add-ons, 18-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, and split-folding rear seats. The $3,000 Technology Package adds Audi Connect functionality and a Virtual Cockpit display. The optional safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and LED headlights with automatic high beams.
The A3 Prestige (about $42,000) adds the options on Premium Plus, as well as a beautiful 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo.
All-wheel drive costs $2,700 to $3,000 more. The Cabriolet raises the price by about $6,400.
All models offer a $900 Sport Package that adds a sport suspension, sport seats, Audi Drive Select modes, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddle shifters. .