Audi A3 (2024) review: a quick revisit | CAR Magazine

Audi A3 (2024) review: a quick revisit

Published: 22 April 2024 Updated: 22 April 2024
Audi A3 (2024) front driving
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Seth Walton

Staff writer at CAR and our sister website Parkers, specialising in ownership and car advice

By Seth Walton

Staff writer at CAR and our sister website Parkers, specialising in ownership and car advice

► Updated 2024 Audi A3 Sportback review
► Slightly different interior and looks
► New-age dash, improved dynamics

Audi likes to try and reinvent its best-selling premium hatch with each update. When the latest, fourth-generation A3 arrived in 2020, it exuded a slightly sportier flare with more aggressive styling, but the envelope never seems to get pushed very far with each return to the drawing board. After more than five million units sold, it’s been updated again for 2024, with a new look, a revisited interior and even more tech included in the package.

For the A3’s sake, it better be up to scratch. Fighting off one front of competition in B- and C-SUV segment cars – including, among others, the brand’s own Q2 and Q3 – will be difficult enough. But that’s not to mention the premium opposition it’ll be up against in the lauded BMW 1 series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class from its own segment. Tough ask.

To fend them off and keep the A3 relevant, Ingolstadt has revised the latest version with a series of tweaks and tucks. Are they any good? Read on to find out what we think of the latest A3.

What’s new?

No point kidding ourselves – this is a light update. A few surface tweaks in the form of a wider, flatter front grille and slightly more muscular front and rear bumpers arguably dial up the sportiness a tad, but the exterior remains largely untouched.

Audi A3 (2024) front driving

The LED headlights have been sharpened, while the daytime running light signatures within the headlights are also now customisable, with four options for owners to choose from. Nothing like making your car feel like your own, right? New wheel alloy designs are on offer along with a couple of new paint colours, but that’s about it.

Move inside the cabin and the updates become more apparent. The pre-facelift A3 received criticism over its uninspired interior, so Audi has attempted to set the record straight with a revised effort. The centre console has been redesigned with a new gear selector switch and air vents, and it’s been matched by the introduction of fresh surface materials around the cabin.

A richer stitch of ambient lighting runs throughout as standard, reaching as far as the door panels which are now backlit thanks to 300 laser cuts into the fabric panel.

What are the specs?

There are several engines on offer, including a 1.5-litre petrol 35 TFSI and a 2.0-litre diesel 35 TDI that both produce 148bhp. The TDI editions boast a little bit more torque with 266ft lbs compared to 184ft lbs of the petrol engines. All a good to reach 62mph from 0 in 8.1 seconds. Top speed varies depending on the type of engine and the design format of the car. All saloon models have a top speed of 144mph, while the Sportback diesels have a 141mph top speed and the sportback petrols – 140.

Audi A3 (2024) rear driving

A 30 variation of the TFSI engine is expected to launch later this year for both the Sportback and Saloon body styles. A 45 TFSI is also due this year, though just for the sportback.

Economy and CO2 emissions also vary greatly depending on which engine, body style and trim you go for. The most economical configuration is the TDI saloon in Sport spec, which Audi says can manage 58.9 mpg, while the least economical is the TFSI Black Edition which can only manage 49.6 (according to Audi). As for CO2, saloon models produce less – a 35 TFSI sport produces 119g/km while the range-topping diesel produces 137.

What’s it like inside?

The Audi team told us that the A3’s interior refresh was undertaken in response to criticism over the restrained effort of the initial fourth-generation A3. They said they wanted the interior to feel fresh. So, does it?

Well, Audi’s hallmark build quality is all present and correct. The interior feels sound, well-built and worthy of a potential premium compact class-topper. The updated centre console and gear selector switch – complete with the updated air vents – bestow the cabin with a greater sense of energy and driver focus, but we’re talking tiny margins. Juxtapose images of the two cockpits together and you’ll be hard-pressed to discern any major differences between the two at first glance.

Audi A3 (2024) interior

Look a little closer, though, and the updates become apparent. Sitting in the revised car itself, not only do they promote a heightened sense of modernity in the cabin but they establish it as the sleeker and more attractive of the two.

Superficial updates aside, the seats are comfortable while the seating position is excellent for all-round visibility. There’s plenty of headroom both fore and aft of the cabin along with a healthy adornment of tactile controls to use without having to scrabble around through the infotainment.

My only real criticism would be of the lack in soft furnishings around the front of the interior. As the A3 model range baby and the car that will least frequently be driven in My only real criticism would be of the lack in soft furnishings around the front of the interior. As the A3 model range baby and the car that will least frequently be driven in anger, it would’ve suited a slightly more homely feel with a few softer surfaces around the dashboard. That small grip aside, the updates work well to revitalise the cabin.

What’s it like to drive?

So far we’ve only driven the 35 TDI but with that proviso, it’s excellent – not just a step forward from its predecessor, but a nicer all-round steer than its premium rivals.

Audi A3 (2024) front static

Turn-in is crisp and immediate, the performance flatters you into thinking you’re in something with more than 148bhp, and the ride quality – for so long a A3 shortcoming – is actually very good. Playing a little more through the bends, it soon becomes evident how much traction the A3 Sportback has out of tight corners; torque delivery is elastic and punchy, but it never overwhelms the front wheels.

The steering is precise, well-weighted and offers plenty of feel. The A3 feels agile and pointy in a way that aligns it with some of the performance versions, though it’s geared up for comfortable every day progress in most configurations.

Ultimately, the active damper control which comes part and parcel of the Drive Select set-up, ensures a sensitive response even on rough surfaces. The driver can switch between five driving profiles via the button in the centre console – and then tweak to their personal preferences as they wish. The differences between the driving modes are clearly noticeable, but as an all-round UK compromise, we went with Comfort mode allied with Sports mode for the DSG transmission.

So is it a better bet than a Golf?

The acid question, but one we’d have no issue with answering in the affirmative. Although the new A3 is based on the shared MQB architecture, it is a nicer steer, looks better and leaves the driver feeling more special thanks to its more premium-feel interior. And that’s why would you pay a premium over the equivalent Golf – and let’s face it, VW Group’s brand hierarchy would have it no other way.

Audi A3 (2024) front static

The base A3 Sportback is around £1000 more expensive than the Volkswagen Golf it’s based on. Granted, you get alloy wheels, that chunky sports steering wheel and heated door mirrors as standard here, and you won’t find those on every car from Wolfsburg. Among the compact hatchbacks, the A3 Sportback remains a premium representative – you might have to want that Audi badge to stump up the extra, but it’s good to know in this case, the A3 Sportback is worth the premium.


Although the new Audi A3 Sportback technically owes a lot to the Volkswagen Golf 8, it has its own character, and comes across as a far more complete, sharp-looking and frankly desirable hatchback. This applies to the dynamic suspension tuning and the expressive design, as well as the infotainment, the high build quality and overall asking price. A for the 2024 updates, they only serve to enhance these virtues.

It’s job done for now. But the real answer will come when we get to group test the A3 against its main rivals – the BMW 1 Series hatchback and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. For the moment, and having driven all three models separately, it feels as if the Audi is actually decisively better than its most fearsome rivals – but as always, it comes down to driving them together. Then we’ll know for sure.


Price when new: £32,035
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1968cc 4-cylinder turbo, 148bhp @ 3000-4000rpm, 266lb ft @ 3000-4200rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, front-wheel-drive
Performance: 0-62mph 8.4sec, 139mph top speed, 103g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1410kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4340/1820/1430mm


Other Models

Photo Gallery

  • Audi A3 (2024) front driving
  • Audi A3 (2024) front driving
  • Audi A3 (2024) rear driving
  • Audi A3 (2024) interior
  • Audi A3 (2024) front static
  • Audi A3 (2024) gear switch
  • Audi A3 (2024) front static
  • Audi A3 (2024) rear static

By Seth Walton

Staff writer at CAR and our sister website Parkers, specialising in ownership and car advice