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The Top Five Audi A3 Models of All-Time


Audi dates back to 1899 when August Horch began to develop automobiles under the name Horch automobiles. After several years, August Horch went on to start Audiwerke GmbH, a company that gained fame through an International Austrian Alpine Run winning streak from 1911 to 1914. Later, Horch joined three other companies, DKW, Wanderer and NSU which became the name and brand we recognize today as Audi.

Over the years in the automobile making business, Audi has designed and built every automobile under one central philosophy: beautiful design, intelligent, state-of-the-art technology, and top-of-the-line performance in every detail without a single compromise in quality. It is these core values that have continued to drive Audi forward and into the future. Audi’s line of automobiles is long. One model, the Audi A3 is one that has been very popular with many of its features being carried over and used in other models.

The following are our picks for the top five models of the Audi A3:

1. Audi A3


The original Audi A3 was initially introduced in 1996 to the European market. It was a small, compact car that was only available in a three-door, hatchback model and had a sporty look. This was true for both the front wheel and four-wheel drive versions. It was also the second car in the Audi line-up, after the A4, to use five valves per cylinder. This was only the first of multiple generations of this model that would be introduced over the years because as Audi would soon see, it would become a popular automobile in multiple markets.

The original Audi A3 was designed with an inline-four 20v 1.8 L turbocharged petrol engine. This type of engine came in two versions: the 210 PS (154 kW; 207 hp) and the 225 PS (165 kW; 222 hp). The original models from 1999-2001 were built with the 210 PS engine model. It wasn’t until the 2001 model came out that the engines were upgraded to the 225 PS engines with variable valve timing. Over the years, other changes were made to the A3, both interior and exterior, from safety measures with airbag designs, revision to the nose and tail styles, a modified grille and now there is a 4-door and convertible version available. You can get an Audi A3 starting at just over $31,000 and will go up depending on the package and extras you want added.

2. Audi S3


In 1999, Audi released the first Audi S3. It was designed with trademark running lights, common rail 2.0 TDI engines, and a seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission that was available for smaller non-US engines. At its release, it also had an optional “magnetic ride” adaptive shock absorbers. The S3 was designed to blend Audi’s high-performance and Audi’s high-tech knowledge into a sassy compact sedan with accurate, yet light-weight steering, all-wheel drive and a sport-tuned suspension. Other features include easy access to all the navigation functions for the driver with the 12.3-inch driver-oriented display and comfortable, supportive seats for you and your passengers. In addition, the range now includes an S3 Sportback model and you can find the Audi S3 line starting around $42,000.

3. A3 Sportback


It wasn’t until 2004, and the second generation of the A3 that the Sportback version began to appear. Audi wanted the Audi Sportback to be different and noticeably so, so they redesigned the rear light clusters which carried over to the latest version of the Sportback, which also happens to be longer now, than the three-door version. This five-door version is available with the ultra-frugal e-tron hybrid drivetrain as well as the top-of-the-range RS3 mega hatch is also available on the Sportback body style.

How does the Sportback drive? On the road, it handles well. With the MQB architecture, the car drives and feels lightweight and very responsive on the road. The quattro four-wheel-drive system gives you plenty of traction. Feel the control during acceleration and taking curves. You’ll handle any driving demands with ease and control. The Sportback may be a bit more costly than its rivals, such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, but it also retains its value much better for when it comes time to sell. The Sportback starts at about $38,900.

4. Audi A3 TDI Clubsport Quattro


The Audi A3 TDI Clubsport quattro was revealed in 2008 as a concept car. It was based on the Audi A3 three-door and was Audi’s idea of addressing both performance and environmental issues. Audi designed the Clubsport quattro with a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine that produces 224 horsepower (167 kW) and 332 lb-ft (450 N-m) of torque. The drive system is the quattro drive system with a six-speed manual transmission.

Also included are ceramic front brakes and a four-link rear suspension. The exterior was modified to include a widened three-door grill and bolt-on fender flares with a large rear spoiler. You are your passengers will find the seating comfortable with the new sport seat design and you’ll find driving a comfortable experience with the new, flat-bottomed steering wheel. As far as performance, Audi boasts that the Clubsport quattro can get from 0 to 60 in 6.6 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph. The Audi A3 TDI Clubsport quattro doesn’t have a revealed price but you can contact Audi to find out more about the price of this concept model.

5. Audi A3 Cabriolet


This is a striking Audi A3 design, the new convertible Cabriolet with sleek and aggressive exterior sport lines and premium interior details, such as a foldaway roof to leather seats and ingenious technologies that cater to the progressive driver. Some of the most advanced technological details you’ll see are the Audio virtual cockpit and assistance systems so that you are in constant contact with your A3 Cabriolet to handle a variety of driving conditions.

No matter if you are driving through the city or on back roads, the Cabriolet will impress you with its adept handling skills. You will have the choice of a 220-hp engine with Quattro all-wheel drive, or you can choose the efficient 186-hp engine with front-wheel drive. When it comes to pricing, choose from three different packages: Premium - starting at $37,000, Premium plus – starting at $40,850, and Prestige – starting at $46,550.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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