- High-tech features standard
- Decent value
- Good safety tech
- Strong turbo power
- Tight rear seat and trunk
- Can get pricey with options
- No more convertible
- Last model year before redesign
features & specs
The 2020 Audi A3 is a well-equipped entry-level compact sedan that delivers more substance than flash.
The 2020 Audi A3 is in the twilight of its current design, but remains a feature-filled compact luxury sedan worth consideration. The design has held up well thanks to its combination of good performance and surprising luxury features for a modest price.
A new A3 is set to arrive in the U.S. for 2021, but for now we rate the 2020 A3 at 6.7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
For its final year, the A3 lineup is pared to Premium and Premium Plus trims in sedan guise only. Last year’s cabriolet and Prestige trim levels bite the dust. In their place is a new $800 Final Edition package that comes with sports seats and a few cosmetic bits that don’t raise our pulse very much.
Luckily every version of the 2020 A3 provides good acceleration thanks to a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that comes in two states of tune depending on if power is sent forward or to all four corners. Front-drive cars aren’t as balanced, but they are plenty peppy and they’re remarkably frugal. Look for 30 mpg in mixed driving while using regular unleaded. The all-wheel-drive system provides excellent grip, though it’s saddled with a lower-tech transmission that guzzles more fuel.
An S3 and RS3 are available to well-heeled buyers looking for more performance.
Inside, the A3 doesn’t look as dressy as it does outside, but the usual combination of nice Audi touches is abundant. An optional digital instrument cluster is a spendy feature that gives the A3 a high-tech feel. Even the standard 8.0-inch screen that rises to the occasion out of the dash impresses, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility adds to the appeal.
The A3 comes well-equipped with leather seats and a power moonroof, not to mention automatic emergency braking. For less than $40,000, a well-equipped A3 outshines even newer rivals from competitors. If only we could all age and stay relevant so gracefully.
2020 Audi A3
The 2020 Audi A3 has pint-size A4 looks, and that’s a compliment.
The 2020 Audi A3 doesn’t look much different than far more expensive A4 and A6 sedans parked across the showroom. That’s good news for buyers on a budget since the A3 has pleasantly upmarket looks for a reasonably affordable price. We rate it at 7 out of 10.
Up front, the angular LED lights frame a big grille that lacks the finish seen on the latest Audis, but looks nearly the same from just a few feet away. Most models ride on 18-inch wheels that fill the wells nicely and impart a bucks-up look not necessarily seen on some competitors. From the rear, the pert taillights have intricate designs as well.
The A3’s interior doesn’t go as screen-heavy as its pricier siblings and instead draws from the smaller TT sports car. The look is minimalistic and clean, though the pop-up infotainment screen and available digital gauge cluster relay a lot of information. With the screen stowed away, the interior is refreshingly simple, but not spartan.
2020 Audi A3
Good turbo punch ensures that the 2020 Audi A3 has no problem merging onto highway.
The 2020 Audi A3 is available in four configurations, all of which provide ample performance. Lively handling adds to this small car’s appeal. We rate the 2020 A3 at 7 out of 10 for its performance. If rated separately, the S3 and RS3 would score higher.
All A3s make use of a 2.0-liter turbo-4. In front-drive form, the engine shuttles 186 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque forward through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive A4s use an uprated version of the engine that comes in with 220 hp and 258 lb-ft, as well as a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic.
In practice, both engines furnish good acceleration with only a hint of lag from a stop.
Handling is good, though not as fun as a rear-drive car. The A3’s steering is sharp and direct. Optional all-wheel drive provides a surefooted feel on slippery pavement, though most versions of the A3 come with relatively high-performance tires that won’t work well on snow-covered roads.
The S3 and RS3 are rockets, but rare. The S3 uses a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 288 hp and that 7-speed automatic. Audi says it accelerates to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds from a standstill. The RS3 goes further with a 2.5-liter turbo-5 that makes 394 hp and propels the sedan from 0-60 in less than 4 seconds.
2020 Audi A3
Comfort & Quality
With its petite dimensions, the 2020 Audi A3 isn’t very spacious inside.
Shocker: the 2020 Audi A3 is just as small inside as its trim dimensions suggest. However, good materials and excellent front seats help elevate the car to a 7 out of 10.
Unlike some competitors, the 2020 A3 does a commendable job hiding its thrifty price inside. Most materials are low-sheen, soft-touch surfaces, and nicer trim bits are available for an extra cost. Additionally, the leather seats are a nice surprise where most rivals drape synthetic hides.
The front seats are decently comfortable with good support and a wide range of adjustment. Row two is tight at best, and unusable for taller passengers. The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 arrangement to expand the small 10 cubic-foot trunk.
The A3 can be loud on the highway, however, especially with the larger available wheels.
2020 Audi A3
The 2020 Audi A3 comes with a good array of collision-avoidance features and has done well in crash testing.
Both federal and independent testers have smacked the Audi A3 against a wall and come away impressed. Good scores from the IIHS and five stars overall from the NHTSA combine with standard automatic emergency braking to elevate the A3 to 7 out of 10 for safety.
Don’t look for the most advanced hands-off driving features, because you won’t find them. Optional features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control, though the tech is limited to the Premium Plus trim only this year.
2020 Audi A3
The 2020 Audi A3 comes in two trims, both of which are a decent value.
The 2020 Audi A3 lineup is pared this year to just two versions of the sedan, which makes finding the right one easy. We rate the lineup at 7 out of 10 for good standard features and a host of options. More choice would be nice, but we understand that this is a run-out year before a new A3 arrives next year.
The base Premium trim comes with leather seats, a power moonroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility for a reasonable $34,000 or so. Audi charges a bit more for metallic paint colors, and a new Final Edition package this year pairs a few cosmetic bits with bolstered sports seats.
All-wheel drive is a hefty $3,200, though it comes with more power and a sport-oriented suspension.
We’d bypass the Premium for the Premium Plus, which costs $3,000 more and includes LED headlights, blind-spot monitors, parking sensors, Bang & Olufsen audio, and the option to add a digital instrument cluster and adaptive cruise control. It doesn’t take a lot to push the 2020 A3 above $40,000, though it still feels like a decent value even with some options selected.
Audi’s 4-year/50,000-mile warranty includes one free maintenance stop and four years of roadside service.
2020 Audi A3
All-wheel drive means a big fuel economy hit on the 2020 Audi A3.
The 2020 Audi A3 is a frugal four-door, but only in standard front-wheel-drive guise. The optional all-wheel-drive system and more powerful engine add up to far greater fuel consumption.
Our 5 out of 10 rating here applies to the all-wheel-drive 2020 A3 as it’s the more popular of the two.
With front-wheel drive, the 2020 A3 is rated by the EPA at 27 mpg city, 36 highway, 30 combined. That would've been a 6 on our scale.
Pick all-wheel drive and those figures drop to just 22/30/25 mpg. Consider the optional all-wheel-drive system carefully.
The hotter S3 is only available with all-wheel drive and rates 22/29/25 mpg. If you're lucky enough to find an RS3, its busy engine is thirsty: 19/28/23 mpg.
On the upside, Audi rates the A3 to run on regular unleaded fuel. The S3 and RS3 require premium.