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Audi A3 (1996 - 2001)

Last updated 7 September 2017

Strong on image and build quality. Good crash test rating. Tidy handling.
Pricey to buy compared with its rivals. Limited space in the rear.

Image, quality, galvanised body. 3-year warranty. 100 bhp 1.6, 125 bhp 1.8, 150 bhp 1.8 Turbo, 200 bhp S3 quattro turbo. First application of Golf Mk IV platform. 13' 7" long by 6' wide and from 1,090kg....

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The A3 was Audi’s first small car since the demise of the Audi 50 in 1978 – a model that was later rebadged as the Volkswagen Polo in a move that saw Audi abandon the small car market to focus on more expensive models.

Launched in 1996, the new small Audi used the Volkswagen Group’s PQ34 platform – a platform that would go on to give us the MkIV Golf 12 months later. To keep the distance between the two models, the A3 was only available at launch as a three door. It was also offered with Audi’s famous Quattro four-wheel drive system.

Top of the range was the S3 – a four-wheel drive three-door pocket rocket that took the hot hatch crown. Available from 199, power came from a turbocharged version of the 1.8-litre in either 210PS or 225PS

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