Audi A3 (1996 – 2001) Review

Audi A3 (1996 – 2001) At A Glance


+Strong on image and build quality. Good crash test rating. Tidy handling.

-Pricey to buy compared with its rivals. Limited space in the rear.

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