Here Are The Best and Worst Audi A3 Years to Avoid

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you ready to experience the thrill of a luxury compact car that seamlessly blends performance, technology, and sophistication? Look no further than the Audi A3.

But buyer beware – not all model years are created equal. If you want to avoid potential issues and ensure a smooth ride, steer clear of the 2015 Audi A3.

This model year has the highest number of complaints, with drivers reporting engine problems like excessive oil consumption and sudden loss of power, as well as issues with the electrical system.

On the flip side, the 2023, 2022, 2020, 2019, and 2013 model years consistently receive rave reviews and top reliability ratings from experts and consumers alike.

So, arm yourself with this knowledge and suit of car ordering tips on our site and make an informed decision as you embark on your search for the perfect Audi A3. Happy car hunting!

Audi A3 problems

Years to Avoid

2004 Audi A3

In 2004, the Audi A3 had quite a few issues. With 6 complaints, this model year had its fair share of problems.

You might want to steer clear of the 2004 Audi A3, as it had various problems with the engine and transmission.

2006 Audi A3

The 2006 Audi A3 is another model year to avoid, with many reported problems. According to industry reviews and consumer feedback, the 2006 A3 is considered one of the worst model years of the A3.

Keep an eye out for common issues such as engine malfunctions and electrical problems.

2009 Audi A3

Similarly, the 2009 Audi A3 had 6 complaints and is known for its issues. This model year had various problems like excessive oil consumption and unexpected power loss.

2013 Audi A3

Despite being considered as one of the best Audi A3 model years, the 2013 Audi A3 still had its issues, with 5 complaints reported.

Make sure to check for common problems like engine malfunctions and electrical system issues when inspecting a 2013 Audi A3.

2015 Audi A3

The 2015 Audi A3 is the model year to avoid the most, with a total of 34 complaints. Most of these complaints revolve around engine problems such as excessive oil consumption and sudden power loss.

Additionally, the 2015 Audi A3 seems to have a problematic electrical system. Be cautious and think twice before purchasing this model year.

2016 Audi A3

Lastly, the 2016 Audi A3 has also had its share of problems. With 5 complaints, this model year had issues with the engine and transmission. Be sure to conduct a thorough inspection for any potential issues before deciding on a 2016 Audi A3.

Keep these years in mind when looking into purchasing a used Audi A3, as they have shown higher occurrences of problems and complaints than other model years. You may consider and compare Audi S3 years to avoid – a close cousin to the A3 line.

Common Faults and Problems

Engine Issues

Many Audi A3 owners have reported engine issues, especially with the EA888 2.0-liter engine. The engine may suffer from excessive oil consumption and catastrophic engine failure.

These problems are not widespread, it is essential for you to be aware of them and look out for any signs of trouble in your Audi A3.

Timing Chain and Belt Problems

The Audi A3 has been known to have issues with its timing chains and belts, particularly in the 2.0-liter EA888 engine.

The loose chain can lead to multiple occurrences of catastrophic engine failure. To avoid these problems, keep an eye on your engine’s timing chain and consult a mechanic if you notice any unusual noise or performance issues.

Transmission and Power Steering

Some A3 models may experience transmission and power steering problems. These issues can affect your driving experience and may lead to expensive repairs if not addressed promptly.

Stay vigilant for any abnormalities in your car’s transmission or power steering and consult a mechanic as needed.

Excessive Oil Consumption

A3 models with the 2.0T engine, particularly those from 2012-2017, are reported to have excessive oil consumption problems. This is often linked to a piston rings defect.

It’s essential to monitor your oil levels regularly and take note of any unusually high consumption. If you notice this issue, don’t hesitate to consult a professional mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem.

Diesel Emissions

Some Audi A3 diesel models have been involved in the diesel emissions scandal, with software designed to cheat emissions tests.

If you’re considering a diesel Audi A3, ensure that any necessary updates have been made to meet emissions standards and comply with any regulations in your area.

Recalls and Safety Issues

One of the notable recalls for the Audi A3 was in 2015, which had a considerable number of complaints.

Most of these were related to engine problems, including a rough-running engine and stretched timing chains. Additionally, the 2004 Audi A3 also received several complaints about similar issues.

Audi launched recall campaigns to address some of these problems. For example, in 2021, the company recalled around 171,000 vehicles, including A3 models, due to issues with the passenger airbag system shutting off.

Furthermore, the Audi A3 was affected by the notorious Takata airbag recalls. These airbags had a defect that could cause the inflater to rupture, potentially sending metal fragments into the vehicle’s occupants.

Make sure to check if the specific A3 you’re considering was included in this recall and if the necessary repairs have been made.

To obtain detailed information regarding recalls and safety issues, you can search your Audi A3’s VIN on the NHTSA website. This will give you a complete list of recalls pertaining to your specific vehicle.

Despite these issues, the Audi A3 also comes with several safety features designed to keep you and your passengers safe on the road.

These include front and side airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).

Best Audi A3 Year to Buy

Here are some of the best used Audi A3 to buy:

2017 Audi A3:

This model year received a mid-cycle refresh, which included updated styling, improved technology features, and a more powerful base engine. The interior was also updated with a new infotainment system and virtual cockpit.

2016 Audi A3:

The 2016 Audi A3 is a great choice for those who are looking for a more affordable option. It has a solid performance, good fuel economy, and a comfortable ride. The interior is also well-designed with high-quality materials.

2015 Audi A3:

The 2015 Audi A3 is another great choice for those who are looking for a more affordable option. It has a stylish exterior, a comfortable interior, and a good balance between performance and fuel economy.

The A3 also comes with a range of high-tech features, such as a rearview camera and parking sensors.

2018 Audi A3:

The 2018 Audi A3 is a good choice for those who want a luxury compact car that is both practical and fun to drive. It comes with a range of features, such as a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, and a 10-speaker audio system.

Overall, the Audi A3 is a great car that offers a combination of style, performance, and luxury. Depending on your budget and preferences, any of these model years could be a great choice.

Model Comparisons

Audi A3 vs S4

The A3 offers a more compact and fuel-efficient option, while the S4 leans towards performance and sportiness.

Notably, the 2015 Audi A3 had issues with engine problems and its electrical system. On the other hand, the S4’s key problems revolve around high maintenance costs and potential transmission issues.

Audi A3 vs A6

The Audi A3 and A6 differ mainly in terms of size and luxury. While the A3 is more compact and affordable, the A6 is a larger executive sedan, offering a more spacious and comfortable ride.

Additionally, you might want to avoid the 2015 A6 due to reliability concerns. Both the A3 and A6 have reportedly had issues with their electrical systems, but the A6 is also known to exhibit problems with its infotainment system.

Audi A3 vs Mercedes A-Class

The Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class are both compact luxury cars. However, while the A3 offers a tried-and-true design and driving experience, the A-Class takes a more trendy approach with advanced technology in its cabin.

The key issues with the Audi A3, such as engine and electrical problems, should be considered. Meanwhile, the A-Class tends to suffer from an occasionally harsh ride and higher-than-average costs of ownership.

Audi A3 vs Q7

Comparing the Audi A3 Sportback and the Q7 most reliable options, you will notice a significant difference in size, as the Q7 is a full-size SUV.

The Q7 offers ample room for seven passengers and an abundance of cargo space, making it perfect for families.

In contrast, the A3 Sportback caters more to those who appreciate a sportier driving experience and a smaller footprint.

Keep in mind the notable issues of the A3, as discussed earlier, and be aware that the Q7 may require costly air suspension repairs.

Performance and Quality Ratings

Quality scores are based on initial owner response and feedback on their new purchase, while dependability scores focus on longer-term ownership experiences, typically over three years.

By examining these scores, you can have a better understanding of an Audi A3’s reliability and potential issues.

The 2015 model received the highest number of issues. Most of the complaints were related to engine problems, such as rough-running engines and stretched timing chains.

Besides the 2015 edition, the 2004 Audi A3 is also mentioned as a year you should avoid due to similar issues surrounding its engine performance.

It’s important to know that the 2017-2020 Audi A3 may exhibit start-stop system malfunction, which can be linked to various Audi A3 accelerator or brake pedal problems.

This issue also affects other Audi models, including the S3, TT, Q5, among others.

When assessing the performance and quality ratings of an Audi A3, keep in mind these factors to make an informed decision.

Do thorough research, examine reputable sources like J.D. Power’s rankings, and review known issues associated with particular years to ensure you choose the right Audi A3 for your needs.

Recent and Upcoming Models

2020 Audi A3

The 2020 Audi A3 is a solid choice for those looking for a premium compact car. Its sleek design, advanced technology, and impressive performance make it an appealing option for many drivers.

Some notable features include:

  • Available in sedan and convertible body styles
  • Two engine options: a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower or a more powerful S3 variant with 288 horsepower
  • Standard front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available
  • Standard features such as leather seats, sunroof, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto

2022 Audi A3

The 2022 Audi A3 brings several updates and improvements, making it an even more attractive option for buyers. Some of the new and enhanced features include:

  • Redesigned exterior with a sharper, more aggressive look
  • New infotainment system featuring a 10.1-inch touchscreen display
  • Updated driver assistance systems, such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and a 360-degree camera
  • Enhanced performance, thanks to an updated suspension and steering system

2023 Audi A3

Details about the 2023 Audi A3 are not fully available yet. However, based on Audi’s commitment to innovation, you can expect continued improvements in design, technology, and performance.

Audi is constantly reconfiguring its lineup for both gas and electric vehicle models, so it is possible that a hybrid or electric variant of the A3 could make its way into the lineup in the coming years.

Technical Specifications

In this section, we’ll examine the technical specifications of the Audi A3, focusing on the features that relate to the engine, cabriolet option, exhaust, and gas mileage.

2.0L Turbocharged Engine

The Audi A3 is equipped with a powerful 2.0L Turbocharged engine, which offers a good balance of performance and fuel efficiency. This engine is known for:

  • Producing strong horsepower and torque output
  • Providing a responsive and smooth driving experience
  • Ensuring an appropriate level of power for city driving and highway cruising


If you love the feeling of driving with the top down, the Audi A3 Cabriolet is an exciting option to consider. Here are a few features of the A3 Cabriolet:

  • A fully automatic, soft-top roof that can be opened or closed in just a few seconds
  • Unique styling elements, including a distinct rear decklid and integrated third brake light
  • Increased trunk space in comparison to the typical convertible


The Audi A3’s exhaust system contributes to the car’s satisfying driving experience. Key features of the A3’s exhaust include:

  • A dual-tip design that adds an aggressive and sporty look to the rear of the car
  • A well-tuned sound that complements the 2.0L Turbocharged engine, providing an enjoyable auditory experience during acceleration
  • Efficient emissions control, ensuring the vehicle meets strict environmental standards

Gas Mileage

One of the key advantages of the Audi A3 is its respectable fuel efficiency.

While exact mileage figures may vary based on factors such as the engine configuration, transmission, and driving conditions, here are some general numbers to give you an idea of what to expect:

  • Highway mileage: Approximately 30-40 miles per gallon (mpg)
  • City mileage: Roughly 20-30 mpg

These figures are an approximation and may vary based on the specific year and model of the Audi A3 you’re interested in.

Considering the power and performance offered by the 2.0L Turbocharged engine, the A3 delivers competitive fuel economy for its class.


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