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The 2017 Audi A3, enhanced with a few modest style and equipment changes from the previous year, remains a serious competitor among entry-level compact luxury sedans. Available as a four-door sedan or a two-door convertible, the redesigned A3 continues to offer a practical blend of ride, handling and comfort that has made it a success with shoppers on the hunt for an upscale vehicle that's modest in size yet big on features.
For 2017, the A3 sports a face-lifted front end with a reshaped high-gloss grille and more aggressive headlight framing, as well as an updated back end with standard LED taillights and a new rear diffuser. There are also changes to the engine lineup and a new seven-speed transmission. But perhaps the most significant changes are in the areas of technology. There's an available revamped infotainment system and Audi's Virtual Cockpit, featuring a configurable data display. In the realm of safety tech, Audi has added a number of standard or optional advanced systems.
Inside, the A3's design has changed very little from last year. The quality of materials remains high. The style, while conservative, is up to date and attractive. Front seat occupants will find plenty of leg- and hiproom as well as shoulder room, although larger adults may feel a tad cramped in the back. Trunk space also lags that of many other cars in its class, especially in the all-wheel-drive models. On the plus side, the rear seatbacks do fold flat to increase cargo room.
Power for all models arrives via a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, tuned to 186 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque in front-wheel-drive vehicles and 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque in those with all-wheel drive. FWD models get the all-new dual-clutch automatic transmission, while AWD A3s continue with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Belying its compact size, the 2017 A3 provides a luxury driving experience, with comfortable, compliant suspension that nevertheless delivers handling rivaling that of some its sportier competitors. Buyers interested in upping the performance factor can order a stiffer sport suspension package that lowers the car and flattens out the corners. The flexible and refined powerplant should be more than lively enough for most drivers.
Fuel economy for the front-wheel-drive Audi A3 is EPA-rated at 20 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway). Choosing an all-wheel-drive model will lower the rating to 27 mpg combined (24 city/31 highway).
You can order the A3 as a sedan or a convertible in three trim levels, Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige; all are available in an all-wheel-drive Quattro version. The base Premium trim comes well equipped with such luxury touches as leather seats and a 10-speaker sound system. The Premium Plus and Prestige models pile on the upscale exterior and interior features. Whatever your preference, let Edmunds help you select the best 2017 Audi A3 to meet your needs.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.