2022 Audi A3 Quattro
The A3 is Audi’s entry-level sedan, offering the same edgy styling and refined interior as it’s more expensive stablemates.
By Glenn Oyoung
Wed, Sep 14, 2022 12:41 PM PST
When Audi offered a week with the 2022 A3 it was like fate was coming back to correct a wrong.
Back in the day when I still lived in a dorm room and could play Mechwarrior all night and still function the next day, you could not miss the Audi S4 posters and printouts I had plastered on my wall. The S4 to me was perfection with four doors. Gorgeous, fast, luxurious. Getting the keys to some Vorsprung durch Technik (Progress through Technology) was all I had on my mind. If had to suffer through microeconomics then so be it, I wanted Audi’s finest junior salaryman rocket in my driveway upon graduation.
Alas, the S4 wasn’t in the cards for me. My first paycheck was a lesson in Uncle Sam’s take – which left me more in the Honda category than the euro world. Fast forward a few decades, several cars, and to parenthood in the burbs. When my good friend Steve Lam from legendary off-road shop RPM Garage mentioned he was open to selling his slammed A4 Avant S Line, I practically threw my checkbook at him. Finally my chance to reclaim some of that Technik, and with a wagon I could tell my practical side – and my very patient wife – that this was actually a reasonable decision.
Years before our economy succumbed to inflation, the entire auto industry did. It seems like every make and model has grown in dimension – Civics are the size of Accords, M2s are the sizes of M3s, and A3s are the size of my beloved 90s Audi S4s.
This inflation is ok by me. Today if you’re a junior executive looking to signal your promotability, would be wise to test drive an A3. With an attractive exterior, Eurolux interior, and room for clients to hop in the back – this thing practically comes with a Powerpoint deck on why you should be on the partner track.
The $40k luxury sedan market is hotly contested with lots of choices. The exterior of the A3 is super sharp with angles in all the right places to keep this people mover looking sporty and aggressive. The side profile hasn’t changed much from the A4s of my youth and I like it. The A3 has a nice stance that telegraphs this car can and will hang with you on your Newcomb’s Ranch run.
You can’t talk about the exterior without talking about the front and the grill specifically. We’ve entered a period where I love the Audi design language again. Go back in time and you’ll recall that Audi had first-mover advantage in the humungous grill trend with their “single grill” design language. I’ve never been a huge fan of this trend as I cannot undo the image of a catfish that pops up when I see a massive grill from any make or model. The worst offenders in my mind are Lexus with the Predator grill that just.won’t.die! and the new BMW 4 grille that is in desperate need of a kidney transplant to the kidneys of yore. Ironically, to me Audi now has the best looking grill with a wide hexagonal shape that emphasizes the wide stance of the car without looking like a piece of machinery that needs to visit an orthodontist.
Our tester came loaded with options including Glacier White metallic paint, Black optic sport package which added high-gloss black exterior trim and sport suspension, the 18” wheel package (17” is standard), and the Premium Plus Package which came with a host of interior and exterior upgrades. At a base price of just under $36k, all of these goodies only bumped up the ticket $6k and I would highly recommend.
Audi has always been a heavy hitter in the interior category to me. There’s a Euro cleanness to their aesthetic where things are just placed logically and just the right amount of satin brightwork to impart a luxury feel. The 10.25” digital instrument cluster and the 10.1” touchscreen Audi MMI touch display are legible and easy to use.
I loved the panoramic sunroof and now that I’m coping with the gift of daily lower back pain, appreciated that seats are firm and also supportive. The base sound system, paired with Apple Carplay made for a great platform to blast my favorite 80s tunes. I’d be curious to hear how this well-designed cabin sounds with the optional 680-watt Bang & Olufsen system.
Last but not least, how did the A3 drive? Short answer: pretty fun for daily driving - I just wish it had more brakes on it. The turbocharged 4-cylinder puts out 201 horsepower and 221 lb-ft. of torque, good for a 0-60 second time of 6.3 seconds. As a point of reference the A3’s yoked out sibling, the RS3, features double the horsepower and essentially half the 0-60 time. The RS3 also clocks in about $20k more.
Staying under the $50k mark, a loaded A3 is plenty fun around town. On-ramp sprints and freeway passing were never an issue. The 7-speed S Tronic automatic was responsive, particularly in sport mode. On city streets at standing starts, I felt at times that by the time the turbo spooled up I was already at the next streetlight and it was time to hit the brakes. In those moments I could have used some beefier brakes.
All in all if I were 20 years younger and didn’t have kids to shuttle around, the RS3 would be in my dorm room – and the A3 would definitely be in my driveway or at least near the top of my consideration set.
For more information, visit audiusa.com
About The Author
Glenn Oyoung is a marketer based in Los Angeles. Glenn’s lifelong passion for cars is rooted in playing with Hot Wheels, and has continued into 1:1 scale. He’s the former marketing director of American Racing, author of ‘vehicular alphabet books’ “C is for Car” and "P is for Petersen" in collaboration with the Petersen Automotive Museum. His passion for cars extends to his role as the founder of the monthly car meet Carcadia at Route 66, the most diverse car meet in the San Gabriel Valley.