Audi A4 Vs Audi A3: A Complete Guide

by | Aug 14, 2022 | Guides

The Audi A4 and A3 are quite similar cars, which might make it difficult to choose between them. They’re both midsize sedans and are almost identical in appearance, equipment, and cost. So, the issue becomes, “Which one do I choose?” in terms of my wants and preferences in a car. There are a few major distinctions to highlight so that you can make an informed buying decision. Here, we’ll compare and contrast a number of factors, including cost, engine, issue, and dependability.

As you can there have been multiple generations of these models; for the purpose of simplicity, we will focus on the most latest of these models.

Differentiating the Audi A3 and A4

Specifically, we’ll be looking at the Audi A4 B8/B8.5 and the Audi A3 8V, as these are the two most popular models of these two cars. But before we get into those in turn, let’s have a look at the history of each model and all the generations it has gone through.

Generations of the Audi A3

  • 8L A3: 1996 – 2003
  • 8P A3: 2003 – 2013
  • 8V A3: 2013-2020
  • 8Y A3: 2020 – Present

Generations of the Audi A4

  • B5 A4: 1994-200
  • B6 A4: 2001-2006
  • B7 A4: 2004-2009
  • B8/B8.5 A4: 2009-2016
  • B9 A4: 2016-2023

This should provide some light on the possible variations in available models. In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between the various models, including their engines, interiors, gearboxes, and dimensions. We acknowledge that cost is a crucial consideration in deciding which model is best for you, so we’ll start there.

Comparing the Cost of an A3 to an A4

The Audi A4 is more costly than the Audi A3 typically is from the added accessories we’ve outlined below. The Audi A3’s most popular model, the base 8V, may be purchased for between £9,000 and £25,000, depending on its age, mileage, and condition. Depending on the year and mileage, the price of the most popular A4, the B8, can range from £6,500 to £25,000. * Since the two generations were born in separate decades, it’s hardly a perfect comparison. So, a new basic A3 will set you back £29,900 in 2021, while a new base A4 will cost you £32,900. Clearly, the difference in MSRP between the two is only £6,000. Is the A4 really worth it? And that’s exactly what we’re going to get into detail about down below.
Note that the aforementioned used pricing should be interpreted with the caveat that we are now in a market where used automobiles are overpriced.

A3 and A4 Common Topics

Here we will discuss some of the fundamentals of both approaches. Scale, functionality, and dependability are all relevant factors. The Audi A4 is the larger and more powerful of the two models, while the Audi A3 is the more reliable option. To assist visualize the pricing gap and feature set between the A4 and A3, we’ll use 2022 models for each discussion.

Audi A3 and A4 Sizes

What follows are some quick stats on how the two models compare in terms of bulk and mobility.

The Differences in Size Between the Audi A3 and the A4

2022 Audi A3 2022 Audi A4
Length 175.5″ 187.5″
Width 71.7″ 72.7″
Height 56.3″ 56.2″
Wheelbase 103.8″ 111″
Curb Weight 3,329 lb 3705 lb

This table shows that, with the exception of height, all A3 specifications are met by the A4 specification. While the A4 is categorized as a small car, the A3 is a subcompact. The A3 has less room for freight and storage because of its smaller size. Briefly said, the A4 is the superior choice if you want to carpool, are the key driver in your social group, have kids or a dog.

Performance of the Audi A3 and A4

There are too many variations of engines for any model to provide a comprehensive list of performance specifications, such as 0-60 times, quarter-mile times, etc. Therefore, we will once again be comparing only the base models.


This new Audi A3 is powered by a 2.0 TFSI engine, which generates 201 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. It boasts a 0-60 mph pace of 6.6 seconds, a peak speed of 130 mph, Front-Wheel Drive, and an automatic gearbox with seven gears called S tronic. With a 13.2g petrol tank, the 2.0TFSI engine achieves a total mpg of 32 by getting 29 mpg in the cities and 38 mpg on the highway.

However, it only produces 201 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque in the new Audi A4. The A4 has a faster acceleration time of 3.3 seconds from zero to sixty miles per hour and a higher peak speed of 130 miles per hour than the A3, plus it is equipped with Audi’s quattro® AWD ultra technology. With a combined 26/34 mpg, the A4’s 2.0 TFSI engine delivers 29 mpg on the interstate and in the city. The car has a 15.3-gallon fuel tank.


Seeing that this feature is likely to be of interest to a few of our readership, we’ll be sure to provide a brief overview of the engine’s tunability. While we don’t have hard data on each engine’s potential, you can increase its power with very little effort. Both vehicles have turbocharged engines, so an ECU tune would just cost a few hundred pounds to give them some serious power. We have, however, published articles titled “The five Best Audi A4 B9 Performance Mods” and “The 5 Best Audi A3 Mods,” respectively, that detail the gains in speed that may be achieved with very inexpensive add-ons.

How Reliable Are the Audi A3 and A4, and What Are the Most Frequent Problems?

Audi A3

The Audi A3’s reliability rating is average for its segment. The average rating across sites is below average at 57, with RepairPal giving it a 3.5 out of 5, and the site giving it a 51.7 out of 100 rating being the lowest. It is a high-end German car, thus the average yearly maintenance expenses are £600. Common problems with the Audi A3 include the start-stop system not working, engine misfires, a faulty high-pressure fuel pump, a jarring automatic gearbox, a faulty fuel tank pump, and other similar problems. We’ve seen several A3s endure for 250,000 miles or more, despite the fact that there’s a long list of problems that plague this model.

Audi A4

RepairPal rated the Audi A4 at 3.5 stars out of 5, while other review sites gave it an average score of 57 (out of 100) and a low score of 37.85. You should avoid buying a 2009 Audi A4 if you can help it since it was the model year when the automobile suffered the most. The £600 yearly cost of maintenance is comparable to that of the A3. The A4 has a history of problems including high oil usage (2011), engine misfires (2012), damaged pistons, a faulty PCV valve, and a faulty high-pressure fuel pump. Despite a broad list of common problems, many A4s have reached 250,000 miles upwards of without breaking down.

Apparently, the A3 is more dependable than the A2. The A4’s disappointing first impression is all the fault of its predecessors. The 2020 Audi A4 was rated 88 out of 100 by Consumer Reports. This implies that the addition of the A3 as well as A4 models could have affected the aforementioned data. Both of these vehicles are dependable and, with good maintenance, could easily go beyond 200,000 miles. German cars need careful upkeep or else problems may pile up. Checking the oil, rotating the tires, and changing the oil on a regular basis are all important maintenance tasks.

Compare and Contrast: A3 and A4 – Which Is Better?

We think there are many possible answers to this issue since individuals purchase cars for many different reasons. Therefore, it is hard to provide a clear answer, albeit the A4 is our top pick because to its superior value. At this level of abstraction, the A3 is smaller and more fuel efficient. The A4 offers more horsepower and luggage space. Both cars feature a 5-star safety certification, similar interiors, with park assist including adaptive cruise control.
Thus, attention shifts back to the purchaser: what are your specific requirements from your new Audi?
Comparison between the Audi A3 and A4

Final Thoughts

Buying a high-end car is a major investment, so we hope the preceding information was helpful in making your choice. The Audi A3 is the more fuel-efficient option, while the Audi S3 is the more sporty and powerful option. Customers’ preferences and driving demands will determine which model is the better fit. If you have any firsthand knowledge of either car let us know in the comments below. This will help readers in the future decide which method is best for them.


Potential issues, causes, and solutions have been identified in the above article based on the experiences of car owners and repairers, as well as web materials such as forum blogs and technical support bulletins. This data is supplied exclusively for the purpose of reference. Only appropriately qualified persons should perform repairs and/or changes on your vehicles.

While it’s important to keep in mind, it’s also important to note that the amount of times anything is mentioned here should not be seen as a sign of its reliability or frequency. Various owners, driving in different ways, and caring for their vehicles in distinct ways will cause two identical vehicles to perform differently.

As previously said, this material is supplied primarily for reference reasons; nonetheless, we hope that by doing so, we will be able to supply you with essential knowledge that will allow you to make informed decisions whenever you encounter any of the aforementioned setbacks.