Audi A3 vs. A4: Which One is Best for You?

Do you want to get an Audi sedan but aren’t sure if the subcompact Audi A3 or the compact Audi A4 is better suited to your needs? This is the post that you need to read. It might be challenging to decide between a subcompact luxury sedan and a compact luxury sedan because they frequently share features, a similar look, and a price range that is not that far apart.  

The major distinctions between the Audi A4 and Audi A3 will be discussed in this article, along with details on powertrains, styling, fuel efficiency, cost, and more. This post will provide you with the essential information that you need to purchase with more confidence or may even lead you to the conclusion that none of these cars is the best fit for you.

Powertrains and Fuel Economy

Audi A3: The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that powers the standard A3 ”40” produces 184 horsepower and 224 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, a 2.0-liter engine that comes with additional power is featured; it is called the A3 ”45” and provides 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The 7-speed DSG transmission in all variants transmits power to Audi’sAudi’s all-wheel-drive system, which is optional if you choose the more expensive “45” model. Audi’sAudi’s Quattro isn’t truly a standard feature in the A3, which comes standard with front-wheel drive.

The front-wheel-drive A3 40 features an EPA rating of 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, plus 29 mpg combined. The more impressive A3 45 comes standard with AWD and is rated at 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. The S3 and RS 3 are also options if you want something faster, and a convertible version of the A3 is also offered.

Audi A4: A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 201 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque powers the standard Audi A4 40. Customers can also choose the more powerful A4 45 variant, which features a 2.0-liter engine that provides 261 horsepower plus 273 lb-ft of torque. Audi’sAudi’s seven-speed DSG transmission is available in the A4 40 and A4 45, and all variants come standard with Quattro all-wheel drive.

The Audi A4 40 has a rating of 28 mpg from the EPA, which rates it at 34 mpg highway and 25 mpg city. Featuring 24 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined, the A4 45 has marginally poorer fuel economy. The mild hybrid system is present in both. The S4 is also a good option if you need something even faster.

Customers can select between two different 2.0-liter engines in both of these vehicles. They have the same transmissions and can be had with optional all-wheel drive. In conclusion, this category is a bit of a toss-up because these two have fairly identical powertrain lineups in standard A4 and A3 configurations. These two differ from one another in terms of size and content rather than powertrains.

Design and Body Styles

Audi A3: This is a five-seat subcompact luxury vehicle. With Audi’sAudi’s massive single-frame grille, slender LED headlights and taillights, stubby front, sharp styling lines, rear overhangs, plus an integrated rear lip spoiler, it has a relatively neutral appearance that is modern-looking and sporty. In the US and Canada, the A3 is no longer offered as a hatchback; instead, it is only offered as a convertible or a four-door sedan.

Audi A4: Although it has quite a similar appearance to the A3 and is classified as a compact instead of a subcompact, the Audi A4 appears to be longer and has broader rear and front overhangs. However, it also has Audi’sAudi’s single-frame grille, LED headlights, and taillights, along with five seats. For 2020, Audi made some design adjustments to the vehicle, giving it a sportier, youthful appearance with completely new taillights and headlights. With the A4 Allroad, the A4 is offered as a wagon or a four-door sedan.

These two appear to be pretty similar, yet the Audi A4’sA4’s proportions give it a more traditional sedan appeal. The A3 is shorter and stubbier. Due to a redesign for the 2020 model year, the A4 also sports a more modern style. Select the A4 if you want something that appears more mature. The A3’sA3’s proportion might seem weird to some people.


Audi A3: The A3 comes standard with a 10-speaker music system, a 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, cruise control, and rain-sensing wipers. Audi’sAudi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display, a heated steering wheel, and automated climate control are all available extras. Automated emergency braking plus forward collision warning are standard safety features; however, adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist, and advanced park assist are optional.

Audi A4: The A4’sA4’s standard tech features include a 10-speaker music system, cruise control, a 7-inch display with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Audi Drive Select with numerous drive modes. Forward collision warning as well as the automatic emergency braking are two examples of standard active safety features.

A larger 8.4-inch multimedia display, the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit driver’s display, automatic climate control, a Bang & Olufsen high-definition audio system, a multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles, and other technological features are available. Blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and high beam assist are available safety features.

While the A4 has more standard equipment than the A3, they both have relatively similar features and equipment. If you are compelled to choose a lot of optional accessories for the A3, it might be preferable to pick the A4 instead and choose fewer extras.

Space and Practicality

Audi A3: Compared to the compact A4, the A3 is more of a subcompact sedan with less space for passengers and cargo. Its front seat has 41.2 inches of legroom plus 36.5 inches of headroom, while the second row has 35.1 inches of legroom plus 36.1 inches of headroom. Although the seats may be folded down to carry longer things, the trunk only has a 12.3 cubic trunk volume.

Audi A4: This is a compact sedan with 41.3 inches of legroom and 38.9 inches of headroom in the front seats. Legroom and headroom are both 35.7 inches and 37.4 inches, respectively, in the second row. The trunk has a space of 13 cubic feet.

On paper, the A4 may not appear larger compared to the A3, but the A4 is definitely a larger vehicle. The A3 comes with four doors, but despite its size, we don’t recommend it for people who frequently plan to put adults in the back seats. The A4 is a greater option if you usually transport passengers via the rear seats.


Audi A3: The base 2.0-liter Titanium variant with 188 horsepower sells for $34,295 in the A3. The Premium trim starts at $36,595, is the least expensive vehicle with AWD and the more potent 45 engine. The starting prices for the top-of-the-line Prestige model with the 40 and 45 powertrains are $42,695 and $45,795, respectively.

Audi A4: The entry-level Premium variant of the A4 has a starting price of $40,095 with the Quattro drivetrain, while the entry-level trim starts at $41,895 with the 45 powertrain. The starting prices for the top-of-the-line Prestige trim for the 40 and 45 engines are $50,395 and $50,795, respectively.

The A3’sA3’s base price is far lower than the A4’sA4’s base price, but as you add additional equipment to it, the A3’sA3’s value rapidly depreciates. Unless you plan to skimp on extras for your A3, it might be more cost-effective to get an A4 base model, which comes standard with equipment that is almost equal to or better than an A3 and is essentially larger for just a few thousand dollars more.

Audi A3 vs. A4 Verdict

With nearly identical exterior styling, two different 2.0-liter engine options, and standard all-wheel drive, the A3 and A4 are quite similar. The A3 is not a good choice for those with a large family or those who frequently utilize the back seats, however, as it is somewhat smaller than the A4. The A3 is smaller than the A4, but it costs significantly less, with pricing starting much lower.

In the end, we believe that the A4 is a more upscale and solidly constructed vehicle that will be worth spending the extra cash on. If the A3 is tempting you, we advise choosing a well-equipped Volkswagen Golf instead because it will drive fairly similarly, and you won’t be paying extra for a flashy luxury badge.

Audi has been offering iconic vehicles for decades, and you’ll get your money’s worth with their vehicle lineup. Hopefully, this post provided you with a more in-depth look between the Audi A3 and the Audi A4. The factors mentioned above may serve as critical to your decision-making. Whatever you choose, whether you follow our recommendation or not, just follow what best suits your needs.

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