Audi A1 vs A3


The Audi A1 has been produced by the German brand since 2010, after being revealed at the Geneva Motor Show the same year. Initially it was launched as a three door model only before the five door Audi A1 Sportback was introduced in 2012. Now in its second generation, the Audi A1 Sportback is still the smallest car in Audi's range but packs a lot of great equipment and style into the model.

The Audi A3 has been a staple in the Audi range since it's launch in 1996. Now in its fourth generation it continues to be one of the most popular models available on the market. For fans of previous generations you'll be delighted to know that Audi have kept the award winning formula of the Audi A3 Sportback and simply given it a refresh.

Our Audi A1 vs Audi A3 guide will highlight the similarities and differences between these two models to help you decide which will suit you and your needs best.


The Audi A1 is built on the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform and is shared with the SEAT Leon and VW Polo whilst the A3 uses the MQB evo platform that is also used for the Audi Q2 and TT. The current A3 model is also heavily inspired by Lamborghini, especially when looking at the new body kit and interior design.

Both the Audi A1 and Audi A3 have gotten rid of the three door option in favour of five doors only. This makes both models more accessible for those with young children that require car seats or anyone who regularly travels with passengers in the rear seats.

Looking at the actual dimensions of each model will allow you to see that the A3 is 314mm longer, 44mm wider, and 40mm taller than the A1. This translates to 9mm more headroom for front seat passengers and 11mm for those in the rear seats, a small difference that may make taller passengers more comfortable.

The smaller size of the A1 may be better for those who do a lot of city driving as it's a compact car that will have no problem fitting into any parking space, although the A3 isn't too far behind it in that regard.


The interior finishes in the Audi A3 are a little nicer than in the Audi A1, purely as the latter has standard black plastics compared to finishes with silk effect paint in the former. This doesn't mean that the A1 isn't well finished or is full of cheap plastics, the silk effect paint in the A3 just elevates it a little more than standard plastic fittings.

Audi has ditched the infotainment screen that stood atop the dashboard, in both models, in place of the integrated 10.1 touchscreen. It's angled slightly towards the driver for ease of use and pulls the cabin together much better than the previous system.

The Audi A1 has 355 litres of boot space, which is considerably more than some supermini models, whilst the A3 offers 380 litres. Folding the back seats down in either car allows you to open the boot space up to 1090 litres for the A1 and 1200 litres for the A3. Either car will give you plenty of luggage space for a couple of people, ideal if you're going away for a few days.


Looking at the equipment on standard Audi A1 vs A3 models there is very little difference in what you get. Both models benefit from the new infotainment systems, which are fantastic with the digital cockpit screen in tow, and have functionality equipment that you would now expect as standard on any new car.

The A1 has a heated rear windscreen, heat insulating windscreen and side windows, and 1 USB C and one USB A connection point.

The Audi A3 has a body coloured roof spoiler, a windscreen with acoustic glass which reduces wind noise, a glove compartment light, 2 USB C connection points, rear parking sensors, and more options within the larger 10.1 inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. This includes a 3 year subscription to Audi's Connect and Navigation Services, MMI Navigation Plus, and additional information displays in the virtual cockpit.

For equipment such as adaptive cruise control and heated seats on both models you'll need to upgrade the the base model, although this isn't a surprising move as manufacturers usually keep the best features on the top trims.


Both models offer Audi's 1.0 litre petrol engine with 110PS and 1.5 litre petrol engine with 150PS. However the Audi A1 also offers a lower powered 1.0 litre petrol engine which gives 95PS which will lower its insurance group, ideal for younger drivers.

The Audi A3 has gone the opposite way and offers a 2.0 litre diesel engine capable of 150PS, great for longer distance driving. It sticks with power and gives an engine that improves on its petrol counterpart's fuel economy with a combined mpg of 61.4 compared to 50.4 in the 1.5 petrol. Although you'll benefit from better fuel consumption the downfall of the diesel is always it's increased emissions that go alongside it.

The A3 also has the advantage of a plug in hybrid model, the A3 TFSI e. This is a 1.4 litre petrol engine supported by a 10.4kWh battery which greatly reduces CO2 emissions to a maximum of 30 g/km. As a hybrid model it'll also greatly increase your fuel economy to as much as 256.8mpg, easily making it the best bet between the two cars if you're focused on your fuel usage.


Both the Audi A1 and the A3 are great small car options from the German brand, especially now that they both offer only five door models. You're guaranteed to have a great amount of standard equipment, including excellent safety tech, and a variety of engine options to suit your needs.

The A1 is great for those who don't need a whole amount of space or carry a lot of passengers or luggage on a regular basis. On the other hand, the A3 offers more space and a slightly more high quality feel thanks to its superior finishes and trims inside this hot hatch.

For more information about new cars or to book your test drive please don't hesitate to contact our friendly and knowledgeable teams at our Audi sites in Aberdeen and Dundee.