2012 audi a3 2.0T s-line

The Brilliant 2012 Audi A3 – Redefining What A Hatchback Could Be

For many years the A3 has been a staple in the hatchback market and the 2012 Audi A3 is no exception. With it’s fresh and distinguished looks and array of technology Audi clearly differentiated itself from it’s Volkswagen counterparts. Essentially developed on the same platform the 2012 Audi A3 was always seen as the more refined choice even as you delve into the sportier models such as the Audi S3 and VW Golf R or GTI.

When Audi first launched the Audi A3, it was the first German luxury car manufacturer to enter the sub-compact vehicle market. Although it was a brave choice that risked the Audi brand’s dive into the luxury sector, the manufacturer has sold over 5,000,000 units in the intervening years.

2012 audi a3 rear 2.0T s-line
2012 Audi A3 2.0T

When it was launched in 1996, the Audi A3 was an unashamed upscale version of its cousin, the Volkswagen Golf Mk4. Since then, it has grown both in character and capability. In 2012 the Audi A3 was no longer the more grown-up version of a Golf but had instead created a unique personality.

The History Of The 2012 Audi A3

The Audi A3 was launched in 1996, initially as a 3-door hatchback car, and was positioned as a more upmarket and “sporty” version of the Volkswagen Golf. Unlike the Golf, it was available as a two-wheel drive (the front wheels) or four-wheel drive.

Detractors questioned whether anyone would be interested in a jumble of Golf mechanicals and Audi styling cues at Audi price levels.

2012 audi a3 2.0T s-line rear
2012 Audi A3 2.0T

History has proven the skeptics wrong.

An inline four-cylinder five-valve engine which was transversely (right to the left) mounted powered the launch model. The increased number of valves per cylinder improved the engine’s drivability, enabling it to rev quicker and higher revolutions.

In 1999 Audi added to the model range with more powerful engines, including the gas-powered 1.8 turbo rated 180 PS (132 kW; 178 hp), and the 1.9 TDI diesel engine with unit injector “Pumpe Düse” (PD) technology and variable geometry turbocharger.

2012 audi a3 rs3
2012 Audi RS3

These engines changed the car’s character and helped position it as a sub-compact sports hatchback. At the same time, Audi released a five-door version that appealed to small families.

The addition of driver aids (electronic stability control, traction control, and brake force distribution computer) in 2000 set the stage for the Audi A3 to make a name for itself in the sales charts.

What is the 2012 Audi A3 Like?

The Audi A3 was first launched in the American market in 2006. Because the VW group adheres to evolutionary changes through model years, rather than the dramatic shift shaping that some brands practice, the 2012 model did not look different.

Even today, the 2012 model looks fresh and contemporary from the outside.

2012 audi a3 tdi side
2012 Audi A3 TDI

It brought the style of an upmarket German brand into the compact hatchback dominated by VW Golfs, Ford Focus, and Mazda 3’s. The high waistline, sharper body creases, distinctive nose with tighter design elements, and more compact tail lamps make the 2012 model a desirable version to own.

Being 3.5 inches longer, 1 inch narrower, but over two inches shorter than the Golf, it naturally possessed a more athletic stance.

2012 audi a3 tdi rear
2012 Audi A3 TDI

In the same way, having a lower silhouette compared to the Ford Focus achieved Audi’s aim of creating a compact, sporty vehicle which offered a luxury experience.

The RS3 model was available with:

  1. A bigger engine
  2. Model specific carbon fiber front fenders.
  3. Exterior-mirror casings in matte aluminum
  4. A roof spoiler
  5. A high-gloss black diffuser insert
  6. Two elliptical exhaust tailpipes on the left
  7. Sports seats upholstered in Nappa leather
  8. A flat-bottomed leather multifunction sports steering wheel,
DimensionAudi A3GolfFocus
Length168.9 in165.4 in178.5 in
Width69.4 in70.3 in81.1 in
Height56.0 in58.3 in57.7 in

What Is The 2012 Audi A3 Like To Drive?

The Audi A3 featured a massively improved ride quality for the 2012 model year. The new model was built on the VW group’s latest (then) MQB chassis, creating a much more composed and stable driving experience than previous years.

2012 audi a3 2.0T s-line
2012 Audi A3 2.0T

No longer did the car rattle and shook over rutted surfaces, and instead, the drive began to emulate the more expensive models in the Audi line-up.

The 2012 Audi A3 has been criticized for its lack of feedback through the steering wheel and its more clinical driving experience. Of course, this would all change with the launch of the Audi S3 in the following year.

2012 audi a3 tdi
2012 Audi A3 TDI

The suspension has been stiffened, and even with the most spirited driving style, the body roll is very well controlled.

Despite the robot-like steering, It gets around corners well and provides a very secure handling package that reflects an accurate impression of solidity on the road.

Is The 2012 Audi A3 Fast?

The 200 horsepower petrol engine produced 207 pound-feet of torque and was no slouch in that it could propel the 2012 Audi A3 from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 7.2 seconds.

2012 audi rs3
2012 Audi RS3

The King of the Hill was the 2012 Audi A3 RS3, which could rocket the car from 0 to 62 in 4.6 seconds. The numbers were not embarrassingly far away from supercar standards in those days. According to Audi’s philosophy, the top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph (249 km/h).

The Interior Of The 2012 Audi A3

Audi is well known for its interiors, and the cabin of the 2012 Audi A3 is no exception.

Despite being the smallest and lowest cost vehicle in the Audi range, the interior imbues an air of quality.

2012 audi a3 interior 2.0T s-line
2012 Audi A3 Interior

Everything is well laid out, controls come quickly to hand, and finely prepared materials remind one of the cars costing much more than the 2012 Audi A3.

The seats are supremely comfortable and are trimmed with leather. The seating is lower than some people prefer, but the driver is ensconced once in position and becomes part of the driver-centric experience. The visibility around the car is excellent and adds to the safety of the whole experience.

2012 audi rs3 interior
The Sportier 2012 Audi RS3 Interior Compared to the 2012 Audi A3 Interior

Audi boasts that the 2012 Audi A3 is a five-seater. Legalistically, this is true; however, 5 adults (3 in the back seat) may be forced to get a little more physically intimate than they were possibly expecting.

Practically the 2012 Audi A3 is a comfortable four-seater.

The 2012 Audi A3 Engine

The 2012 Audi A3 was offered with three engine alternatives.

  1. A 140-hp, 2.0-liter turbodiesel inline-4.
  2. A 200-hp, 2.0-liter gas turbo-4.
  3. A 335-hp 5-cylinder turbocharged unit is available on the RS3.
2012 audi a3 engine 2.0T s-line
2012 Audi A3 2.0T

Most reviewers preferred the turbodiesel unit for in-town driving. It produces high torque levels at low revs, making it perfect for stop and start situations in town while also providing good acceleration levels necessary for stress-free highway trips.

2012 audi a3 tdi engine
2012 Audi A3 TDI

With a measured fuel highway consumption of 42-mpg, the turbodiesel continues to make a compelling case for itself.

2012 audi rs3 engine
2012 Audi RS3

Of course, in sheer performance terms, the RS3 engine always wins the day, and if you are looking for an adrenaline-inducing driving experience, then look no further than the 2012 Audi RS3.

What Will You Pay For A 2012 Audi A3?

The following table shows that the 2012 Audi A3 has retained its value better than most.

ModelNew MSRPCurrent 2nd Hand Value
Audi A3 2.0L TDi Premium Diesel$30,250From $8,995 to $19,990
Audi A3 2.0T Premium$30,000From $4,129 to $12,575

Our Verdict on the 2012 Audi A3

The 2012 Audi A3 fulfilled its brief for the manufacturer. It continued the sales successes from previous model years, and the newly launched RS3 version created a new market aimed at drivers looking for something more.

2012 audi rs3 rear
2012 Audi RS3

The well-thought-out interior, impeccably tailored with high-quality materials, only enhances the overall impression of quality. If you are looking for a vehicle in the bracket, keep your eye open for a good used model.

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