Audi A3 hatchback white front view

Audi A3: What Years to Avoid & Which to Buy? (2024 Guide)

Are you thinking of adding an Audi A3 to your garage?

If so, there’s always a risk of buying someone else’s headache in automotive form.

So, what years should be avoided when shopping for an Audi A3?

Quick Answer: Audi A3 Years To Avoid

The Audi A3 years to avoid are 2015, 2004, and 2009. These model years are the least reliable due to various engine and electrical issues.

Read on for a complete overview!

Overview: Audi A3 years to avoid or to buy

Here is a table overview of the Audi A3 years to avoid:

YearGenerationMain Complaints
20158V, Mk1– Engine problems
– Electrical problems
– Seat belts/airbag problems
20048P, Mk1– Engine problems
– AC problems
– Exhaust system problems
20098P, Mk2– Fuel system problems
– Light problems

When looking for the best Audi A3 years to buy, look for a 2016 to 2019 Audi A3 from the Mk2 8V generation. This generation of Audi A3 has surprisingly few issues and seems to do well on reliability overall.

Related article: Audi A3: 10 Common Problems Reported By Owners

What Audi A3 years should you avoid?

Despite the fact that the Audi A3 is a great all-around car, there are specific production years that have a higher likelihood of experiencing issues.

Let’s check out three Audi A3 model years that received the highest number of complaints:

2015 Audi A3

2015 Audi A3 grey

Out of all Audi A3 model years, try to avoid the 2015 Audi A3.

The 2015 Audi A3 received a total of 34 complaints, which is the highest out of any Audi A3 model year.

Most complaints are about engine problems, like excessive oil consumption or a sudden loss of power.

The 2015 Audi A3 also seems to have problems with its electrical system.

The most common issue here is a malfunction of Audi’s Pre-Sense system, which uses a camera integrated into the windshield to scan the road ahead and warn the driver of possible collisions.

However, you may also notice intermittent warning lights on the dashboard, a malfunctioning phone charger, or failing window regulators.

Lastly, you may experience issues with seat belts or airbags. The seat belt indicators may malfunction, and the airbag sensors may give out errors.

2004 Audi A3

2004 Audi A3 silver

While the 2015 Audi A3 received by far the most complaints, 2004 is also an Audi A3 year you should try to avoid. The 2004 Audi A3 received a total of 13 complaints.

Like the 2015 Audi A3, most complaints are about engine problems, specifically a rough-running engine and, even worse, stretched timing chains.

Besides engine problems, you may find that the air conditioning system starts malfunctioning or the exhaust starts rattling.

2009 Audi A3

2009 Audi A3 black

The last Audi A3 year that’s better to be avoided is 2009. The 2009 Audi A3 received a total of six complaints.

Three out of six complaints are related to the vehicle’s fuel system. For example, you may feel like the engine is not firing properly, causing the vehicle to hesitate or stall.

Two of six complaints are related to the lights. Owners found that the headlights could dim while they were still turned on or that the tail lights went out.

Which Audi A3 year is the best?

When it comes to Audi A3s, the 2016 to 2019 Audi A3 model years stand out as one of the best.

Audi’s reputation for reliable performance holds true here, and many Audi owners report that these vehicles are incredibly dependable.

Audi A3s produced between 2016 to 2019 belong to the second iteration (Mk2) of the 8V generation.

Audi A3 8V Mk2 generation

Being a new version of an existing generation (the Mk1 8V, produced between 2012 and 2016), Audi could fix all issues and complaints that the Mk1 had. This makes the Mk2 8V one of the most reliable Audi A3s.

This generation also brings a lot of cutting-edge technology in a modern package. From 2017 to 2019, Audi even introduced the optional extra to add Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on the A3, which became standard from 2020 onwards.

And because they’re a few years old already, they make great options if you want an Audi without breaking the bank.

The Audi A3 8V Mk2 features Audi’s trademark sleek style combined with great fuel efficiency, ample interior space, and powerful engine options ranging from 1.0-liter to 2.0-liter turbocharged powertrains.

Which Audi A3 engine is best?

Figuring out which Audi A3 engine is best depends on the performance and fuel efficiency you’re looking for.

When looking at the pure statistics on paper, the Audi A3 45 TFSIe produced from 2021 onwards has the best engine.

Audi A3 45 TFSIe in white

It’s a 1.4-liter turbocharged petrol combined with an electric motor, making it the most fuel-efficient and fastest Audi A3 (excluding Audi S models like the S3 and RS3). And don’t worry; the A3 will run just fine on either regular, mid-grade, or premium gas.

The powertrain packs 245 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque for a surprisingly powerful drive. Additionally, it boasts incredible combined fuel economy ratings of 1.4 L/100 Km / 202 MPG UK / 168 MPG US.

Of course, that fuel economy is only achievable if you keep plugging it into the charger and use as much electricity as possible during your drive.

Nevertheless, it’s a great option for keeping your wallet happy and your smile wide when you hit the gas!

Side note: If you’re interested in learning whether the A3’s engines are powerful enough to tow caravans or trailers, take a look at our article here!


Well, looks like it is time to choose your next dream car!

As we have seen throughout this article, the Audi A3 has some years that you should avoid, like 2015 and 2009.

But some years can offer great performance and plenty of value for money when properly maintained.

With a little research, you can find a great Audi A3 with loads of power and style.

Good luck with your choice!

Tip: If you’re an Audi A3 owner, check out this article to learn about the location of the fuse box, battery, and more on the Audi A3!

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  1. My 2010 Audi A3 did 153,000km.
    Was well maintained & serviced but started using lots of oil. Audi advised it needed a new engine & transmission. Had to write it off. The worse part was that it took over a month (& many phone calls) to actually speak to someone at Audi Australia. The overseas call centre that answer their 1300 & 1800 numbers would not put me through. The lady in Melbourne that I finally got to speak with said she’d look into my situation & call back in 2 days… 2 months later I got an email back; Pay $30k to fix or send to wreckers. I won’t buy another Audi, the customer service stopped the moment I drove it out the door.

    1. Hi Kylie,

      I’m sorry to hear about your frustrating experience with your Audi A3 and Audi’s customer service.

      Remember, though, each brand has a vast range of experiences, and this doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality and customer service of all Audi cars. If you decide to look into another vehicle, I’d be happy to provide advice on choosing a make and model that meets your needs 😊

      – Patryk

  2. I am thinking about buying an Audi A3, 2024. I was reading that there were airbag and other issues. Has the air bag problem and other issues been resolved. I have been trying to find out on internet if the issues have been resolved. But I can’t find any answers. I have an Audi as a rental and like the way it drives. Please advise.
    Thank you
    Taz in Las Vegas

    1. Hi Taz,

      Thank you for your comment! The airbag problems you’re mentioning happened on Audi A3s from earlier model years. There have been recalls in 2016 and 2022. However, for the 2023 and 2024 model years, all Audi A3 airbag issues have been resolved.

      Hope that helps!
      – Patryk

  3. Hi Patryk,

    I’m looking to buy the a3 1.4tfsi 2014. Would there be any advice or anything i might need to know beforehand? Saw some advice to fully turn the steering while parked to see if any suspension issue and to pay close attention on 1st and 2nd gear change smoothness of any transmission issue.

    1. Hi there!

      Thanks for reaching out. The 2014 Audi A3 1.4 TFSI is indeed a great choice. It’s most important to check if the engine runs smoothly and doesn’t leak oil, as well as check every electric system to ensure there are no errors. Also, check if the car has a full service history. Best of luck!

      – Patryk

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