🏎️ Audi A3 1st gen. 8L
📍 Germany
🛠️ 1.6i 148NM 101HP
💨 10,9 seconds
🔝 189km/h
💶 No longer on sale

What is it?

Born in 1996, 8L is the code name of the first generation of the Audi A3, a premium small-medium size version with undisputed commercial success. Aimed at the European wealthy class of the time, the mechanics and aesthetics of the A3 8L are shared with the fourth generation Volkswagen Golf, which was unveiled the following year. At the time of release, the A3 8L was the cheapest car on the Audi list. In 2003, after nearly 1 million units were sold, the 8L gave way to its heir, the A3 8P. Only in Brazil the production continued until 2006.


The aesthetics echo that of the contemporary Audi A4 B5, with an almost identical design of the headlights and grille. Measuring just 4,15 meters in length, the 8P is 29 cm shorter than the B5. The weight is low, as it varies from 1100 to 1300 kg depending on the equipment and mechanics chosen by the customer. Unlike all its future generations, the 1st gen. A3 does not feature a Sportback variant. The sloping rear led to the development of a rear window that was too sloped and of reduced dimensions which made rear visibility poor. The trunk has a capacity of 316 liters. Until 2000, when a facelift was introduced, the car was only available in a 3-door configuration


Despite its small size, the A3 8L is unexpectedly spacious even at the rear. The quality of the finishes is impeccable, as well as very similar to that of the A4 B5. The general style of the cockpit is sober and fairly technological: an LCD with satellite navigation function could also be equipped on request.


The structure of the 8L acts as a load-bearing shell made up largely of aluminum. Since its release, the range of engines has been vast and varied between diesel and petrol engines. It, therefore, ranged from 101 to 150HP, excluding the “S3” sports version, which in addition to a 210HP engine offers a generally sportier imposition. The S3 debuted in 1999 and underwent a restyling that brought it to 225HP two years later. The braking system of each version consists of four disc brakes. The car is equipped with ABS as standard.


Audi A3 8L facelift 2020

In 2020 Audi had the opportunity to slightly upgrade some engines and refine both the interior and the exterior. Inside landed aluminum inserts, an updated infotainment and some more generously sized storage compartments. On the outside a new grille and rear light clusters appeared. The bumpers and rear-view mirrors took on the same color as the bodywork. Mechanically, the suspensive compartment was revised.

Our vote: ⭐⭐⭐⭐️ (4/5)