Audi A3 company car hero

  • We explore the extremely popular Audi A3's range
  • Which should the sensible company car driver pick?
  • Did you know you could have an Audi for £41 per month

Audi’s A3 is a very popular company car. Its hatchback dimensions coupled with its stylish image, refined engines and well-built interiors mean it’s a car many people aspire to.

In this article we’re going to show you which A3 we’d buy, outline the costs involved and show you how you can work them out for yourself.

Which body style to go for?
The first thing to consider is which bodystyle you want. There’s a choice of three; three-door hatch, ‘Sportback’ or five-door, and cabriolet. Obviously choosing a cabriolet is a personal thing, but there’s also a CO2 implication. The lowest emissions for a cabriolet A3 is 114g/km, and there’s also an almost £4,000 premium on top of the three door and a £3,000 on top of the Sportback. Only you’ll know whether it’s worth that much to you, so for now we’re going to rule the cabriolet out.

So, three-door or five-door? The difference between the two is around £500 so once that’s filtered through the company car tax calculations then it isn’t going to be a huge difference. There’s another consideration though. We’ve heard from several company car drivers who have chosen the A3 because it’s the stylish choice. With that in mind, and without fail, these people have insisted on three-door cars since they say they “just look better”. So with that in mind, we’ll go for the three door.

Which engine should I pick?
One of the A3’s trump cards is an excellent range of smooth and efficient engines. There’s a selection of petrol and diesel units to suit most needs and budgets. From ultra-low-CO2 diesel engines to seriously powerful petrol power, you’ll be able to find something that fits the bill nicely.

We’re concerned with company car drivers, so cost is always going to be a factor. For that reason it’ll probably be diesel that you’ll choose. There are both 1.4- and 2.0-litre diesels in the variety of power outputs, so which one is best? The 1.6-litre comes in 103bhp guise and emits between 99g/km and 109g/km. The 2.0-litre comes in 138bhp and 168bhp guises emitting either 115g/km or 123g/km respectively.

When considering company car tax there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of difference between the 1.6 and the 2.0-litre on first inspection, but we think the extra grams per kilometre will make quite a difference to company car tax over the next three years. The 99g/km version sees a hike from 13% to 15% in two years. However, over the same period of time the 109g/km goes from 13% to 17% - a much bigger margin. The lower-powered 2.0-litre is worse still, rising from 13% to 18% BIK bands. The higher power 2.0-litre car sees a 2% rise in three years, settling at 20%.

What difference does this make in terms of cost?
The A3 with the 1.6-litre, 99g/km diesel engine will cost you £41 per month on the 20% pay scale but for another £5 per month you could have the S Line version with a load of extra kit thrown in. Beware though, because of the higher emissions with the S Line pack this will shoot up £10 per month in the next tax year whereas the low-tax car will actually stay at £41 per month, potentially saving you £15 a month or £180 per year.

For this reason it makes a lot of sense in the long run to go for the 1.6-litre 99g/km as you’ll save quite a bit of cash, but don’t forget you don’t get a huge amount of kit either so you may have to take a bit of a hit on options to get the spec of car you actually want.

Options can’t be that bad, surely?
Beware of expensive things that you don’t actually need – Audi has become synonymous with expensive options. A sat nav system for instance will cost you £890, while a decent hand-held system can be had for £120. You may want leather, but be prepared for an £810 hit on the list price, pushing your monthly tax bill up by around £6 per month.