Audi A3 celebrates 20th anniversary

September 18th, 1995, the very first Audi A3 rolls off the assembly line in Ingolstadt, Germany. That’s exactly 20 years from today and since then Audi has sold over 3.5 million A3s, making it one of the most successful model lines in the history of the four rings. Today, one of every five Audi models sold is part of the A3 model lineup. And currently, there are more iterations of the Audi A3 than ever, with the e-tron, g-tron and RS models,  so expect the success of the model to increase more than ever before.

“20 years of the Audi A3 – that is 20 years of success in the compact class. Back then, we founded a new segment with the A3. Today, the high-volume A3 family is a fixed component of our model lineup,” says Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl, Audi Board Member for Production. “Two decades of the Audi A3 – and behind it a highly qualified production team. Without them, such a success story would not have been conceivable.”

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2015 Audi RS3 Sportback in Nogaro Blue
2015 Audi RS3 Sportback in Nogaro Blue

Back in 1995, the Audi A3 was unparalleled, in terms of quality, performance and refinement, in the segment. No other small hatchback offered such a premium package. The build quality was far better than anything else in its size or class and its Quattro all-wheel drive system was far superior as well. This sort of segment-topping quality continues today, as the current A3 several models that outshine its competition. The standard A3 sedan and Sportback are excellent little cars and with iterations like the RS3 and e-tron, the A3 offers an excellent choice at any end of the spectrum, whether it be for performance or efficiency or any combination of both.

The Audi A3 is such a success that it’s being produced in more than one Audi plant, such as Györ, Hungary and Foshan, China. Some were even built in Aurangabad, India and soon a Brazilian plant will produce A3s as well. But back at the home base, in Ingolstadt, is where the real action is happening. Audi is able to produce the Audi A3 e-tron on the same assembly line and cycle time as the standard car. This is extremely important, as the e-tron model is in such high demand that Audi needs to keep up with the supply. In the Netherlands, one of every two Audi A3s sold is an e-tron.

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Audi A3 celebrates 20th anniversary
Audi A3 e-tron Sportback

The Audi A3 has been a groundbreaking model since its inception in 1995. New model variants have only increased its success and importance in the automotive landscape. Here’s to the Audi A3. Happy twentieth birthday.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.