Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.
The A3 was first introduced in 1996 and is still being produced today. Over the last nearly 3 decades, the A3 has seen 4 different generations: 8L A3 (1996-2005), 8P A3 (2005-2013), 8V A3 (2014-2021), and the newest version, 8Y A3 (2022-Present). In this guide specifically, we’ll be focusing on the 8P A3 and the 8V A3 because these are the most common generations.
The 8P A3 featured many different engines, but the most popular was a 2.0 TFSI that put down 197hp and 207lb-ft of torque, 2.0 TDI that put down anywhere from 138hp to 168hp and 236lb-ft to 258lb-ft of torque, and a 3.2L V6 that put down 247hp and 236lb-ft of torque. The drivetrains available were a FWD option and a quattro® option. The 8V A3 also featured many engines, but the most popular was a 1.4 e-tron that put down 201hp and 258lb-ft of torque, 1.8 TFSI that put down 178hp and 184lb-ft of torque, 2.0 TFSI that put down 217hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and a 2.0 TDI that put down anywhere from 148hp to 181hp and 236lb-ft to 280lb-ft of torque. Like the 8P A3, the 8V A3 drivetrains were a FWD and quattro.
Audi A3 Coilovers Considerations
Before going into the considerations, it is important to layout vehicle goals. Are you wanting a track A3 or a stanced A3? Are you just wanting to lower the A3 or are you wanting to improve handling and ride comfort drastically? Once you have answered these questions, then read on to the considerations to assist you in the purchasing decision. Considerations include: monotube vs twin-tube, spring rates, damping, and more. Our goal with this guide is to supply information that will assist any driver to make an informed decision on A3 coilovers.
Monotube vs. Twin-Tube
The main consideration is monotube vs twin-tube shock design. Monotube and twin-tube refer to a coilovers internals. It can get quite confusing if we went into a lot of detail, so we will keep it surface level and provide useful information for your purchasing decision.
Mono, or one, tube coilovers contain one chamber, or cylinder, that houses hydraulic gas and hydraulic fluid. These substances will never mix which leads to a more precise and stiff suspension. These are best suited for high-performance vehicles and track vehicles. Because of the technology used in the shock design, these tend to be more expensive to produce. Therefore, are more expensive for the end-consumer.
Twin, or two, tube coilovers contain two chambers, or cylinders, that houses hydraulic fluid and hydraulic gas individually. Unlike monotube coilovers, these substances can mix. When they do mix, it causes a softer, less precise suspension. It may sound like this is a bad thing, but it is actually beneficial for daily driver kits. These tend to be less expensive to produce and buy.
Coilover Spring Rates
Springs are one of the most important components of a vehicle’s suspension. They regulate a vehicle’s bounce and its ability to absorb bumps. Spring rates specifically relate to the amount of weight it takes to compress a spring by 1 inch. Depending on where you are located, spring rates can be measured by lb/in or KG/mm. A higher spring rate, for example, 300lb/in, will provide a stiffer ride. A lower spring rate, for example, 205lb/in, will provide a softer, more comfortable suspension. There is also “progressive spring rates”, which means the spring rates increase as the coil compresses from unloading.
Lastly, one of the most important considerations is dampening. Dampening refers to the control of compression and rebound of the springs. Most high-performance street cars and tracks cars need to be able to adjust ride height and dampening to be able to hit corners at speed. Dampening adjustability refers to the ability to customize the dampening forces in the coilover. This means that the driver gets to customize their driving experience, whether it be stiffer or softer. Not all coilover kits have adjustable dampening, there is also fixed dampening. Fixed dampening means that the driver can not customize the dampening forces and it is optimally set by the aftermarket company.
Coilovers vs. Lowering Springs
When it comes to lowering a vehicle, there are tons of options out there: coilovers, lowering springs, air suspension, and more. It seems like it is a hot topic between enthusiasts, so we will explain our view. First off, we see nothing wrong with any of the listed options above, it goes back to vehicle goals. Lowering springs tend to be cheaper and are best for drivers looking for stance and lowering the center of gravity. Coilovers tend to be more expensive, but provide more value. Such as dampening adjustability, ride height adjustability, refreshed shocks, and more. Bags also provide driver customization and tend to provide more comfort. Needless to say, lowering springs, coilovers, and air suspension all have there own pros and cons.
Our advice is if you’re on the fence between lowering springs and coilovers, save up your money a little longer to get some coilovers. As mentioned above, coilovers will provide more value and the biggest bang-for-your buck.
Audi A3 Coilover Benefits
- Ride height adjustability/Lowers center of gravity
- Improved handling
- Dampening adjustability
- More comfortable or more precise driving experience
Best A3 Coilovers
When it comes to the “best” coilovers on the market for the A3, we feel this is rather subjective because it all goes back to vehicle goals. Therefore, we have supplied our and enthusiasts favorites below for any driver. Whether it be stance, street, or track, you’ll be able to find something that suits your vehicle needs and wants. Before ordering anything, please make sure the setups below fit your specific 8P or 8V A3 drivetrain.
1) Raceland A3 8P & A3 8V Coilovers
Raceland coilovers will always be our top choice because they easily provide the biggest bang-for-your-buck coilover setup. Coming in at $439, Raceland gets a bad rep because of the low price. Many think that Raceland doesn’t provide high-quality setups because of the price, but this notion is far wrong. Raceland eliminates the middleman when it comes to distribution, which is why they are as inexpensive as they are. Instead of hiking up their margins, they pass the savings to their customers. If you are planning on daily driving your lowered A3, Raceland coilovers are the way to go.
The reason we like them so much is that they provide three different coilover setups that fulfill many different driving conditions for the A3 8P: Classic, Ultimo, and Primo. These twin-tube coilovers allow for a 1-4″ ride height adjustability, dampening adjustability, progressive spring rates, anti-corrosion material, and more. On top of high-quality setups, Raceland also offers a lifetime warranty, a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, and excellent customer service.
Driver: Stance or Street
Raceland Audi A3 8P Classic Coilovers
Ultimo Raceland Audi A3 8P Coilovers (Lowering 2-4″)
Primo Raceland Audi A3 8P Coilovers (Lowering 2-4″)
2) Bilstein A3 Coilovers
If you are looking for a high-performance street or track setup, you can never go wrong with Bilstein’s. Although they may be on the expensive side for coilovers, Bilstein is very well known for producing tried and true, high-quality coilover kits. These monotube gas shocks provide a 1-2″ ride height adjustability, fixed dampening, progressive spring rates, anti-corrosion material, and more. We tend to have them on many of our top 3 coilover kits for good reason.
Driver: Street or Track
Bilstein B14 PSS A3 8P Coilovers: $1,035 + Free Shipping
3) BC Racing A3 Coilovers
BC Racing is another well known aftermarket brand known for building high-quality street and track kits. These monotube coilovers provide a 2-3″ ride height adjustability, 30 levels of dampening adjustability, performance spring rates, and more. We have to preface for the sedan models, the A3 8V kit fits A3’s with 54.5mm front strut. It is especially important to figure out if your A3 suits this criteria or else these will not fit. Like Bilstein, BC Racing tends to be on a lot of our top 3 lists as well because of enthusiast reviews.
Driver: Street or Track
Price: $1,195 + Free Shipping
BR Series A3 8P Coilovers
Audi A3 Coilovers Conclusion
To conclude this post, we hope we have provided some valuable information to assist you in your coilover purchasing journey. We always advise to do more research to ensure you are making the right decision because typically coilovers are not cheap. In short, if you are looking for a budget-conscious biggest bang-for-your-buck coilover option, you can’t go wrong with Raceland. If you are needing a high-performance or track setup, our favorite is Bilstein. Let us know in the comments below which coilovers you are currently running or are planning to run to assist future readers.
Also, if you would like to read more Audi A3 content, here is an article on “The 7 Most Common Audi A3 Engine Problems.”