Audi A3 1.6 TDI Sport review.
For – high quality, great drive, huge range, unsurpassed technology.
Against – anonymous looks, pricey.
Audi has updated the A3 range with added technology and styling enhancements.
You will be forgiven though if you say you can’t tell the difference between the old one and the face-lifted one, but the most obvious change is at the front, where the new A3 has a redesigned grille that is a bit like the bigger A4’s. More angular headlights and thinner LED tail-lights also reflect the bigger sibling. Come to think of it, the A3 could easily be mistaken for a bigger A4 on the road. Once again, Audi has declined to make any big changes in a successful design formula. You can’t blame it, can you?
There are more standard features like Xenon headlights with LED day-time running lights, cruise control, smartphone interface and light and rain sensors. All the new features seem to be about technology and connectivity, with very little concentrating on the driving experience. That’s probably because the thing has always driven and ridden very well anyway.
And the range is difficult to pigeonhole because prices start at £19,365 for a one litre petrol powered version with six speed manual, up to 2.0 litre 148 hp diesel S line automatic version costing almost £39,000. That brings it into competition with the other German premium car makers, but also with the wannabe mass market types with their attempts to move upmarket.
The A3 range starts with SE trim, then moves on to SE technik, Sport and S line. You add £495 to SE Technik, £1,550 to Sport and £2,150 for S line which gives you goodies like LED interior pack, sports suspension, 18 inch wheels, leather mix upholstery and add-ons to tell the world you’ve spent the extra money.
Among new high technology options, you can buy traffic jam assist for the SatNav and a feature which helps you reverse from your driveway into traffic by “peering” around the corner to see if the coast is clear.
A new 113 hp one litre petrol engine has three cylinders. There’s a new 2.0 litre petrol motor too. The Audi virtual cockpit, which first saw the light of day in upmarket versions of the TT sports car, is now available on the A3.
The new A3 comes as a three-door, a Sportback, a Saloon and a Cabriolet. There’s a petrol-electric hybrid and a gas powered version.
Traffic jam assist works with the adaptive cruise control to keep the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and in combination with the automatic gearbox sets the vehicle in motion again after a short stop. In sluggish traffic up to 40 mph, the traffic jam assist even briefly takes over the steering on well-paved roads.
Another new feature is optional emergency assist. This system initiates braking down to a safe stop if despite warnings no steering activity by the driver is detected. For more comfort on long journeys, Audi offers a driver seat with a massage function.
“They all come complete with unbelievable fuel consumption claims, naturally”
The engine lineup for the Audi A3 comprises six EU6 engines – three petrol and three diesels. They all come complete with unbelievable fuel consumption claims, naturally. The new Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid version combines a 1.4 litre 148hp petrol engine with an electric motor generating 75 kW and total power of 204 hp.
Lightweight design has brought the kerb weight of the Audi A3 with the 1.0 litre petrol engine down to just 1,150 kg.
The A3 competes with cars like the BMW 1 Series, Mercedes A class, Volvo V40 and Volkswagen Golf. You won’t go far wrong whatever one you choose. And you don’t have to limit your choice to the upmarket Germans if you want a high-quality small car. There are terrific versions in this price range like the Vauxhall-Opel Astra, Honda Civic, Mazda3, Ford Focus, Renault Megane, Peugeot 308, Citroen C4, Skoda Octavia, and Hyundai i30. As the price of more upmarket versions of the A3 rocket towards £40,000 there might well be a temptation to give the wannabes a chance.
(Audi provided hotel)
|Audi A3 1.6 TDI Sport|
|Engine:||1.6 litre, 4-cylinder diesel|
|Power:||109 hp @ 3,200-4,000 rpm|
|Torque:||250 Nm @ 1,500-3,000|
|Acceleration:||0-62 mph-100 km/h – 10.5 seconds|
|Top Speed:||124 mph-200 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined 70.6 mpg-4.0 l/km|
|Emissions class:||Euro 6|
|Competition:||Mercedes A180d, BMW 116d, Volvo V40 D2, VW Golf and upmarket versions of Vauxhall-Opel Astra, Honda Civic, Mazda3, Ford Focus, Renault Megane, Peugeot 308, Citroen C4, Skoda Octavia, Hyundai i30|
|For:||high quality, great drive, huge range, unsurpassed technology|
|Against:||anonymous looks, pricey|