THE A3 IS A COMPACT PREMIUM FAMILY CAR, WHICH IS AVAILABLE AS BOTH A FIVE-DOOR HATCHBACK AND FOUR-DOOR SALOON
VALUE FOR MONEY
For premium manufacturers – including Audi, BMW, and Mercedes – it’s often their smallest cars that are the most popular. They offer a slice of something more upmarket than a run-of-the-mill Ford or Vauxhall but aren’t vastly more expensive – appealing to plenty of buyers.
It’s certainly worked for Audi, with its A1 and A3 having huge success – particularly the latter.
The A3 dates back to 1997, and since then it’s proven to be very popular. Not least in the UK, where 600,000 have been sold, which is quite a large proportion of the five million sold around the world – making it Audi’s best-seller in Britain.
Throughout its generations, it’s been well-regarded for its high-quality interior, classy image and ideal family car properties.
LOOKS AND IMAGE
Even after eight years in production, the third-generation A3 remained a hugely capable car, and still had one of the best interiors in the business. And it’s something Audi is keen to make sure continues with this new car, which sees big changes being made on the technology front.
It’s a pretty digitalized cabin in the new A3 – headed up by a standard-fit 10.1-inch touchscreen and 10.25-inch digital dials. This new model also adopts Audi’s latest styling changes – including a larger Singleframe grille, as well as new LED lighting, with fancy matrix LED headlights that can filter light around traffic being available for the first time on the A3.
Another change being made is the introduction of mild-hybrid technology – something that helps to give the car increased responsiveness and efficiency. More on that later. It’s also worth noting that the new A3 is no longer available as a three-door rather – rather you have it as a popular five-door Sportback or a sleek four-door saloon.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
The A1 supermini has always just been a bit too small to work as a family car, so the A3 is a much better choice if you’re wanting something as a small family car.
The A3’s cabin isn’t class-leading when it comes to the spaciousness, but if you’re after a compact car and don’t require seven-seater levels of the room, it’s a worthy choice. Rear seat space is on par with what’s expected for cars of this class, with all but the tallest adults likely to be able to find enough room – providing the driver or front-seat passenger doesn’t have their seat too far back. The new model is ever so slightly bigger than before, too, which is handy if you’re upgrading from a previous generation of A3.
The 380-litre boot is exactly the same as that in the BMW 1 Series and Volkswagen Golf – increasing to 1,200 liters with the rear seats folded.
The new A3 is yet to be tested by Euro NCAP, but it’s expected to get a five-star rating when it does – just like the Volkswagen Golf did. The crash avoidance assists fitted as standard can both brake and help to steer the car, while lane departure warning is fitted, too.
The entry-level engine is a 108bhp 1.0-liter turbocharged petrol (badged 30 TFSI), which comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Despite not being the best match for the A3, it can still manage the 0-60mph sprint in a respectable 10.4 seconds. It’s mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The other petrol engine is a 148bhp 1.5-liter unit (badged 35 TFSI), which can reach 60mph in 8.2 seconds. You can choose it with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed S Tronic automatic gearbox. If you go for the latter, it also comes with the aforementioned mild-hybrid system.
On the diesel front, a new 114bhp 2.0-liter engine (30 TDI) replaces the 1.6-liter variant found in its predecessor. While not brimming with power, it can still power the A3 from 0-60mph in under 10 seconds. It comes mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
A more powerful 148bhp 2.0-liter diesel unit is available, which just comes with a seven-speed S Tronic automatic gearbox. It achieves the same 0-60mph time of 8.2 seconds as the petrol engine with the same power.
A plug-in hybrid version is also on the way, while hotter ‘S’ and ‘RS’ versions will follow in due course.
Regardless of which engine you choose with the A3, you can expect low running costs. But currently, it’s the 114bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine that’s the most efficient. With this, Audi claims an impressive fuel economy figure of 65.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 112g/km.
Even the thirstiest option (the 148bhp 1.5-liter petrol) still promises 45.6mpg, with CO2 emissions of 142g/km. Choose the mild-hybrid automatic model for marginal efficiency gains here – it’ll return up to 48.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 132g/km.
When the plug-in hybrid joins, that’ll be the cleanest option while also increasing its appeal to company car users as well.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
FIVE TRIM LEVELS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE A3 – TECHNIK, SPORT, S LINE, EDITION 1, AND THE TOP-SPEC VORSPRUNG. EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS AND PRICING ARE AS FOLLOWS.
Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and air conditioning. However, it also comes with a 10.1-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto and a three-year subscription to a host of connected services, as well as a 10.25-inch digital cockpit. It also comes with cruise control, rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning.
Priced from £23,300
Popular S line models come with larger 18-inch alloy wheels, an S line body kit and upgraded LED lights, which at the rear feature scrolling indicators. It also comes with LED interior lighting, privacy glass, sports suspension and stainless-steel pedals.
Priced from £26,640
This adds larger 17-inch alloy wheels, configurable drive modes, and additional silver and chrome styling. You also get half leather seats, dual-zone climate control, and electrically folding and auto-dimming mirrors.
Priced from £24,700
Audi is also launching a special ‘Edition 1’ launch model. This features large 19-inch alloy wheels, clever Matrix LED headlights, and a black styling pack. It also comes with electrically adjustable and heated front seats with memory front seats, Alcantara and leather upholstery, and a larger 12.3-inch digital cockpit.
Priced from £31,455
At the top of the line-up, the Vorsprung comes with revised 19-inch alloy wheels, an electric tailgate, panoramic sunroof, and Nappa leather upholstery. You also get keyless entry and start, carbon interior inserts, wireless phone charging, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. This trim also adds a host of safety kit – including a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, traffic sign recognition, and self-parking functionality.
Priced from £40,330
Available as a five-door hatchback and saloon
Audi’s most popular car in the UK
Lots of standard kit
Prices start from £23,300…
which is exactly the same as the Volkswagen Golf
Top-spec versions are far too expensive
BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class are key rivals
More enjoyable to drive than ever before
A fantastic small premium family car
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