A prepared meal from Marks & Spencer. You and I know that the Audi A3 shares all its mechanics not only with Volkswagen’s Golf Mk8, but also with the latest Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon. But that’s not the image you project to the world, is it? Drive an A3 and you’ll be a business-class entrepreneur in a hurry. You probably use words like “ideation” and talk about “ripe fruit” in your Zoom meetings.
Has Audi changed the recipe?
It’s been a huge success for Audi, particularly here in image-obsessed UK, so the ingredients haven’t changed much for the latest A3. Same basic platform as the last A3 (which was quietly quite excellent, if a bit heavy to drive), the usual fleet of turbocharged four-cylinder engines and either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, tagged as ‘S-tronic’.
The new A3 adds 48-volt mild hybrid power to the mix, on top of the 35 TFSI S-tronic. Most versions are front-wheel drive, but quattro all-wheel drive is available for more powerful versions. If you buy an A3 over 148bhp, you also get an independent rear suspension rather than a Lidl-spec torsion beam, in an effort to give the mild-mannered A3 some driveability. A plug-in hybrid power supply is also available, identified as TFSI e.
Is there still a three-door model?
The three-door A3 is no more; while beautiful, it just wasn’t practical enough in a crossover world to make a comeback, so the A3 is now a single five-door ‘Sportback’ sedan. It is 3 cm longer and 2 cm wider than the previous version, but the wheelbase has remained the same.
The extra length is used to house the A3’s beehive of driver-assist devices, behind that grille that’s, you guessed it, taller and 13 percent more “Outtamyway, yes?” than before Ditto for the bolder LED running lights, and Audi’s metal presses shone with their bolder door creases. On the S line in particular, it doesn’t appear to have any front bodywork. What is not a technical light is a plastic mesh.
How much is it?
Prices start at £23,475 for a base Technik model. Even that features full LED lights and a 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen in the middle of the dash. All A3s also get Audi’s ‘Virtual Cockpit’ instrument display: 10.25-inches as standard, but there’s 12-inches on the list of optional packages.
We tested a spec from the heart of the UK for this review: a manual A3 Sportback 35 TFSI with S-line trim. Ignore the ridiculous Audi badges: we’re talking about a 148bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that goes to the front wheels. At a little extra of £28,000, it is a bit of a coup de poing visant carrément ventre de la Mercedes Classe A et de la BMW Série 1. And as multivalent, pourrait bien être celui qu’il faut to have.
Our choice of the range.
What’s the verdict?
The A3 Sportback is perhaps the most talented posho hatchback on the market today. The BMW 1 Series is a sportier option (but pays for it with harsher driving and more noise on the road), and the Mercedes A-Class lags behind, despite its tech-heavy dashboard. The Audi strikes the perfect balance between seamless family hauling, well-bred refinement, and the ability to feel a bit more peppy in the chassis department than the old A3.
Most buyers will be attracted by the look, the badge, the technological feel and the A3 ticks those boxes too, but underneath is a fundamentally well-designed car, though certainly not as lavishly equipped as last time. .
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Source : topgear.com