Audi’s A3 basically invented the finest hatch segment back in the 1990s, but now it’s been linked by a host of opponents from BMW, Mercedes and Volvo. Gratefully for Audi, the newest generation is still one of the top of the breed, and a facelift in 2016 merely added to that. The Audi A3 sits right above the A1 supermini in the firm’s widespread range, and remains a magnificent sales success. With an exclusive (if understated) exterior, a well-crafted interior and the up-to-date safety and proficiency technology, the A3 is the car to beat in its whole class.
The A3 is created on the progressive MQB platform used expansively within the VW Group, but Audi has regulated the chassis specifically to supply a sportier feel than any other hatchback in the family.
Though, it yet can’t match the level of driving engagement and composure proposed by the best cars in the class – specifically the sharp and involving BMW 1 Series.
Even so, the range of engine is sturdy and extensive. Buyers can opt for all from a tiny three-cylinder 1.0-litre TFSI to the range-topping S3 and forthcoming five-cylinder RS 3 Saloon. There’s an elegant three-door, five-door Sportback and Saloon, as well as a comfy four-seat A3 Convertible. With so much select on offer, there should be an Audi A3 to suit anyone’s requirements.
All A3s acquire the option of a 1.6-Litre TDI diesel engine, delivering 108bhp, which can also be available along with all-wheel drive on the A3 Sportback and Saloon. The 2.0 TDI marks either 148bhp or 181bhp and is obtainable across the range. A six-speed manual (non-automatic) gearbox is standard on nearly all engines, along with an S-tronic dual-clutch automatic accessible as an option. The auto is a seven-speed set-up on the 1.0 TFSI, 1.4 TFSI, 2.0 TFSI and 1.6 TDI and on the RS3 – where it’s the only gearbox offered – while the six-speed S-tronic is accessible on the 2.0 TDI and S3. The six-speed auto is the only possibility on the S3 Cabriolet. Most of the A3s are front-wheel drive, but Audi’s characteristic
Quattro part-time four-wheel drive system can be stated on some Sport models upwards, generally linked to an S tronic gearbox. The odd A3s out here are the smart 1.6 TDI quattro and the 148bhp 2.0 TDI quattro – both manuals.
The A3 is an extraordinarily safe car, having notched the maximum five stars in Euro NCAP’s crash tests. Of specific note is its result of 95 per cent in the adult occupant protection sort. Audi has stocked the A3 along with impressive levels of big-car security kit, too. These involve optional radar-controlled cruise control that retains a set distance to the car in front, hill-hold assist, lane-keep assist and a pre-sense system to prepare the car in the occurrence of an accident. Another optional admirable safety feature is a self-park system that will assist you get into a tight parking space.
The A3 also put in an outclass performance in the Auto Express Driver Power 2016 survey, coming 47th out of 150 cars, along with a high score for build excellence in particular.