This summer Audi unveiled their updated Audi A3. Design changes included some alterations to both the front and rear. The interior got some very exciting upgrades too. This week we have the A3 S-Line, and we can’t help but be impressed by what’s on offer.
The Audi A3 has always demanded respect. Without wanting to bow to the stereotype, it is a bit like a luxury Golf, but once you get those four rings to the front, you know you’re getting precision. In the past I would’ve described Audi’s interiors as being borderline boring. Take the Q3 for example, while it’s very solid, it was just lacking a bit of pizzazz. The new A3 however is missing nothing – provided you’re willing to cough up nearly €2,500 for the tech package. If I had the money though, I would certainly opt-in for it. With this you get your hands on a full-blown, fully-loaded, Audi Virtual Cockpit.
I’ve seen the Virtual Cockpit before in the TT, and it’s about as brilliant a system as your likely to find in today’s motor marketplace. The TFT display offers a 12.3” screen where you can follow a 3D SATNAV, control your infotainment, use your phone and much more. Presentation really is key. Another nice touch is the foldaway centre console screen – for passenger enjoyment. Our test model allows us to use Apple CarPlay – which is always bonus. Another plus for the Virtual Cockpit is the pristineness is which everything is laid out. There are a minimal number of buttons and the ones that are there are easy to use.
Apart from a good set-up in the infotainment, the front area is a comfortable place in which to sit. Our S-Line seats offered excellent back support. Where the interior is lacking is in the rear and in the boot. While this Sportback looks like an estate, it doesn’t feel like one inside. Sitting in my usual position in the front I found that leg room behind my seat was lacking and the boot’s offering could and should be bigger. It’s not drastic, but it could be improved on.
What's changed outside of the vehicle is that the A3 has received newly designed lower bumpers - these now house sharper looking air intakes and a more defined light signature to the front. The rear, in my view, looks more like the Q range than ever before. It all looks good.
Under the bonnet of our test model was a 1.4 litre TFSI engine with 150hp. This car feels fast and on-paper we’re told that it’ll take you from 0-100km/h in just 8.2 seconds. Our seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox went through the gears seamlessly and when the foot is put down the engine makes only the good noises that you want to hear. Our model didn’t come with the S-Line suspension and therefore the ride was not too firm either when going over bumps.
I’m yet to drive their 1.0 3-cylinder TFSI engine, and while reports are good so far on this engine, I’d still fear that it might be lacking in power – I’ll get back to you on that one.
Starting price for the new updated Audi A3 Sportback is €27,810. Our fully loaded model comes in at over €44,882. With that you get the expensive, but wonderful, Audi Virtual Cockpit and all of the fancy S-Line equipment. Our test model also had an excellent adaptive cruise control system, which brings you to a complete stop and it’ll take off too, provided it hasn’t been stationary for more than a couple of seconds. The adaptive cruise control is not cheap though, at €1,066.
On-paper we are told that our test car returns a fuel economy of 5.0l/100km (47mpg). We returned an average of 8.0l/100km – it has to be admitted that we were pushing the vehicle a bit. Annual road tax for this car is €200.
Visually, the updates on the Audi A3 may not be massive, but when you step into one you will be impressed by what you see. The downside of course is the price you’ll pay for that tech package.
For: The Audi Virtual Cockpit is visually stunning.
Against: Could do with more rear legroom and boot space.