PROS: Build quality and reliability, the impressive 4 cylinder 16V 2.0 TDI, novelty factor of paddle shift gear change.
CONS: Seems pricey, taller passengers in the rear may feel cramped on longer journeys, rides firmer than you might like on some surfaces.
Inside the cabin the A3 scores high - everything has a quality feel and a somewhat minimalist appearance, with controls both easy to find and easy to use. The quality of materials used only adds to the sense of quality and prestige.
There is plenty of space inside the A3 particularly up front. The foot wells are deep and it offers ample headroom too. In the rear you get good leg room, considering it’s a 3-door hatchback, but taller passengers will find it lacks head-room for them which can make longer journeys uncomfortable.
The 4 cylinder, 16V 2.0 TDI power unit is very impressive providing a comfortable drive with a lot of power under your foot when needed. It can get you from 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds and goes on to 130mph flat out. It also boasts an extremely useful 236Ib-ft of pull and produces 142bhp. It maintains a decent average fuel economy of 57.6 mpg, aided in part by a semi-automatic S-tronic transmission which is designed to merge the advantages of a traditional six-speed manual box and a modern automatic transmission; at the same time focussing on fuel economy. The S-tronic system anticipates gear changes and selects the right gear.
The A3 gives a smooth ride unless you come across a rough surface or maybe a speed bump, which then makes it feel very firm. As the 2.0 TDI S Line comes with 18-inch alloys, low profile tyres and lowered sports suspension; you have to expect a firm drive sometimes. The overall drive is excellent, especially over longer distances, and the car’s handling is extremely good all round.
The A3 is longer, wider and lower giving it a really sporty stance. The entire car has a discreet elegance to it. The S Line model has black roof-lining, rear spoiler, exclusive front and rear styling and S-tronic gearshift paddles mounted on the steering wheel. Standard equipment includes cloth/leather trimmed seats, alloy wheels, stability control, climate control, electric windows and mirrors and CD system with MP3 connectivity.
Also available at extra cost are, metallic paint (£510), cruise control (£220), rear-parking sensors (£305), Bluetooth (£250) and satellite navigation system (£665).
The A3 is a practical hatchback and spacious enough for five adults on a normal length run. It also has an impressive 1,080 litres of space available in the boot with folding the rear seats down.
It’s fitted with an electronic stabilisation system including ABS and EBD. Driver and passenger are protected with airbags both front and side, which are also fitted as normal. The A3 received a rating of 4 for occupants, 3 for children, 1 for pedestrians and an overall rating of 4 for the Euro NCAP crash test.
Audi have the reputation for being among the safest car manufacturers around these days. They have solid build quality no matter which model you go for: the A3 does not disappoint. Build quality normal from the bigger and more expensive models has been handed down to the A3 as well. It has a real aura of quality and is very reliable.
Every A3 has deadlocks, central locking and an alarm fitted as standard.
Priced at £23,970, some say it’s difficult to explain the price difference over the equivalent Golf, but others counter with the fact that an Audi gives you a lot more. The Golf is a good car and VW have many similar characteristics to Audi, but the performance, build quality and reliability of the Golf are not at the same level as the Audi.
Good fuel economy of 57.6mpg, CO2 emissions of 129g/km (VED band D) and insurance in group 24, means that running costs shouldn’t break the bank.
Strong appeal for buyers in the used market due to Audi’s reputation mean good resell values; along with a prestige name, great handling and practicality, it make the A3 a must to consider.
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