The Audi A3 is a market leader in its segment, with one in three cars sold being a Sportback, Cabriolet, or Sedan of some kind. It’s an important car this, as it accounts for 25% of Audi’s annual sales figure, being the single best-selling model for the brand.
Updated for the 2017 model year, the A3 brings its A-game. The front end has been reworked with elements of the new A4 (like those headlights), revised bumpers on both ends, and cool new taillights (a little bit of range-topping R8 for the entry-level A3, it seems). Most of the A3’s revisions take place under the skin, where new engines and transmissions make their debuts.
At the bottom end, there’s the A3 1.0 TFSI Sportback, which comes with a 1.0-litre engine featuring just three cylinders. The littlest engine produces 85kW and 200Nm, while only drinking a rated 4.8l/100km. The base A3 will be in showrooms with a sticker price of $35,900 (excluding ORC).
Next up the line is the 1.4TFSI, also available across all variants. This four-cylinder unit now features Cylinder on Demand (COD), which helps keep fuel consumption to a bare minimum, with a rated fuel consumption figure at just 5.0l/100kms. Despite this, the 110kW/250Nm unit can provide some real punch, propelling the A3 from rest to 100km/h in just 8.2 seconds.
The most powerful engine on offer is the 2.0TFSI. This premium motor pushes out 140kW/320Nm, and only drinks the finest 98RON petrol. It drinks it fairly quickly (well, faster than the other two at least), with rated fuel consumption at 6.1l/100kms. However, with this engine, the A3 completes the century sprint at just 6.2 seconds, a good two seconds faster than the 1.4TFSI. For the faint hearted, this is not.
All three engines share a new seven-speed automatic gearbox though, but in two different configurations. The 1.0TFSI and 1.4TFSI see the auto ‘box in a dry-clutch setup, whereas the 2.0TFSI gains a wet-clutch setup that will allow it to work a front-wheel drive system, or a quattro all-wheel drive system. A six-speed manual is offered as a no-cost option, for the enthusiasts.
The A3 gains a minimalist interior, very similar to that of the B9 A4. The buttons that used to festoon the interior of a modern Audi are now gone, leaving a simple, uncluttered dash design that’s easy on the eye. The MMI navigation pack now comes standard across all variants, as is 3G internet connectivity. Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit is also available as an option across the board, adding even more technical flair to the little Audi.
The A3 retains the three body styles it did before the update, and they all come as standard with things like automatic stop-start, driver attention assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), electronic stability control, ABS, and brake assist. Sedan and Sportback bodies enjoy 7-airbags, while the Cabrio makes do with just 5. Xenon headlamps are now also standard fit on all A3s.
No Audi is complete without a host of options, and the most notable option available is an ‘Assistance’ package. For $1,500, it adds more advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, front collision warning, high beam assist, active lane assist, side assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and hill-hold assist. Definitely befits the package’s name, then.
The interior comes in several trims. 1.0TFSI cars get cloth seats, while 1.4TFSI and 2.0TFSI cars gain a part-cloth, part-leather arrangement. All cars can get full leather interiors, with pricing between $1,350 all the way up to $3,000, depending on the kind of leather selected.
Audi is pushing the value card with the A3, claiming variant-to-variant savings of between $3,000 and $7,300 over the outgoing cars. With impressive spec, amazing tech, and competitive prices, the A3 has never been so compelling.
For more information on Audi’s local range, check out our Showroom.