The Audi A3 takes the premium fight to the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class but in terms of volume, the A3 remains the sales success in the segment. The current generation of A3 was updated during 2016.
The facelifted Audi A3 is available to the Irish market with a choice of three engines with various outputs. First up is the 1.6 litre TDI. This offers 110 hp and a top speed of 200km/h. It will bring you from 0-100km/h in 10.5 seconds. For a bit more oomph in your diesel you can opt for the 2.0 litre TDI which is available with 150 hp. This will go from 0-100km/h in just 8.5 seconds. The automatic with the same engine does that speed in 8.2 seconds. Petrol offerings include a 3-cylinder 1.0 litre engine with 115 hp and a 1.4 litre TFSI engine that goes from 0-100km/h in 8.1 seconds.
The A3 is based on Volkswagen Groups very clever MQB platform which also underpins the Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia. The A3’s chassis however has been slightly tweaked to give it a sportier feel. With the S-Line models, you can opt for a stiffer suspension setup but unless you really want it, we would advise the standard for maximum available comfort. Audi magnetic ride is available on the Sport, S-line and S3 models and top of the range 362bhp RS3. The A3 may not be the most exciting drive but it is a very well refined one.
This third generation A3 has been around since 2012 and is still a dynamic looking package from the outside with a large front grille and slung back headlights being its defining feature. Inside is a very pleasant place with an extensive use of high quality materials complete featuring a streamlined dashboard design. The 7 inch LCD infotainment system raises from the top of the centre console on turning the ignition. This system can be controlled via the multi-function steering wheel and a clever touch pad toggle located between the driver and passenger seat. It looks and feels like a premium hatchback. If you have the extra money, we recommend you go for the Audi Virtual Cockpit with the excellent TFT display.
There is no doubting the standard of engineering and quality of materials that make up the Audi A3. With a tried and tested engine line-up that comes from within the Volkswagen range, the engines are as durable as the build quality of this German marque. The entry level SE specification gets 16 inch alloys, start/stop technology, air-conditioning and Bluetooth as standard with higher models offering significant levels of luxury as you move upward.
The A3 is a safe car having scored a 5 star NCAP safety rating with a score of 95% in the adult occupant category. There are some impressive safety feature with many being options such as radar controlled cruise control, lane assist, hill hold and a pre-sense system which can indicate and prepare the car for a crash before it happens. Perhaps more a novelty than safety feature, it can also park itself if you’re not feeling up taking on a tight space yourself.
The A3 may be the same size as the model that proceeded but thanks to the clever MQB platform on which it sits, more space in the cabin has been created. Space for front seat passengers is excellent, for adult passengers in the rear, the A3 Sportback or Saloon models offer more legroom and better access thanks to extra doors. Boot space is a healthy 365 litre which can be increased to 1100 litres with the rear seats folded. The A3 saloon offers the biggest boot of all A3 models with a 425 litre capacity. That’s 25 litres more than its Sportback sibling.