The Audi A3 has been stated as “one of the best small family cars, with a class-leading cabin and top-notch refinement” by Mumsnet. This high quality little hatchback has improved over the years has become a comfortable, stylish and speedy model with a wide range of economical engines.
It may not be as thrilling or fun to drive as it’s BMW equivalent (the BMW 1-series), but this car is extremely practical with lots of space inside and a range of useful features such as Bluetooth connectivity and stop-start technology. All cars come equipped with a boot that can hold anything from a baby buggy to the weekly shop, and enough suspension to make even bumpy rides comfortable.
Available in both 3 and 5 doors, the Audi A3 stands out from other Audis because of its high standard of exterior, which now sports assets like aluminium front wings and bonnets. While the Audi A3 is more expensive than the Volkswagon Golf for example, it is clear that the reason for this is that although changes to the model may not be initially noticeable, they have hugely impacted and benefitted the popularity and running of this line of cars.
Driving and Performance:
The lightweight Audi A3 is the first of its kind to step outside the typical Audi feel, making the drive a lot more enjoyable than perhaps the older A3s. The newest Audi A3, which was launched in 2012, has a hard suspension that allows for tighter steering, better grip and an overall smoother ride.
Arguably this smoothness and control can be matched and topped by other series like the BMW 1-series, and the prioritising of stability over agility means that handling the Audi A3 is far less exciting. While the newer models of the Audi A3 can pick up some decent speed (0-62mph in 4.8 seconds), users may feel somewhat detached from the experience compared to driving other cars.
However, the three suspension settings (SE, lower Sport and lower-still S line) of the Audi A3 provide good balance, accurate direction change and a generally more comfortable drive than earlier models.
The Audi A3 also comes with the added bonus of being particularly quiet, no matter which type of engine you choose, allowing plenty of acceleration and fuel economy. This, along with the steering, gearshift and pedals of this car are all nicely weighted, making it extremely easy and enjoyable to drive in a variety of terrains.
MPG, Running costs & emissions:
The newer models of the Audi A3 are more expensive than a Volkswagon Golf or a SEAT for example, but there’s a reason for this. The general improvements to the Audi A3 such as its lightweight body mean that CO2 emissions and fuel economy are kept low.
While both diesel and petrol engines are available, the Audi A3 diesel engine is by far the best choice economically. The 2.0-litre TDI returns a combined cycle of 68.9 mpg and has CO2 emissions of only 106g/km, with the smaller 1.6-litre engine returning an even more impressive 99g/km CO2 emissions and economy of 74.3mpg.
The Audi A3 may cost more initially than its competitors but when you factor in fuel, insurance and servicing costs, it is certainly a very frugal car to run that can be relied on to maintain its value and get a good second-hand sale later down the line.
The Audi A3 has been engineered to adopt Volkswagon’s strong but lightweight, flexible part aluminium on its exterior, giving it a sleek finish in keeping with Audi brand. To Audi buyers with little knowledge or experience of the brand, the A3 may not particularly stand out from its predecessors but it is still undeniably stylish.
As with all Audi models, the A3 boasts an impressive interior too. The dashboard is made up of a Multi Media Interface (MMI) that allows control of most major functions through a small selection of buttons a central control dial. The tastefulness and simplicity of the fittings inside are complimented by the amount of space there is for both driver and passengers. The Audi A3 accommodates occupants of all sizes, providing the driver with a very comfortable driving position and an easy drive.
Not only this, the Audi A3 is now available in both a 3 door and 5 door model, with the same air of class featured in both. In short, the Audi A3 comes equipped with a range of practical features and capabilities that rival it competitors and make it an excellent choice of car.
Because of the 80kg of decreased weight to the Audi A3, the crash safety of this model has been greatly improved. It comes with 7 airbags (front, side and curtain) as well as standard stability control and scored an impressive 5 stars in its Euro NCAP crash tests and 95% in adult occupant protection. These scores topped rivals including the BMW 1-series, Mercedes A-class and VW Golf.
The Audi A3 possesses safety systems like optional radar-controlled cruise control, lane keep assist, hill hold assist and optional pre-sense system that helps prepare the car in an accident. Unfortunately the latter incurs an extra cost whereas it is a standard feature in most Golfs, but this automatic emergency braking system is arguably extremely important and worth investing in.
The Audi A3 is both safe and reliable and a good choice for all buyers, particularly families.