Audi A3 Review

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Audi is a brand synonymous for motoring luxury, but even it recognises that its biggest sales come from more compact entry-level models.

The A3 is the manufacturer’s answer to a sizeable hatchback which is affordable to run and is well-equipped from the off. There are only three trim levels available, which straight away indicates how you won’t need to jump through hoops in order to get the three-hooped premium badge.

“The A3 is a classy all-rounder for professionals and small families. Audi has simplified motoring and packaged it in atypical luxury.”

Cameron Hale, Moneyshake Car Reviewer


You won’t find it difficult to get comfortable in the Audi A3. For starters, there’s plenty of steering wheel and seating adjustment, both for height and reach. Even the backrest angle, headrest and belt height can be set to your preferred position.

Unfortunately, the option of extra lumbar support is an extra across the range. However, mid- to top-spec Sport and S line models have padded sport seats which make long-distance travelling slightly comfier. That’s only because of thicker side bolsters though which seem to grip your body better.

One big bonus of the A3’s interior across the entire range is the scanty dashboard, which allows for great visibility out the front of the car. Besides from a 10.1″ colour touchscreen neatly nestled into the dashboard, there’s just a cluster of physical buttons for air conditioning and seat heating. The rest of the dash is reserved for a clean, polished surface and a decently-sized glovebox where the front passenger sits.

Audi has even managed to make the digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel subtle. This is despite it being larger (10.25″) than the main infotainment touchscreen on top of the dashboard.

Known as the “virtual cockpit”, you’ll be able to see much more than just your speed and performance information. On top of this, you’ll also get to display your satnav directions, radio/music titles and your Audi connect internet services.

Infotainment and tech

We touched a little on the Audi A3’s media tech capabilities, but there’s way more standard features that complete the driving experience.

There are six advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) on Technik models.

  1. Cruise control – this works at speeds between 13-155mph.
  2. Rear parking sensors – ultrasonic sensors in the bumper are engaged when you select reverse gear.
  3. Hill-hold assist – the car is held permanently on uphill and downhill gradients to prevent stalling.
  4. Pre sense front – radars scan the road ahead and provide the driver with acoustic and visual warnings of potential hazards (stationary/moving vehicles ahead etc.) before applying the brakes if there’s no reaction.
  5. Collision avoidance assistant – the car can automatically steer to avoid an accident in an evasive situation. At slow speeds it can also apply the brakes to avoid colliding with an oncoming vehicle.
  6. Lane departure warning – helps avoid unintentional lane leaving by correcting steering if there’s been no indication but the car senses it is leaving its lane.

The latest A3 received the five-star Euro NCAP safety rating for its various onboard perks. Even the basics are done well, with plenty of protection from front side airbags, a head airbag system electronic stability control and tyre pressure monitoring.

On top of this, the A3 also includes a first aid kit with warning triangle and two high vis vests, plus automatic light and rain sensors. These last two features are particularly handy on a typically British rainy day and visibility is poor.

On the road

There’s a single petrol and diesel engine to choose from for the A3, both of which put out 150bhp. They’re also turbocharged, so the delivery of them horsepowers is pretty pronto, especially on the smaller 1.5-litre petrol unit.

The diesel option is slightly bigger (2.0 litres) but is still smooth at higher speeds and punchy when accelerating through the gears. It’s also the best for keeping running costs down too, with a combined fuel economy of more than 50mpg.

If you want a car with a sportier feel, then the BMW 1 Series with rear-wheel drive is probably a better alternative. Along with a more compact interior, the 1 Series is likely to make for a more “fun drive”. However, top-spec S line models swap out the standard suspension for one with more dynamic spring/damper adjustment which lowers the car by 15mm for better contact with the road and more intuitive handling.

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