Audi A3 Saloon 2.0

TDI Sport

Audi A3 Saloon, rear
Audi A3 Saloon, front, action
Audi A3 Saloon, front
Audi A3 Saloon, side
Audi A3 Saloon, interior
Audi A3 Saloon, rear seats
Audi A3 Saloon, boot
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, rear
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, front
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, action
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, interior
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, boot

AUDI has to be congratulated on the stylish body options in its range which now includes a traditional saloon version of its popular A3.

The fact is that not everyone wants a hatchback, or in Audi speak a Sportback and the saloon will be welcome news for those who require a more traditional premium approach to everyday driving.

The A3 saloon is the first ever A3 three-box variant and is a very good looker.

Priced from £24,275 on the road, the saloon looks bigger than it really is and offers a high degree of space and luggage capacity within a modest footprint.

The exercise is aimed at carving a large slice of the compact saloon market which is a massive world sector.

The range includes two TFSI petrol engines and a TDI at launch - 1.4 TFSI 140ps with Cylinder-on-Demand (CoD) technology, 1.8 TFSI 180ps and 2.0 TDI 150ps.

There is a choice of either Sport or S line trim levels with a total of three engines - two petrol units and one TDI.

Longer than the five-door A3 Sportback by just over 14 centimetres, wider by 11 millimetres and nine millimetres lower, the new compact four-door offers similarly ample passenger accommodation, complemented by 425 litres of luggage space with the rear seats in place - 45 litres more than its five-door counterpart.

The Sport version sits low on its 17-inch alloy wheels thanks to sports suspension, but can also be specified at no extra cost with more comfort-oriented standard suspension.

I drove the 2.0 TDI version and it was certainly lively. Full marks to the usual quality of the Audi six-speed gearbox and the clarity of instruments.

One thing I did notice which puzzled me was the decision to place the engine stop and start button on the passenger side of the transmission tunnel. It seemed vulnerable to accidental pressing and adventures by prying fingers.

But on a left hand drive version it would be on the driver's side and my view is that the dash on the driver's side is the best place for such things.

On the road this car demonstrates all the rail riding qualities of a modern Audi. It is the modern equivalent of the old Audi 80 which was such a hit in the UK.

Features included Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system, dual-zone climate control, the MMI radio incorporating an 11 millimetre-thin powered folding screen and DAB digital radio, preparation for SD card navigation, Audi Music Interface iPod connection, a Driver Information System and the Bluetooth mobile phone interface.

Audi connect - the collective term the brand uses to encompass all the technologies that connects the driver to the car and the Internet - is taken to the next level in the A3.

The system not only delivers now familiar services such as Google Maps, Google Street View, Audi traffic information online and Audi music stream, but also now provides ‘Picturebook Navigation', access to social media services such as Facebook and Twitter, the latest news, flight and train information, nearby refuelling locations graded by price and even a ‘what's on' guide in specific towns and cities via its City Events service.

FAST FACTS

Audi A3 Saloon 2.0 TDI Sport

Price: £24,275

Mechanical: 150ps, 1,968cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 132mph

0-62mph: 8.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 64.2

Insurance Group:21 

C02 emissions: 107g/km

Bik rating: 16%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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