Audi A3 Saloon 1.4

TFSI S tronic -

First Drive

Audi A3 saloon, 2016, front, action
Audi A3 saloon, 2016, side, action
Audi A3 saloon, 2016, rear, action
Audi A3 saloon, 2016, interior
Audi A3 saloon, 2016, front seats
Audi A3 saloon, 2016, rear seats
Audi A3 saloon, 2016, boot

THE cornerstone of the Audi range is being revamped with every model in the A3 line up getting a mid-life makeover.

A new-look nose, a three pot engine and additional technology is being introduced to spruce up the third generation of Audi's top seller.

Prices are up by around £1,000 with the new entry level A3 featuring a 1.0-litre three cylinder TFSI engine to replace the previous 1.2-litre model and priced from £19,365.

The revisions see changes across the board and bring the three-door A3 hatch, the five-door Sportback, cabriolet and the A3 saloon bang up to date.

The crisp new look, which includes a wider grille and front apron make the car appear much more mature - an effect most noticeable on the A3 saloon which get all the updates apart from the new 1.0-litre engine.

Instead it is sticking with Audi's tried and test power plants kicking off with a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine developing 150ps.

It comes with Audi's fuel-saving cylinder on demand technology which cuts out two of the four cylinders under low loads and gives the saloon a theoretical fuel return of 58.9mpg with emissions of 112g/km.

The so-called COD system works unobtrusively and effectively and even when paired to the seven-speed S tronic auto box it averaged a credible 46 miles to the gallon.

For a medium-sized saloon the ride is smooth and accommodating although the bigger the wheels the more road rumble will be noticeable.

Power from the 1.4-litre engine is more than adequate - 0 to 60 takes 8.2 seconds with a maximum just shy of 140mph - but the cost of the 1.4-litre A3 saloon we sampled was not far short of £35,500 thanks to a load of extras adding the best part of £8,000 to the £27,250 list price.

The added goodies included Audi's virtual cockpit instrument panel which transforms the interiors of the latest A3s by replacing the traditional dials with a digital display that can be configured to show anything from a full sat nav map to a more conventional array of gauges and warning lights.

Other new kit includes a wireless phone charging pad and safety aids such as automatic emergency braking, alerts to warn of crossing traffic when reversing and full connectivity to mesh a smartphone's functions into the car's own systems.

There are no changes to the car's dimensions which already make the A3 saloon a comfortable four seater - five onboard can be a pinch in the rear - with boot space of 425 litres.

It may not be as well proportioned as Audi's very accomplished new A4 but in the smaller saloon sector this version of the A3 remains premium property.


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