Sporting S line a

strong performer

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

WITH the dangerous brightness of many LED car headlights these days and the over-wide spread of light even when they're properly adjusted, I recently found the amount of glare when driving at night was sometimes getting to me.

I started hunting for some clear polarised glasses, which I knew would reduce the glare by cutting down horizontal reflections, but to my astonishment, found there were none available.

However, I did find some yellow polarised night driving glasses and have found them to be excellent at reducing the problem even on long night journeys.

I wear glasses every day, so I bought a cheap pair of clipovers just to check them out. They have been so good that I'll buy a quality pair when I eventually lose them - as I invariably do.

Heading out for a concert the other night in Audi's excellent A3 saloon, I had the clipovers on and marvelled again at how they reduced the glare on busy city roads and dual carriageways.

The A3 is a fantastic driver's car, with a huge range of abilities that make it as good as many-a hot hatch when it comes to handling.

The steering is sharp and precise and the beautifully tuned suspension - as usual with Audi of course - allows perfect placing of the car on the road.

Grip is phenomenal - even on wet roads - helping give it tremendously sticky road holding and huge cornering safety.

It revels in a series of bends on a country road and seems to know no limits on dry roads in the sunshine, giving the driver tremendous confidence in its abilities and helping to make it hugely enjoyable to drive.

The latest 1.5-litre petrol turbo engine in the A3 I drove was mated to a seven-speed version of Audi's S tronic automatic gearbox, which the rest of the VW Group call DSG and which is one of the best automatics in the world.

The power unit is smooth as silk from tickover to the red line and delivers excellent acceleration from virtually any speed, making swift safe progress the norm.

Holding it in sixthgear, I found there was so much pulling power at low revs that it delivered very good urge.

And in full automatic mode, it kicks down easily and quickly without having to floor the accelerator to give much more.

Pressing on across country, the gearbox seamlessly and instantly changed up and down through the ratios just when I would have done it myself, because it is set up to best suit driving style at all times.

As well as Drive it also has Sport and Manual settings. Sport makes response more immediate and usually keeps the gearbox in a higher gear to help that. In Manual sequential gearchanges can be made either using the gear selector or by + and - paddles behind the steering wheel.

But, as I have said before, this gearbox is so good in either of its automatic modes that few drivers will ever use the manual. Why buy the dog and bark yourself?

The only downsides I found were the very large wheels and ultra low profile tyres, which really spoiled the ride quality at slower speeds and limited rear head and legroom.

The ride was much better at speed but in town the car felt every tiny ripple and imperfection and the bump-thump over larger blemishes was awful.

These wheels and tyres might look the bees knees to some people but, believe me, smaller alloys and larger profile tyres allow the corners to be taken just as fast and leave occupants much more comfortable.

There are loads of airbags and other safety kit in S line spec includes lane keeping assist, park assist and a pre-sense system that will take preventative action should the car detect an imminent collision.

Also included are sat nav, rear parking sensors, cruise control, sports seats, traction control, part leather upholstery, climate control and an alarm.

FAST FACTS

Price: £30,295

Mechanical: 150bhp, 1,498cc, 4 cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels via 7 speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:139mph

0-62mph:8.1 seconds

Combined MPG:44.1

Insurance Group:26

C02 emissions: 118g/km

Bik rating:27%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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