Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI S tronic review

A3 Sportback with 2.0 TFSI S tronic 140 kW

A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI S tronic

Damn, but the little A3 hits a sweet spot. Looks, cachet, performance, desirability, quality all neatly intersect like 4 perfect rings to create a gem of a little car.

What’s not to like?

Perhaps two things. The price, once you have added an item or two to the bare bones basic car, and a rather choppy, bumpy ride caused mainly by the very low profile tyres and which Audi says is balanced for sportiness .

Put those two issues behind you and its motoring joy in a small package.

The new Audi A3 is available as a three-door Hatchback, a five-door Sportback, Sedan and as a Cabriolet.
The body is almost perfectly in balance from the redesigned Singleframe grille to the newly contoured rear diffuser. It is really pleasing to the eye.

Audi A3 dash

Inside it is classy and exudes quality. The A3’s dash is functional, uncluttered and simple to use, and yet delivers everything you need and it looks smart.

The main element is the instrument binnacle directly in front of the driver which has a virtual cockpit display adding to the car’s upmarket feel. The display replaces the dials with a digital screen that, in addition to speed and revs, can show everything from fuel economy to satnav maps.

The 7-inch display screen is positioned high in the middle of the dash making it easy to glance at while driving and drops down into dash when not needed. A brilliant solution. The Bluetooth interface works very well, making it oh so easy to couple with your phone and has a rare clarity. The MMI radio, Satnav, vehicle settings, climate control are all managed via the screen either by touch or using the easy to use large round control knob between the seats.

Bi-xenon lights are standard, while LED headlights as well as Matrix LED headlights are also optionally available. Both LED and Matrix LED headlights offer dynamic turn signals which means the lights illuminate to the side which you are turning.


There are three petrol and one diesel engine to choose from and either manual or 7-speed S tronic transmission. I would recommend the Sportback1.4TFSI S tronic at R438 000 as the best buy in the range.
I got a long term average fuel consumption of 8.9L/100km, which is a little more than the 5.9 claimed by Audi and I must add I did not drive the car aggressively.

The A3 Sportback is a driver’s car. It is worth the premium price if you love driving and will reward you with many hours of driving pleasure. If you are more into luxury perhaps the Volvo or baby Merc is a better bet.
The A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI S tronic costs R 525 000 as tested, which included a few extras like a sunroof, S line trim and metallic paint. The standard warranty is 2 years with unlimited mileage and the service plan is the 5 year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan.

Also look at the BMW 1 series, Mercedes A-series, Volvo V40, VW Golf and Subaru WRX.

Prices for the A3 Sportback start at R398 500 for the 1.0T FSI to R646 000 for the S3 Sportback quattro S tronic. The base price of the car we tested, without the extras is R 455 000.

Audi A3 Sportback rear

Audi A3 Sportback 1.8 T FSI S tronic review

Audi-A3-tsi-thumb

Audi A3 Sportback 1.8T FSI Stronic

The A3 is a great little sporty car, with just a bit of extra flair, and style and oompf. It is a joy to drive, with one proviso. The tyres are a very low profile and the suspension is stiff.  You will feel every ripple, pebble and bump in the road.

If you are happy to “feel” the road all day and you want a classy smaller car then this could be the one for you.

The Audi brand is still aspirational and this A3 will make many buyers very happy.

General impressions

Audi is very much the upmarket more sporty marque of VW. It shows and feels in every inch. The A3 exudes quality. Fit and finish is excellent. Materials appear to be top class.

This car is at or near the pinnacle of small car engineering and design.

Road holding and handling are above par. The A3 will go where you point it and stop pretty quickly when you ask her to. The actual ride is a little hard and bumpy.

Build quality appears to be very good. The doors close with a satisfying clunk. The switches and controls feel right.

Audi A3 TSi

Audi A3 TSi

Driving impressions

The A3 is a driver’s car. It is fun to handle and does everything effortlessly. You will enjoy driving this car. It is poised and well balanced, almost to the point of perfection.

The 1.8 mill produces 132kW at 5100 – 6200 and 250Nm between 1250 – 5000.  Top speed is 232km/h and the 0 to 100km/h time is a very respectable 7.3 seconds. Audi claims a fuel consumption of 5.6 litres per 100km, but I think you will battle to get that figure. Bank on 6.5l/100km.

Brakes, steering, acceleration, road feel – all come together just right. A great package.

Interior

The interior is almost plain. Having said that, the attention to detail is superb. The cabin feels cosy, safe, smart and has an understated luxury about it. The model I drove came with all the goodies but bear in mind that quite a few essential accessories are optional extras on this car.

Audi_A3_dash

Summary

This new A3 looks a bit like the previous model until you have the two together. It has changed quite considerably and for the better. It is an almost completely new car. The lines are really pleasing.

I enjoyed driving the A3 but accept that many potential owners will be put off by the somewhat choppy ride. It is by no means as hard as a Golf GTi or any of the R range of Audis but tends to the stiffer side of suspension settings.

Audi’s engineers have got it right with this gem of a little car. It does almost everything well.

The A3 1.8 Fsi Stronic as tested is R 339 000, without extras. Leather seats are an extra R17 000.

The Sportback range starts at R283 000 for the 1.2T FSI, and tops out with the 1.8T FSI quattro at R370 000. The best buy is the 1.4T FSI S tronic at R307 500.

The optional equipment pricing looks like this: audi-a3-tsi_rear

B&O sound system R5 540

3G MMI Navigation R22 200

Milano leather seats R17 060

LED headlights  R21 900

Park assist R9 200

A comprehensive one year, unlimited distance warranty included
as standard on all new Audis. A twelve year anti-corrosion
guarantee.