The A3 is a three or five door family hatchback that competes in the range with Mercedes A-class, BMW series, Volvo V40 and Volkswagen Golf in this Audi A3 car review we discuss why we think it a nice car right under the BMW. The A3 is classy on the outside and exceptional in interior décor and technology. The car comes in four petrol engines and three diesel engines. They are have a six speed manual gearbox as standard but there’s also the exciting option of seven speed S tronic automatic gearbox. Four trim levels are available; the entry level SE the SE Technik, S line Nav and Sport. In addition it also comes in four body styles; the standard three door hatchback, a five door Sportback, four door saloon and a Cabriolet. It is also incredibly safe for both adult and infant passengers.
ENGINES DRIVE AND PERFORMANCE
Due to the size of the car and the lightweight construction the car is very fun to drive. It handles the bends very well and provides a lot of confidence to the driver that the car can maneuver perfectly when need be. However these impressive handling and stability comes at a price with some models of the Audi A3 having a much stiffer ride due to stiffer springs this mainly affects the incredibly fun to drive S Line and Sport Nav options.
The 2015 A3 comes in four petrol engines and three diesel engines. All are four cylinder and turbocharged as well, except the 2.5-liter five cylinder in the RS3. The 1.2-liter TFSI turbocharged petrol engine is quite a performer, making 109 bhp at 4600-5600 rpm and 175 Nm from 1400-4000rpm. It does the 0-100 km/h sprint in 9.9 seconds well within the range for a petrol engine for this range. An even faster alternative would be the standard 1.4 liter TFSI delivering 123 bhp at 5000-6000rpm and 200Nm from 1400-4000 rpm and making 0-100km/h in 9.2 seconds or the 1.4-liter TFSI cylinder on demand which offers 148 bhp at 5000-6000 rpm and 250Nm of torque from 1500-3500 rpm. It accelerates 0-100km/h in 8.1 seconds. The 1.8-liter TFSI is also fast but it has quite high running costs. If its speed you were after we’d recommend the top spec S3 that can do 0-100km/h in 5.0 seconds.
However here if you are planning to import an 8 year old one from Japan you are limited to the 1.4 L, 1.6 L, 1.8L and the 2.0L engine options if you are looking for a daily driver the 1.4-turbocharged options will be quite fine. Most versions will return a decent consumption rate of 10 kmpl however if you use the wrong parts and engine oil during service expect this to go down to 8 Kmpl.
While the petrol engines deliver more power, the diesel engines are most economical. The 1.6-liter TDI makes 108bhp at 3,200-4,000rpm and 250Nm of torque from 1,500-3,000rpm isn’t as powerful as the 2.0 liter TDI but it’s definitely more refined and economical. The 2.0-liter diesel is definitely faster accelerating 0-100 km/h in 8.5 seconds while the 181 bhp 2.0-liter can do it in 7.3 seconds.
The car utilizes a CVT transmission which can be very smooth giving you the sensation of surging forward during a drive, however the Audi CVT though considered to be one of the best around the world can be a bit problematic especially if you are getting the 7-8 year old cars imported from Japan or the UK.
INTERIOR, DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
First thing you notice when you get into the A3 cockpit is the reassuring thud of a well-bolstered door when you close it behind you. The Audi interior is quite well put together providing soft touch materials on all conceivable surfaces. Providing very reassuring buttons and leavers when operating the radio or opening the door.
However the interior is not totally mind blowing, its been made to be as conservative as possible while maintaining the most classy and regal feel you can get for the price.
For more upscale models the car comes with a thin 5.8” color screen that pops up out of the dashboard when you start up. The sound system is quite sufficient and very well balance giving that surround feel even while inside the car. Trust me the sound systems even in the most basic of Audi’s are much better than any in the Japanese made cars we import today. If you want you can get the more upgraded Bang Olfusen system in the higher trims that provides much sound amplification and refinement.
This carefully crafted acoustic set up makes the car very quite and composed on the road reducing road and tyre noise to a minimum. The car has excellent sound deadening and is quite suitable for those long drives that need that piece and quite. However you need to look out for the A3’s with the sunroof as this usually produces some wind noise, I don’t think it was very well designed there to be honest.
The seats look nice however the simple design may make them a bit uncomfortable for larger drivers. The Back seats are excellent through however if you don’t get the Sport Nav or the S Line versions you may suffer some back issues down the line due to the limited support the seats offer.
PRACTICALITY, COMFORT AND BOOT SPACE
The A3 is roomier than its predecessor even though they are the same length. This is because it has a stretched wheelbase, and a wider track, which are all more accommodating to passengers than before. Even though taller passengers may have to contend with a bit more limited space at the back (both headroom and leg room) the car has enough space to suit your daily needs. The storage spaces are well placed and spacious and the boot is good enough for you nick nacks providing over 365 litres of space and you can still push the seats down and get more space.
RELIABILITY AND SAFETY
The A3 scored five stars in the Euro NCAP’s crash tests. It scored marginally higher than its competitors in adult and child occupant protection in the case of a crash. It has a lot of air bags both for the passengers and drivers and offers a feeling of stability while driving.
We however have a few issues with audi’s based on some owner feedback
- The gearbox can be problematic. No one in Kenya is yet to fully master fixing CVT transmissions hence if yours breaks, which may happen sooner or later, you will be forced to pay Kes 280,000 to get another one (Used). Your transmission will go bad on you if the car takes in water during heavy rains. The Transmission Control Module is usually located under the front passengers foot well if this part floods that’s it you have to get a new transmission
- Audi’s dealer network in Kenya is a bit limited hence if you have issues with the car you only have a very few places to turn to for help.
- The AC compressor is also a problem point especially if you are getting an older Audi hence you need to be cognizant of that. You can try filling the AC receptors with AC gas every now and then but it will cost you for every refill and Kes 2500 and it wont last due to the bust compressors. If you are buying an Audi check that the AC is working.
- The car returns average fuel economy numbers with most versions doing 13 -15 kmpl. However since this car is very well calibrated if you use the wrong service components like the spark plugs or air filter or engine oil you will suffer much worse numbers than these.