The Audi A3 sedan at a glance
- Sleek compact car from Ingolstadt
- Based on the current MQB platform of the Golf VIII
- Modern operating concept still with real switches
- 35 TDI remains the first choice for long-distance drivers
- Optics take precedence over space (especially in the second row)
Now straight to the conclusion
Audi continues to strive for independence
These days we had two representatives of the current MQB evo modular system from the Volkswagen Group as guests in the editorial office. On the one hand the new one VW Golf VIII and on the other hand the A3 sedan shown here. When one left, the other arrived and so the impressions are still fresh to be able to make at least a few comparisons. Regardless of the price difference, which is almost 6,000 euros in the base, it is striking how much Audi tries to be independent in the narrow platform paths.
There are still real switches
You often have to take a closer look in the interior in order to recognize the Golf as the basis. Of course, the automatic selector lever is history on the A3 too. Due to the space, the ventilation nozzles are a bit strange in the room and control surfaces have been reduced to the essentials.
But stop! Not all real switches have been rationalized. So there is still a real automatic air conditioning that can be operated using buttons, the seat heating can be activated by simply pressing a button and yes, even a usable volume control has made it into the center console. The latter is worth mentioning because Audi must have “tinkered” something here. The sensor unit in the diameter of a cigarette lighter can not only regulate the music, but also continue the tracks and mute the radio. Why do I celebrate it like this? Because it’s easy, ladies and gentlemen in Wolfsburg.
MMI remains logical to use, meticulous processing
As easy as the rest of the operation of the Audi. Everything is easy to do, the lane departure warning system can be deactivated if necessary with a long press of the button on the steering column stalk, fundamental functions are self-explanatory and the MMI navigation unit also has fast response times.
However, the MMI cannot completely deny the MIB3 basis (modular information system 3), and the Audi navigation system also needs one to two minutes after a cold start until all functions are fully available. Then, however, it is easy to communicate with the digital contact person. In terms of material quality, however, there is light and shadow in the A3 sedan. Only the plastic on the dashboard is foamed. The door panels are kept simple even at the front, the center console is scratch-sensitive. The leather quality of the optional fine Nappa seats is right, the steering wheel and decorative elements are of high quality and fit perfectly.
Hardly justifiable in terms of price
You are welcome to guess what the test car shown here will cost. 45,000 euros? Would be expensive, but there is still something to do. 50,000 euros? Not enough either. In the end, the enclosed data sheet adds up to 57,540.02 euros (including 16% VAT). It is well known that Audi does not seem to feel pain when pricing its vehicles (like Mercedes and BMW), but almost 60,000 euros for a compact sedan is a tough announcement.
A3 is at the top in terms of driving dynamics
So how do the Audi employees justify these pricing practices? Roughly with the fact that the A3 sedan is actually already poaching in the A4 rivier. At least it is now so long and inside definitely more airy than an A4 sedan (type B5) from 1994. The ride comfort, due to the optional adaptive chassis, is even better than with the predecessor and irones out bumps on the road so sensitively that you can at least thinks a car class higher. In conjunction with the progressive steering used, this results in an overall very sporty driving behavior that can be further refined using Audi drive select. The bottom line is that the valance should continue to take more feedback.
On the other hand, drive influences in the steering are barely audible, although the 110 kW / 150 PS and 360 Newton meters of torque of the 35 TDI like to struggle for traction (combined fuel consumption: 4.0-3.8 l / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 106 -101 g / km²). All-wheel drive is expected to be delivered in the new A3 (8Y) towards the end of the year, but this will remain mandatory for the S and RS variants. The seven-speed dual clutch transmission S tronic is meanwhile free of faults and blame, is barely noticeable in the A3 sedan and only comes to the fore in the manual shift gate. The pressure point of the brakes is full, so the Ingolstadt-based driver can be brought to a stop again quickly and safely.
35 TDI powerful and powerful
The two-liter four-cylinder diesel should be presented a little more intensively. After all, who knows how long the compact class will be driving up with diesel engines within the VW Group? Eliminating it would definitely hurt, as “EA288evo” is a solid piece of engine technology. After a cold start, the common rail diesel works quite rougher, but becomes quieter as the temperature rises. The 150 hp accelerate the A3 sedan from a standstill to 100 km / h in a good 8.4 seconds, and it’s over at 224 km / h. Unlike the large 3.0-liter engines from the A4 to the Q8, the small diesel can still bring its full torque to the road from 1,600 tours. The turbo lag is subjectively small and the responsiveness is pleasing. Whether and when a more powerful diesel will be submitted is currently open.
No miracles in terms of consumption
There is less need to look into the crystal ball when it comes to fuel consumption. I achieved an average of 6.5 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (according to the on-board computer) within a test week. The lowest average was just under five liters, while my personal consumption peak was around eight liters per 100 kilometers. Values that are okay in themselves, but do not represent a quantum leap. Even the previous models hardly needed any more fuel and so it is partly due to the new Euro 6 emissions standard and the associated increasingly complex exhaust gas cleaning systems that there is no noticeable reduction in consumption for the end customer.
At the back it sits tight
In terms of space, on the other hand, the A3 limousine has always been something for connoisseurs who are not necessarily on the move with children. If the room in the first row is still the same as that in the A3 Sportback, the roofline sloping early in the second row of seats ensures that heads are drawn in – especially those that are taller. The trunk always holds 425 liters, the rear bench seat can be folded down, whereby there is no flat loading area.
The Audi A3 continues to mark the upper end of the compact class in the VW Group. The operation is well thought out, the assistants work properly and Ingolstadt also remains ahead in terms of quality. The two-liter four-cylinder in the 35 TDI with 150 hp is still the first choice for long-distance drivers, is sufficiently powerful and economical in consumption. In terms of driving dynamics, the A3 sets accents and is positioned at least one car width above the current one thanks to the well-working adaptive chassis 1 series BMW. Biggest point of criticism: The Audi A3 is too expensive for a compact car. (Text and image: Thomas Vogelhuber)