Is Audi’s recently added A3 saloon more than simply an A3 Sportback with a boot on the back end, we find out
What is it? This is Audi’s take on the compact executive Saloon and they have transformed the hugely popular A3 hatchback in to a very stylish saloon.
Who is it aimed at? Compact it may be but the A3 Saloon is only a mere 24 centimetres shorter than an A4 saloon and is ideally suited for anyone looking for a little more space and practicality than the A3 Sportback offers.
Styling? Easily the best looking A3 in the range and definitely one of the most stylish saloons on the road the new A3 saloon is certainly a head turner. It is also unmistakably an Audi and sports the now familiar Audi grille and smart headlights.
Under the Bonnet? Powering our test car is the smallest engine in the range, a 1.4 petrol. Despite its size there is more enough punch under the bonnet and the A3 saloon goes from rest to 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds and it has a top speed of 217 km/h.
What about inside? Inside there is all the attention to detail we’ve come to expect from Audi and the cabin is awash with technology and high quality touches usually only found in more expensive models. Storage is good throughout and all the main functions are controlled via the MMI operating that’s linked to a 5.8-inch pop-out screen.
Behind the wheel the driving position is comfortable and headroom is decent. The rear seats are spacious for a compact saloon but the slopping roofline means tall passengers may not fare as well as they would in the hatchback but there is enough legroom for four to travel in comfort. Boot space is considerably bigger than in the hatchback but the opening and height of the boot means the smaller hatchback boot is actually more accessible and useable.
On the Road? The A3 Sportback is a great car to drive so not surprisingly the saloon version does not disappoint. On the road it is relaxed with plenty of grip. While the sports suspension may be a little on the harsh side for some overall it is very comfortable to drive. The steering feels light when needed but it is sharp and precise with good feedback.
Engines? In terms of engine there is a choice between two petrol and two diesel options. The petrol model line-up includes our test car a 1.4 or if you want a little more oomph you can opt for the more powerful 1.8. The diesel options include a 1.6 and a range topping 2.0 litre.
And Safety? Audis are typically safe cars to inhabit and the A3 Saloon is no exception. Standard safety features on all trim levels include Adaptive brake light ( brake light flashes during an emergency stop to warn following traffic and hazard warning lights automatically activated if vehicle comes to a standstill) Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) which reduces engine power to prevent the wheels from spinning and Anti-lock brake system (ABS) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD).
Options? There are three equipment levels – entry, SE and S-Line. Other options include Audi Active Lane Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control With Stop & Go Function, Adaptive Light and Rearview Camera.
Economy? Thanks to Stop and start technology and some other very clever fuel saving devices on a mix of urban and motorway driving our test car returns a decent 4.7 litres per 100 kms or 50 mpg. CO2 emissions of 109g/km means the annual road tax is €190.
Verdict? The A3 saloon looks great, drives beautifully and has one of the most refined and elegant cabins around. All combine to give this saloon some serious showroom appeal. On the road the 1.4 will leave you wanting more power but overall the A3 Saloon is one of the best surprises we have enjoyed so far this year; it is seriously stylish outside and more than opulent enough inside, add economy into the blend and the A3 saloon offers a rare mix that sets it apart.
Why you’ll buy one? Stylish, Good choice of Engines; Quality
Why you won’t? Firm Ride, Cheaper Hatchback
BMW 2-Series Coupe – prices from €38,480
Mercedes-Benz CLA – prices from €30, 170
A3 Saloon 1.4TFSI 140 COD
Engine: 1395cc, 1.4 TFSI, 140 bhp @5,000rpm, 250 NM @1500 – 3500 rpm
Max speed: 217 km/h
0-100 kph: 8.4 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax) : 109 g/km (€190)
Model price range: €29,950 – €52,150 (Test Car – €30,880*)
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : 5 stars
Fuel type: Petrol
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 4.7 l/100km (50 mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 425 litres
Car Seats: 3 Isofix fittings in the rear
Spare Wheel: Space saver spare wheel
17″ Alloys in 5 Spoke Star Design €974, Acoustic parking rear €557, Aluminium look interior €98, Aluminium window trims €223, Audi Sound system €355, Centre arm rest €194, Driver Information Display in colour €159, Dual Zone Climate Control €767, Front fog lights €229, Interior lighting pack €29, Light and rain sensor €175, Locking wheel bolts €35, Metallic paint €896, Rear floor mats €55, Storage compartment pack €251, Tyre pressure monitor €112, Xenon lights with LED daytime running lights €1,351
16th April, 2014