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First Drive: Audi A3

The Audi A3 Sportback (above) the S3 Cabriolet (top)

The Audi A3 Sportback (above) the S3 Cabriolet (top)


The iconic compact has managed to create something for almost everyone with the freshly revamped Audi A3, writes Aimee Woods

What Is It?  Audi have unveiled their brand new A3 to the European market showcasing an impressive array of models to suit the needs of a wide audience. The A3 has undergone another makeover to modernise the stylish hatchback into 2016 which has sold a remarkable number of units (over 1 million cars) since its creation 20 years ago. The ever evolving A3 is certainly holding its own within the Audi family taking design inspiration from its considerably more expensive siblings.

First impressions of the new Audi A3? Essentially, the A3 has become a slightly sportier version of the previous model boasting simple but effective changes to the exterior. From the front, the most notable differences are the sleek new Xenon headlights as standard (Matrix LED as extra) and the wider grille adding to its defined look. The rear has also seen subtle enhancements with the remodelled angular lights as well as a small spoiler and distinguished bumper. The A3 is equipped with 16inch alloy wheels at entry level which can be upgraded as an optional extra. With 4 body style choices – 3 door, 5 door sportback, cabriolet and saloon it’s easy to find a style to suit your needs.

What about the interior? Inside there is no compromise in the quality interior from the bigger models and has made top class features available to the buyer. The 12.3” virtual cockpit (fully digital features right behind the wheel) is particularly striking while the satellite navigation and wireless phone charging capabilities are among further advanced technologies. It is also more accommodating in terms of all round space with a split-folding rear space should you need to increase boot size with ease.

What about engines? The A3 has unveiled a comprehensive range of engines including the eagerly awaited 1.0 TFSI 3 cylinder model with an output of 115bhp. There are 2 further petrol models in the 1.4 TFSI (150bhp) and the high performance S3 with a 2.0 TFSI engine (310bhp). The diesel models include the 1.6TDI (110bhp) and 2.0TDI (150bhp) in which the Quattro all-wheel drive is available.

Audi A3 on the road? We tested all of the above listed engines at the A3 international launch. The shining star of the group is the new 1.0 TFSI 3 cylinder engine. With the Irish market seeing a growth in consumers opting for petrol cars, the 1.0 is sure to stand out to competitors. This small but effective engine doesn’t compromise on speed, space, style or power making both short and long trips effortless and comfortable.

The S3 is the other extreme in the petrol range set to excite speed enthusiasts with all wheel drive capabilities that exceeded my expectations. The grip is exceptional and the engine noise is a thing of beauty. If controlled speed at 0-100km in 4.8km (S-Tronic Automatic Transmission) is your desire, you’ll enjoy what this model has to offer. If you prefer something with more character and driving involved, this could be just a little too safe.

The diesel models as expected feel appropriately powerful with plenty of torque and grip on offer. They negotiate winding roads with ease and the drive is smoother than many of its competitors. Having tested the extra safety features available to the Audi A3, it is impossible not to give them due notice. These include adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, active lane assist and the advanced emergency assist which brings the car to a controlled stop should the driver be unresponsive. These employ self-drive capabilities that bring safety to new heights.

How much?  Prices start at €27,810 for the 1.0TFSI, €30,750 for the 1.6TDI and €32,770 for the 2.0TDI all at entry level which are expected to be the most sought after.

3 words to describe the Audi A3  Comfortable; Smooth; Safe

 

For more information check out the Audi Ireland website, the Audi Ireland Facebook page or  follow them on twitter here

 

Aimee Woods

20th  June, 2016

Author: Aimee Woods

Daughter of Sean Woods (Sean Woods Racing team), Aimee attended her first rally at just two weeks old. Ever since, Mondello Park has been a second home. Her racing career began in a Fiat Uno and she then moved on to competing in various rally sprints throughout the country in a Peugeot 205. Aimee has just taken on a new project in a Formula Vee to compete in the remainder of the 2015 season and has set her sights high for 2016. She is also a regular instructor on the Mondello Park racing experiences. You can follow Aimee on twitter @AimeeWoods21

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