Nano Grey…I wasn’t sure that the Audi A3 Saloon that I was getting delivered would be in a colour I fancied out of the ten colours they are available in.
Tom Scanlan comfortably tours the South West in the AUDI A3 saloon 1.6 TDI S tronic S line
I was wrong; it looked really attractive on this compact saloon, quite striking and subtle at the same time. It is actually a metallic, so there is that hefty £550 extra price to pay, as happens across the whole motor industry.
The interior came in Napa black leather, including ‘Super Sports’ seats at the front, giving the car a purposeful feel.
The test car was powered by Audi’s 1.6-litre diesel engine with 110 PS and a torque figure of 250 Nm at 1500 rpm.
In the A3, Audi has successfully eliminated diesel engine clatter and turned it into more of a whirring sound. The noise is still discernible, although having turned from a whir to a purr, at 70 mph on the motorway. After experiencing the uncannily quiet 2.0 diesel in an A4, this was just a touch disappointing.
Straight-line performance is adequate, this being one of the slower cars from Audi, but there is always enough for all day-to-day driving conditions. 0-62 mph is available in 10.7 seconds, through Audi’s excellent 7-speed automatic gearbox. I drove the car over the long ups and downs of the A361 in North Devon. The paddle change was a really useful feature to utilise engine braking on the downward slopes. It was clear from cars in front, the need to use their brakes a lot, third gear in the A3 eliminated unnecessary wear on the brake pads.
The steering was accurate and the very flat bottom of the steering wheel was no problem when full lock was needed.
The handling was secure although, with nothing but dry roads in my week with the car, the grip was not at all challenged. With a car from Audi costing a basic £27,825 for this S Line version (and having options adding a good £8000 more), you get many safety systems that help keep the car from losing grip in the most slippery conditions.
Audi’s Drive Select allows a choice of suspension settings. I generally used ‘comfort’. An owner would get to know all the local road conditions and what was needed from the car and could then go for the ‘individual’ setting. There are also ‘dynamic’ that gets more response at the accelerator and handling for faster driving, best used, I suppose, by anyone in a genuine hurry.
Comfort, then, was my go-to setting, with the ‘Super Sports’ seats providing both good support and further comfort, including 4-way electrically-controlled lumbar support. My passenger being on the short side, found that her head-rest was, even in its lowest position, too high, so she had to put some sort of cushioning behind her neck to avoid some discomfort…let alone had a collision caused a whiplash injury.
All the controls, in their touch and feel, were a pleasure to use and the instrumentation was clear both day and night, with a useful, easy adjustment to its brightness as day turned through dusk into night. The A3 was equipped with the Audi virtual cockpit that is one of the fine features of Audi cars these days.
The satellite navigation system was fairly simple to operate. After my initial reservations a couple of years ago on the hand-writing facility on the computer controller, this has now become my modus operandi for entering destinations. Except when actually on the move driving, with the car in motion, it is not so easy to form the letters and it can be distracting looking to see if your now-wobbly ‘A’ or ‘B’ or ‘C’ has been successfully interpreted. Finding the voice guidance, or cancelling the voice guidance, is not simple enough as you have to make two selections before you find the relevant control.
The boot is well-carpeted, with hooks and a hold-down net to stop stuff sliding around; a space-saver spare wheel is under the floor. Although the car on test was a saloon, space for extra luggage can be had thanks to the very easy to fold rear seats.
Fuel consumption over five hundred and twenty varied miles was shown at a handy 53.5 mpg (official combined cycle 70.6 mpg), giving a useful tank range of around 550 miles. My best consumption figure, on a 190-mile journey mainly on dual carriageway and motorway, but with some slow town traffic, saw a return indicated at exactly 60.0 mpg.
Under the government’s new VED ratings, based on emissions, this A3 will cost £140 a year.
The A3 is an attractive proposition for any smaller family that does not have too much restraint on cash outlay.
Car reviewed: AUDI A3 saloon 1.6 TDI S tronic S line – Base Price On the road £29050 0-60mph 10.4 secs Top speed 127mph Fuel Economy combined 70.6mpg CO2 emissions 106g/km Engine 1598cc 4-cylinder diesel Max Power 116PS@3200rpm Torque 250Nm@1500rpm Transmission 7-speed auto
A good all-day car to drive
Easy to use satnav and connectivity
Well specced but go easy on the options
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