I get to test drive many vehicles, and a manufacturer which is new to my test drive portfolio is Audi. I’ve been knocking at their doors for a while for test drives, and now that I’ve been invited in I have to say that I am suitably impressed. Today I’m looking at a variant of Audi which is brand new to the Irish market and markets around the world. This week we review the Audi A3 Saloon.
The A3 has been massively popular in Ireland over the years and it’s very frequent that you will spy even first generation vehicles on our road. The A3 first showed up around the globe in 1996 and it offers and offered massive competition to the Volkswagen Golf. For its time the first generation of A3 was extremely stylish and they did what most German manufacturers do, any style changes they made to the vehicle were small and subtle. The A3 saloon looks typically like the hatchback A3, but obviously it has a saloon back. With the saloon back you would be forgiven if you mistook this car from a distance as an A4, but as the A3 saloon would approach you would notice that it’s obviously smaller than the A4.
The style of this particular vehicle to be fantastic, I say this as I find most Audi saloons to be very stylish, and to get one with the “brilliant black” colour, as was given to me for the test-drive is an absolute bonus.
I drove the 2.0 TDI 150hp model of the Audi A3 saloon and the first thing that stood out to me was how amazingly quiet the engine was. There was a moment when I had to ask myself whether I was driving a petrol or diesel model. The petrol models available in Ireland are the 1.4 TFSI 125hp and the 1.4 TFSI 140hp. To date I have tested both the diesel and the TFSI 140hp and from the off both engines impress.
As with regards to handling I found this particular vehicle to reach near perfection. The steering is precise, it turns superbly clinging firmly to the road, and the gear changes are done with such ease.
As you would expect from an Audi the interior means business. Nothing is overstated while everything is in its right place. The retractable screen appears from the dashboard as you turn the key in the ignition chamber and controlling the functionality of the vehicle and the infotainment system is done with ease.
The seats are comfortable and there is certainly no issue with legroom to the front. In the back cabin two adults would fit in comfortably enough and a third at a push. Headroom in the A3 saloon posed a problem for me when I raised the seat to my preferred driving position. I’m just shy of six-foot so I was slightly disappointed that I had to lower my seat.
Surprisingly this smooth performer is very fuel efficient. To maintain an optimum fuel efficiency the A3 saloon uses a “Cylinder -on-Demand” system. What this does is deactivates cylinders when they are not necessary and reactivates them when they are required to offer more performance. To further aid fuel efficiency the Audi A3 saloon comes with Start/Stop technology.
Prices: €29,950 to €52,150
CO2 Emission: Sub 100g/km
Standard Equipment: As standard the Audi A3 Saloon comes with: Start/Stop system, Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) (prevents the wheels from spinning), a first-aid kit, 5.8” QVGA colour display system – which electrically comes out of your dash when you turn the key, Bluetooth connectivity, alloy wheels, and much more.
Optional Extras: Adaptive Cruise Control, Audi Side Assist, Active Lane Assist, Audi MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch.