Audi has done it again.
Since 1909 the German motoring giant has led the way in producing desirable vehicles with a superior build quality and an unrivalled pinch of sexiness.
The new Audi A3 hatchback is no different.
For years the A3 has been thought of as the hatchback of choice for particularly stylish buyers, a point not lost on Audi’s rivals at Mercedes and BMW who produced their A-Class and 1 Series in response, but Audi’s latest hatchback has moved the goalposts once more.
Although the new design is fairly inconspicuous – one may be hard pressed to tell an A3 from an A6 or A4 – it is the engine improvements and ride comfort that really sets this model apart from its peers.
The A3 offers outstanding performance on the road, especially on meandering B-roads, with the car performing admirably thanks to its grip levels, whilst the absence of a body lean when cornering is another pleasing aspect.
Engine wise, the Audi A3 offers three reworked engines: a 1.4-litre TFSI, the 1.8-litre TFSI and a 2.0-litre TDI. The 1.4 litre produces 121bhp, gets from zero to 62mph in 9.3 seconds and has a top speed of 126mph. Overtaking on country roads may cause a problem, but it’s the perfect motorway car.
On the other hand, the 1.8-litre version races up to 62mph in just 7.2 seconds with a top speed of 144mph. The 2.0-litre diesel is pretty quick off the mark, too, with a top speed of 134mph and a zero to 62mph speed of 8.6 seconds. Crucially, it offers 320Nm of pulling power, which makes overtaking less of a life or death experience.
All the engines offered by Audi come with a six-speed manual gearbox, apart from the 1.8 TFSI that is kitted out with the seven-speed S Tronic semi-automatic gearbox.
Inside the A3, leg room for passengers has been increased as the wheelbase has been extended by 23mm. Overall, the car feels much roomier than previous generations and the chrome finish gives the cabin added style.
Out on the road, the comfort levels are high, and the car, unlike previous Audi’s that were criticised for the firmness of their ride, glides over all surfaces. As always, driving on a motorway is a pleasure in an Audi as the noise inside the cabin is minimal due to the insulation quality.
So, should you buy one? The simple answer is yes.
Base models of the A3 start at around £18,000, but that can rise sharply based on the trim level you opt for and the added extras you’ll inevitably have to have.