Winning model 4.0
Audi launched the high-end compact segment almost a quarter of a century ago with the A3, with nearly five million units of the three existing generations having been sold since 1996. Modern, sporty, versatile and above all entirely digital and connected, the fourth generation of the winning model, produced at the manufacturer's Ingolstadt plant, certainly has a lot going for it. In fact, the new A3 features a whole host of premium technologies.
In terms of its aesthetics, the 2020 version of the A3 has changed relatively little, with an imposing grille at the front flanked by large LED headlights and large air inlets symbolising the dynamic and sporty nature of the new A3 Sportback. Whilst it may be 3cm longer and wider than its predecessor, its wheelbase and height remain unchanged.
New passenger compartment
The big changes are to be found on the inside, with a completely redesigned passenger compartment in which, as always, Audi has focused on using high-quality materials and creating an impeccable finish. The Ingolstadt-based manufacturer also offers a range of particularly hard-wearing seat covers and trim features made from recycled PET bottles.
The driver's cockpit is sleek, clear and extremely functional, as notably demonstrated by the tried-and-tested MMI control and infotainment system borrowed from the premium category. Basic features reflect the digital age we’re living in and include a 10.25-inch fully-digital instrument cluster, whilst the centre console is angled slightly towards the driver and features as standard a 10.1-inch touch screen integrated into the centre of the dashboard, which forms the centrepiece of the new control system. The latter naturally has a voice control function, as well as recognising handwriting and emitting audible responses. The functions that this model offers are more closely connected than was the case with its predecessor, including the LTE module on the one hand and access to the many Audi connect services, such as Car-to-X-Services, which help the driver to find a roadside parking space, on the other. The Audi connect digital key is another great feature in that it allows you to lock and unlock the vehicle and start the engine using an Android smartphone.
The model will initially be available with a choice of three engines — a 1.5L petrol engine offering 150hp or a 2L turbodiesel engine with either 116hp or 150hp. The 150hp TDI engine we test drove impressed us with its powerful acceleration and flexibility. The 7-speed S Tronic gearbox that comes as standard on this model allows for quick and extremely smooth gear changes, whilst the handling is equally flawless. Direct steering, excellent handling, precision cornering and a high level of ride and suspension comfort make the A3 a versatile sports vehicle.
Prices naturally reflect what you would expect of an Audi. The 30 TFSI (110hp) basic model, for example, is priced at €25,500, the 35 TFSI (150hp) petrol model at €27,580, the entry-level diesel model (116hp) from €27,250 and the 35 TDI (150hp) at €31,440.