[Review] Audi A3 Sedan 1.4 TFSI S-Tronic

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With the re-categorisation of COE, we see luxury sedans taking up places in the Category B ladder, leaving fewer than a handful of continentals to choose from in the lower rung category.

To go head on with the Mercedes-Benz CLA class or equivalent, Audi has earlier released the new A3 Sportback, which we thought was more than just the normal hatch on the road.

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Going forward from the hatch, the A3 now sees a sedan variant for the first time, providing yet another feasible option for the potential driver.

Exterior

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The A3 sedan takes on the same front facade as the Sportback, and an almost similar design to the rest of its predecessors.

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The overhaul in the design of the A3 comes in when you take a closer look at its headlights component. The new A3 proudly wears an inward daytime running light eyeliner, giving the sedan (and the Sportback variant) a more concentrated and intense look.

While the tail lamps of the A3 sedan remain unchanged from the Sportback we drove last year, the difference between the siblings lie in the slightly extended wheelbase, and of course, the boot.

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Talking about which, the sedan variant offers close to 425 litres of boot capacity, expandable to a whopping 880 when you fold the rear seats.

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Summing up the exterior, the A3 sedan, similar to its S3 and A3 hatch siblings, exudes a zen image from the car. While it may not be as flashy as its Mercedes-Benz rival, the A3 more than makes up for it in the handling and features department.

Interior

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Without any doubt, the interior of a German ride impresses. Audi’s track record of excellence continues to live on here in the A3, even though the it could well be categorised as an entry-level sedan for most.

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The main difference we noted between the A3 and its higher-end models was how neat and simple the interior stood. The turbine-designed air conditioning vents add on a tinge of sportiness (and uniqueness) in the otherwise luxurious interior.

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Coming over to the car’s infotainment system, the A3’s MMI interface comprises of a retractable screen that slides back into the dash at the flick of a button or when you cut the engine – much more practical compared to the fixed displays on perhaps an A Class or the 3 Series. And beneath the magnesium screen in the heart of the car, the MMI proves nothing less than intuitive, especially coupled with the touch-sensitive pad on the MMI control knob.

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While older Audi’s may impart an unfortunate “claustrophobic” feeling to certain drivers, the new A3 sedan welcomes the driver almost immediately, with the dashboard design flowing in one fluent curve from the passenger side to the instrument clutter. And beneath the hood of the instrument panel, Audi’s speedometer, rev counter and center info display remains crisp and clean.

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Being an entry-level sedan, the A3 might pose a little bit of a space issue when it comes to the rear passengers. The presence of the transmission tunnel give rise to a rather tight seating arrangement for the center passenger. The roof line curves a tad too soon, posing another issue to taller passengers who may find the rear seats a little too cramped. Otherwise, the A3 seats two comfortably behind – perhaps three, if you’re not on a long drive.

The Drive

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Under the hood, the A3 houses one of the smallest engines in its class and range – the 1.4 litre turbo fuel stratified injection plant.

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Despite its small size, the four cylinder powerplant puts out 122 horses, working silently within the low ranges of the tachometer. However, the engine roars without hesitation once you plant your foot down, bringing to your control 200Nm of torque starting from just 1,400rpm.

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Given the low starting curve for the A3’s torque, overtaking is a breeze, where all you need to do is just to signal your intention and blip the throttle a little to work the plant. It does flatten out a fair bit rather quickly, but the engine effortlessly kicks into yet another of its seven gears, delivering more adventures to your drive. The brochure reads slightly above 9 seconds for its century sprint, although we dare say it indeed feels much faster than that.

While you have the option of selecting your driving style via the MMI interface (i.e. efficiency, comfort, dynamic or a customisable individual style), the A3 does feel a little soft on rougher roads. That aside, we must agree that the chassis impresses on the occasional bumps and holes on our roads, delivering what we would term as a joy to ride in.

If there’s also something that Audi (and perhaps Volkswagen) could be proud of, it would be the fuel efficiency of their power plants. The A3 records close to 5.0l/100km on paper, and we dare say that even with a little leeway to go on these figures, the A3 will definitely shine when pit against the rest in its class.

Conclusion

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The new A3 handles and drives surprisingly well, riding on the efficiency of the TFSI technology. And while the ride in this premium badge may be near-seamless, it might pose a problem when you attempt to pack three adults in the rear.

If you are looking for a reasonably-sized family sedan, there are countless options you could part  your money for in the market. But if you’re looking for one that marries the premium badge together with comfort and handling, we dare say the A3 wins any other competitors hands-down.

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What I like:

  • Impressive handling
  • Amazing fuel efficiency
  • Premium quality interior

What I don’t like:

  • Two’s comfortable for the rear, but three might be a bit of a squeeze.

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This article was first published on Oneshift.com. All information are correct at time of publication.

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