The newest member of the Audi family, the A3, has finally landed on Indian shores. A place where the luxury car market is currently ruled by Audi with their competitive and capable products. The A3 is targeted to eat the market share of its main rivals, the BMW 1 Series and the Mercedes A- and B-Class hatchbacks. Unlike its current competition, the A3 is not a hot hatch but instead, it's a proper three box sporty sedan. A sedan placed in a market where people often think that having a boot at the back adds to your status. I know, we are talking about a completely different set of car buyers, but the market results substantiate such theories. The majority of Indian car buyers still hesitate to spend money on a hatch over a sedan and that's where it might make the difference. Is this car really capable enough to set the entry level luxury market on fire? We think so.
Powertrain & Performance
There is a choice of two different engines in the A3, one each of petrol and diesel with a new numeric labelling clarifying which is the more powerful one. The A3 features a 1.8L 40TFSI petrol engine and a 2.0L 35TDI diesel engine ——— I———m sure you now know which the more powerful unit is! The 40TFSI is a 4 cylinder, direct injected, turbo petrol engine with a peak torque output of 250Nm that is available from 1200rpm till 5000rpm. This helps the car do 0-100 kph in 7.3 seconds. The power output of 177 bhp enables this car to reach a top speed of 224 kph.
This engine comes mated to a 7 speed, dual clutch, S-tronic automatic transmission. The engine feels ready to take off from the word go and is highly refined, even as you keep climbing towards the rev limit. The precise gear shifts and enthusiastic nature of the engine makes it a very enjoyable car. Things are quite similar with its diesel motor as well. The 35TDI engine is the same four cylinder engine that can be found in the Q3 but, with a slightly improved power output. In the A3, this 2.0L diesel engine pumps out a power output of 141bhp. Audi claims the A3 diesel can do 0-100 kph in 8.3 seconds.
The maximum torque output of 320Nm starts coming in from 1750rpm which indicates a slight turbo lag. But as soon as you cross the 2000rpm mark, there is no delay in the power delivery. The car is best enjoyed at around the 2500-4000rpm mark. The A3 35TDI comes standard with a 6-speed S-tronic gearbox and lacks any kind of rubberband effect. Audi claims a fuel efficiency of 20.38 kpl for the 35TDI variant which makes it the most fuel efficient car in its class. Audi has made sure that the cabin is quiet and pleasant at all speeds but some idle clatter still makes it through. Otherwise, there is no noise inside, the car behaves confidently at high speeds and encourages you to hit corners hard with its low profile tyres and very capable suspension system.
Build & Styling
If you are driving and an A3 comes up behind you, a quick look in the rear view mirror won't be enough to tell whether it's an A3, an A4 or an A6. That is the level of resemblance this car has with its bigger and more premium siblings and this isn———t a bad thing. Audi has simply sketched it out perfectly; a car that will appeal to the youth and to grown-ups equally with its sharp lines and typical Audi styling characteristics. The big air-inlets in its front bumper, full size front grille with chrome surround, LED daytime running lights and Xenon headlights make the face of this new car surprisingly fresh yet familiar. The side wheel arches, 17 inch alloy wheels and bold shoulder lines add to the muscular stance of this car. The pronounced rear profiling includes pinpoint LED tail lights which have been perfectly aligned with the sharp boot lip of the A3. This gives it a very dynamic appearance when seen from the back.
Even inside, the quality of materials used match Audi standards and offer lots of space for all its passengers thanks to a wheelbase of 2637mm. Be it the premium leather upholstery, buttons or fabric, nothing makes you feel that you are sitting in an economical car from a luxury car maker. Despite paying less than the other models, you get to enjoy many advanced features in its top variant which includes an Audi sound system, rear view camera, a sleek 7 inch high resolution retractable screen, MMI Touch with navigation plus in its centre console. The MMI control features Navigation with 3D Maps, a DVD Player, 2 SD card readers, 20 GB storage, Bluetooth Interface with Bluetooth Audio streaming and Audi Music Interface.
The A3 is a masterpiece from Audi which puts all facts and myths stating that you need to lower standards to make an affordable car aside. Its magnificent looks, performance and features leave no space for its rivals to run. The starting price for the A3 in India is INR 22.95 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). In fact, the A3 can soon become an indirect threat to cars which fall under lower price brackets as well.