Unlike its rivals Audi decided to skip the luxury hatchback route instead go the sedan way by launching the A3 and that has paid off as the A3 has got a great start. But then the A3 sedan has always been destined for success as being the entry-level sedan in the Audi range will be tempting for luxury car buyers. There are two engines on offer with the A3 40 TFSI and 35 TDI and here we have tested the diesel. So how good is the next big Audi? Read on.
Looks good eh?
You bet. The Audi A3 sedan looks fantastic and actually has its own visual identity while still following the trademark Audi design language. The compact proportions (4.46 meters length), short overhangs and wheel arches accentuate the muscle in the styling and the design is simple but interesting nevertheless.
The front-end carries the usual Audi design details like the grille, Xenon headlamps with LED DRLs, but it is the side view with the big 17 inch alloys, coupe like styling that make it really sporty. The rear with the slim tail-lights blends in perfectly with the sharp lines. Unlike the A4 the A3 sedan looks best in red or the blue colour that you see here and subtle paint shades are not for this baby Audi as despite being compact the A3 sedan has got presence in bucket loads.
Hmm what about the interiors?
If you like the exteriors then you are in for a treat as the interiors are even better. The cabin of the A3 sedan is just stunning and anyone who knows their cars would know Audi make one of the best interiors in the business. For the A3 sedan Audi have upped the game and made it even better in form a TT inspired minimalistic cabin which reeks in quality. Forget boring beige this black interior with a dash of blue just looks perfect and the quality makes you think that you are in a much more expensive car.
Yes it is that good. The funky air con vents, clutter free centre-console and the usual superb looking Audi instruments make the cabin really special. Get in and the 7 inch MMI screen pops out which is neat and as you know it contains everything from navigation , audio, Bluetooth, powered front seats etc. Also just like the other Audis it is intuitive and reduces the number of buttons.
The feature list is understandably long and includes a superb 10 speaker audio system, panoramic glass sunroof, dual-zone electronic climate control, touchpad with handwriting recognition etc. Space wise it is obviously not as roomy as the A4 and clearly the focus is on the bloke behind the steering wheel. Space is a bit tight at the rear and headroom is in short supply and it is best suited for two passengers.
How is it to drive?
Was waiting for you to ask that question as it's without doubt one of the main reasons to buy the A3. There are two engine options - a 1.8 TSI petrol and a 2.0 TDI diesel. These two are familiar engines and here we have the 35 TDI aka the diesel. This new naming system actually denotes the performance of the said engine. For example the A3 petrol goes to 100 kmph faster than the diesel (7.3 secs vs 8.6 secs) hence is named 40 TFSI instead of 35 TDI that the diesel is called.
While the 178 bhp petrol sounds delicious considering how much we love the same engine in the Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI it is the diesel that will be more popular and that is why we have that today with us.
The numbers are 141 bhp and 320 Nm of torque plus factor in the six-speed S-Tronic gearbox and the compact size then the A3 is very quick indeed. Put it in the 'S' mode and A3 is fast and offers strong performance with more revs on offer than the 'D' mode which is more suited for everyday traffic conditions. Even in 'D' mode there is hardly any lag but the manual and 'S' mode make it more fun to drive.
Suffice to say we had it in the 'S' mode all the time where in the early morning empty roads the A3 did 150 kmph with ease and continued to pull strongly. Based on the MQB platform the A3 sedan is light which not only helps it in the handling department but also contributes in excellent efficiency figure of 20.3 kmpl.
What about the ride and handling?
The A3 sedan is front wheel drive and one of the most agile out there with superb body control displayed in the corners. You can carry speed in the corners and the A3 sedan never disappoints with excellent grip plus the direct steering gives you the confidence to push for more. Praise must also go for the superb brakes.
When it comes to ride quality the A3 sedan clearly demonstrates its intentions of being a sports sedan and we like it that way. It is not soft but neither it is in any ways firm instead being just about perfect.
The A3 Sedan diesel is available in four trim levels while the petrol only gets one fully loaded trim level. The base variant price is Rs 22.95 lakh which frankly makes the A3 Sedan a steal considering what you are getting. The top-end diesel will cost you around Rs 32.5 lakh.
What we really like about the A3 is that it dosen't skimp on the full Audi experience with its fabulous cabin and great looks. It is also fun to drive and clearly it is best enjoyed from behind the steering wheel. All this at a price which makes its competition look overpriced, what more can you ask for?