Breadcrumbs

Audi A3

Car details navigation

Audi A3
7/10

Overall
verdict

The definitive example of rock-solid, sensible, impeccable German engineering.

Additional Info

  • Top Gear wildcard

    If the new A3’s green credentials impress, so too may the Lexus CT 200h

  • Our choice

    A3 2.0 TDI 150 Sport 3d 2012

    Price £22,730

    BHP 150

    LB FT 236

    MPG 68

    CO2 106

    0-62 MPH 8.60

    Top Speed 134

  • Next steps

    Powered by motoring.co.uk

What is it?

This is the all-new Audi A3. If you’re thinking it looks just like the old one – a very familiar model, given how it ran for more years than is normal in this sector – then join the club. This is Audi doing what Audi always does: design evolution rather than revolution. It’s a very purist way of doing things, which relies on people having the patience to, basically, give it time. Then, the crisper panels and less chubby-puppy appearance become clear. How many in this fashion-conscious sector will, though?

Following the Vorsprung Durch Technik mantra, the interesting stuff is hidden beneath the surface. This third generation A3 debuts the new Volkswagen Group MQB platform, upon which around 10 million cars a year will be built. It’s clever, highly flexible and features some technical jewels that help make the A3 much more premium-feel than before – such as aluminium front wings and bonnet, cast aluminium front subframe, even a cast magnesium centre armrest bracket. They don’t come cheap but do help distinguish the A3 from mainstream alternatives.

Driving

Because the new A3 has been engineered to use lightweight parts, particularly up front, it has a lithe lightness on the road that the old A3 never had. Seriously – the handling is light-footed and playful in a way no mainstream Audi has yet managed. It grips hard, hardly understeers, even generates a semblance of feedback through the steering. Audi also offers three levels of suspension stiffness plus a trick magnetic ride option.

The A3 is offered with four engines, a sweet 1.4 TFSI and a punchy, silky-smooth 1.8 TFSI. There’s a frugal 1.6 TDI but the diesel most will prefer is the 150bhp 2.0-litre TDI. Again, this is all-new, and is astonishingly quiet. Nothing wrong with its power, punch or freedom to rev, either.

 

On the inside

The new A3 was launched as a three-door but the five-door Sportback is now out too. More will follow, including a four-door saloon, but all will share one thing: an absolutely gorgeous interior, with top-level, class-defining fit and finish. The old A3 was, despite its age, at the top of its game in this area: the new one simply extends this leadership further, while bringing new features to the table too. These include onboard internet, fingertip recognition sat nav entry and Audi drive select.

Owning

All the lightweight engineering that goes into the new A3 pays dividends for fuel economy, too. The 2.0 diesel emits just 106g/km CO2. Launch cars are well stocked, despite equipment-adjusted prices broadly in line with the old car.

Now share it...

Latest road tests

7/10 Audi A3 S3 S tronic driven
July 2013
7/10 Audi A3 Sportback 2.0-litre TDI driven
January 2013
7/10 Audi A3 2.0-litre TDI Sport driven
August 2012
6/10 Audi A3 RS3
March 2011
7/10 Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI driven
October 2010
4/10 Audi A3 1.6 TDI Sport stop-start
June 2010
7/10 Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.6 Diesel
January 2010
7/10 Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sport
March 2008

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.