What should I be paying?
An A3 Saloon will run you a little under £600 more spec-for-spec than the Sportback hatch, with prices kicking off at £24,375. That bags you a ’30 TFSI Sport’ with the 1.0-litre turbo triple and six-speed manual gearbox. Note: the Saloon misses out on the Sportback’s boggo ‘Technik’ spec, but that’s fine.
From Sport you can upgrade to S-Line (sportier styling, bigger wheels and firmer suspension), Edition 1 or Vorsprung, but there’s no real need as the standard spec is generous. All cars get LED headlights, dual-zone climate, parking sensors, cruise control and the full 10.1-inch infotainment system and ‘Virtual Cockpit’ LCD instrument cluster. S line adds sportier styling and lower, stiffer suspension, while Edition 1 and Vorspung specs are for folks who spec every single optional extra as a matter of course. They want for nothing and are therefore rather expensive, costing well over £30,000.
With a drag coefficient of just 0.25, the A3 Saloon is slipperier than the Sportback, which means it’s a bit more economical. Not so much more you’ll actually notice the difference, but every little helps and all that. The 35 TFSI S tronic (so the 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol with the auto box, and thus mild-hybrid assistance) we drove claims 47.9mpg and 134g/km of CO2, which isn’t bad at all and means you probably needn’t bother with the diesels (not that we’ve tried one yet).
All A3s get lane departure warning (it’ll nudge you back into your lane if you start to drift out of it), a ‘collision avoidance assistant’ that helps you steer around an obstacle the car thinks you might be about to hit, and a system called ‘pre sense front’ that can warn you of and, ultimately, help avoid accidents by slamming on the anchors. Oh, and lots of airbags, naturally.