Audi A3 Saloon Interior Layout & Technology | Top Gear
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Thursday 8th June


What is it like on the inside?

We know that beneath the surface the A3 shares much with the Golf, Leon and Octavia. But while those cars have always looked and felt pretty similar inside (for better and for worse), the A3 tends to forge its own path. The last-gen car was a real highlight, with superb material quality, expensive-feeling switchgear and a thoughtful, calming layout. Which is why it’s a bit sad it’s all change for the new car, which feels a bit cheaper than an Audi ought to.

But then Audi had to make room for its latest MMI infotainment system, which uses a hefty but crisp 10.1-inch display integrated into the dash rather than perched tablet-style on top. The interface is excellent, but a touchscreen will always be more distracting than the clickwheel and hot-keys you still get in BMWs, and you have to live with smeary fingerprints all over your screen’s glossy surface. At least you still get physical climate controls beneath, which are massively more intuitive than the Golf’s touch-sensitive sliders.

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The more angular design of the dashboard itself feels and looks a bit overwrought, but the cabin remains a nice enough place to while away the hours, with a good driving position and comfortable, supportive seats. That said, the S line sports seats’ integrated headrests might make rear-seat passengers feel a bit claustrophobic.

As for space – the A3 Saloon actually has a bigger boot than the Sportback. It’s just a much less useful shape. You can fold the rear seats down and thread long things through up to the backs of the front seats, but the Sportback gives more flexibility. For people sat in the back legroom is fine, but headroom is a tad compromised over the hatchback because of the lower roofline.

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