From £16,370
Stop-start aids economy, but the price conscious may prefer a VW

Our Verdict

Audi A3
As it stands, the A3 accounts for every fifth Audi registered worldwide

The Audi A3 is now in its third-generation and the premium hatchback ups the ante on quality once more

  • First Drive

    Audi A3 1.6 TDI Sport first drive review

    Most frugal model in the Audi A3 range thrills with impressive economy, but it lacks dynamic sparkle
  • First Drive

    Audi A3 2.0 TDI Sport

    Our first drive of the new Audi A3 in the UK has revealed it to be a good, capable companion if slightly lacking in ambition
29 December 2009

What is it?

This is an otherwise familiar A3 fitted with Audi’s new 1.6-litre common rail diesel engine, featuring a stop-start system and braking energy recuperation tech to deliver just 109g/km of CO2 and a claimed combined economy figure of 68.9mpg.

The engine replaces the 1.9-litre unit previously fitted to the TDI and TDIe A3 and A3 Cabriolets.

What’s it like?

Engine aside, this is a regular A3, so you get a solid, refined quality interior, handsome looks and a degree of premium badge kudos.

Under the bonnet, that new diesel engine delivers smooth and refined power once on the move, but with just 104bhp available performance isn’t stunning.

Also, it’s gruff at start-up and tickover, so the stop-start function can make its presence felt. It’s not intrusive but it’s certainly noticeable, and the switch from cabin silence to background diesel grumble, and back again, takes some getting used too.

However, the payoff contributes to those impressive CO2 and mpg figures, with economy in the mid to high-50s within easy reach and 60-plus mpg achievable without compromising your driving style to an extreme degree.

Should I buy one?

If you’re after a frugal premium diesel hatch then the Audi’s economy and CO2 figures are hard to ignore.

Taken within the context of the A3 range the 1.6 TDI makes economic sense, but the Audi’s price premium over a Golf using essentially the same 1.6-litre engine in regular TDI or Bluemotion form may have you tempted to head in VW’s direction.

Join the debate

Comments
18

6 January 2010

Back in October 2009 on Autocar website concerning A3 1.4TSi Sportback stated:

''Biggest bugbear is ride, similar to others in Audi range, car rattling unnecessarily over small scars in road''.

Does this apply to all Audis? Did that apply to this A3 1.6TDi? it have the standard suspension? Or did the 1.4TSi have the Sport suspension?

BH

6 January 2010

Hello, price as tested £24,695??? For a 1.6 diesel economy hatch!!!! JOKE?

Base price is £19,890 for this economy version, even if you wanted an economy A3 over a Golf, you can by the basic 1.6 petrol for £15,770...Only gives you £4k start in running costs over this supposedly basic economical version! You`d have to be an extreme CO2 nut to want this version!

6 January 2010

I agree, or just a plain nut.

6 January 2010

The A3 is looking and feeling old and, bar it's interior quality, there's probably not much going for this car.....apart from the badge. Launched in 2002 - isn't it time there was a Mk3? Unless they choose to follow VW's lead and facelift the previous model but call it an all-new car!

6 January 2010

[quote Wanger]

Hello, price as tested £24,695??? For a 1.6 diesel economy hatch!!!! JOKE?

Base price is £19,890 for this economy version

[/quote]

It's Autocar again with it's strange 'as tested' figure..

A3 3-door 1.6TDI Standard - £18,040 OTR 109 CO2

Golf 3-door 1.6TDI 105 S - £17,315 OTR 119 CO2

Golf 3-door 1.6TDI Bluemotion - £18,100 OTR 99 CO2

The Audi doesn't seem bad value with its standard alloys and leather steering wheel over the Golf 'S'

6 January 2010

[quote Abarthuk.com]

It's Autocar again with it's strange 'as tested' figure..

A3 3-door 1.6TDI Standard - £18,040 OTR 109 CO2

Golf 3-door 1.6TDI 105 S -  £17,315 OTR 119 CO2

Golf 3-door 1.6TDI Bluemotion - £18,100 OTR 99 CO2

The Audi doesn't seem bad value with its standard alloys and leather steering wheel over the Golf 'S'

[/quote] And the equivalent Focus lists at £18,895! On that basis, who wouldn't choose the Audi?

6 January 2010

[quote Abarthuk.com]It's Autocar again with it's strange 'as tested' figure..[/quote] I don't see it as strange, as the base price is listed, but they also state the cost of the model they tested. Blame the manufacturers for supplying fully kitted out versions. The "as tested" is so we can't complain when the photos show sat nav/larger alloys etc. I do wish press cars from manufacturers would more closely represent what we buy - the lower end petrols, diesels, as opposed to fully kitted out V6s etc. Having said that, apparently the Superb 170cr is outselling the 140cr, which was not expected - nor was the higher trim specs selling more than the lower specs!

6 January 2010

Perhaps Autocar would like to tell their readers that the £19,890 is for the 'Sport' version then. Rather than confusing the issue and saying that a Golf with the same engine is much cheaper..

6 January 2010

[quote Abarthuk.com]Perhaps Autocar would like to tell their readers that the £19,890 is for the 'Sport' version then. Rather than confusing the issue and saying that a Golf with the same engine is much cheaper..[/quote] Agree that that would seem to be the best way forward!

7 January 2010

Sorry, my mistake - Sport name now added. Thanks.

Also, there's some price changes due to the New Year, but when the piece was written the list price was £20,440 inc OTR costs with price as tested at £24,695.

Options break down as follows:
Metallic paint £500
Mineral Grey Vienna Leather £1000
Interior lighting pack £145
Mobile phone £385
Audi Music Interface £250.00
Light and rain sensor pack £325
Satellite Navigation system £1,650

Extras inc paint and leather total £4225

Jim Holder

Editor, Autocar

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