Richard Bremner
31 July 2012

What is it?

We already know that the new, third-generation Audi A3 is a good thing, its chassis providing a smoother ride and defter handling besides. And when it’s powered by a revised, slightly lighter TFSI engine equipped with variable valve lift, you get 7.2sec 0-62mph sprinting potential and a competitive (if bettered by Alfa’s 121g/km Multiair TCT Giulietta) CO2 output of 130g/km, as well as a seven-speed S Tronic dual clutch transmission as standard.

What is it like?

It’s a combination that allows for effortlessly fast-paced progress, although your advance, surprisingly, will be slightly smoother if you paddle yourself, the transmission occasionally jerking and not always serving the ideal gear if your need for speed is acute. Manual overrides can sometimes expose a torque hole at the bottom end of the engine’s otherwise lusty mid-range delivery, too.

This engine makes quite good noises though, to produce a lightly satisfying drive despite these small criticisms. This is not a hot hatch or even a terribly warm one when it comes to tactile engagement – the slightly slow-acting steering doesn’t help here – but it’s capable enough to entertain and a very effective mile compactor. 

This new A3’s interior is even more finely crafted than the previous (impressive) iterations, and you can furnish yourself with a very pleasing cabin indeed with a modest foray into the colour and trim catalogue. The Sport trim sampled here provides racier seats, dual-zone climate control and sport suspension, although for no extra cost you can order the standard set-up which will almost certainly better suit British roads with no significant trade-off in body control unless you’re a track day lover.

Should I buy one?

If it’s a fast A3 that you want then this is the one for now, but as a more practical, cheaper-to-run all-rounder, we’d go for the 1.6 TDI.

Audi A3 1.8 TFSI Sport

Price £24,410; 0-62mph 7.2ec; Top speed: 144mph; Economy 50.3mpg; Co2 130g/km; Kerbweight 1250kg; Engine petrol, 1798cc; Power 178bhp at 5100-6200rpm; Torque 184lb ft at 1250-5000rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual clutch

Join the debate

Comments
15

"If it’s a fast A3 that you

1 year 51 weeks ago

"If it’s a fast A3 that you want then this is the one for now, but as a more practical, cheaper-to-run all-rounder, we’d go for the 1.6 TDI."

Once again, the diesel will have little benefit to the person doing 10k miles annually consisting of mainly urban driving.  It will be choked after a very short period of time and the owner will face massive repair bills.  So why blindly recommend the diesel variant? 

Nice but pricey!

1 year 51 weeks ago

It's a lovely car, just looks bloomin expensive compared to the previous version. I hope this price jump doesn't carry into the Golf Mk7 or it'll lose its competitive edge with the Focus et al.

The A3 leaves me rather cold.

1 year 51 weeks ago

The A3 leaves me rather cold. It's like there is something missing in its styling.

Volvophile wrote:

"If it’s a fast A3 that you want then this is the one for now, but as a more practical, cheaper-to-run all-rounder, we’d go for the 1.6 TDI."

Once again, the diesel will have little benefit to the person doing 10k miles annually consisting of mainly urban driving.  It will be choked after a very short period of time and the owner will face massive repair bills.  So why blindly recommend the diesel variant? 

Possibly because the majority of buyers will be company drivers. Although, I fail to see how the diesel version of the same car is more practical?

-----

10 years of Smart ownership over, sensible car mode activated

-

1 year 51 weeks ago

This looks to be a decent engine, and I'm glad Audi have made this car so light. But the car leaves me cold and the styling looks dated. Also, it's too much money.

Not the best model

1 year 51 weeks ago

I really like the new A3 but I don't really think it makes much sense in this guise. Can't see why they are limiting it to the DSG gearbox. The 2.0 TDI 150 is currently the best all rounder on paper with a nice combination of performance and economy. Don't think the 1.6 TDI is out yet but other than 99g emissions the bigger diesel makes more sense. They are also supposed to be bringing out a 1.4 TFSI with cylinder on demand technology at some point.

In reply to comments about price, I wouldn't pay much attention to the RRP. The leasing prices are exceptionally good some vendors are already advertising the 150 TDI Sport for £174.99+VAT on 6+23 CH deals, very tempting...

Another one!

1 year 51 weeks ago

Like London buses....none for an age, then three turn up at the same time,what a bvoring car anyway.

Peter Cavellini.

A34

"Mostly harmless"

1 year 51 weeks ago

... springs to mind as a description. Noted is that this is the 3door (so its a pseudo-sporty drive?); the 5door probably is quite nice as a high-cost posh-Golf / 1-Series competitor. Presumably the real-sporty set have to go for the 2.0TSi with Quattro? 

Volvophile wrote: "If it’s a

1 year 51 weeks ago

Volvophile wrote:

"If it’s a fast A3 that you want then this is the one for now, but as a more practical, cheaper-to-run all-rounder, we’d go for the 1.6 TDI."

Once again, the diesel will have little benefit to the person doing 10k miles annually consisting of mainly urban driving.  It will be choked after a very short period of time and the owner will face massive repair bills.  So why blindly recommend the diesel variant? 

Autocar are not alone in this, many publications seem to routinely recommend the diesel versions, including AE who have just recommended the 208 diesel over the Yaris hybrid, in a test obviously aimed at urban drivers. Things like particulate filter problems, slow heater warm up, etc just don't seem to get a mention.

catnip wrote: Volvophile

1 year 50 weeks ago

catnip wrote:

Volvophile wrote:

"If it’s a fast A3 that you want then this is the one for now, but as a more practical, cheaper-to-run all-rounder, we’d go for the 1.6 TDI."

Once again, the diesel will have little benefit to the person doing 10k miles annually consisting of mainly urban driving.  It will be choked after a very short period of time and the owner will face massive repair bills.  So why blindly recommend the diesel variant? 

Autocar are not alone in this, many publications seem to routinely recommend the diesel versions, including AE who have just recommended the 208 diesel over the Yaris hybrid, in a test obviously aimed at urban drivers. Things like particulate filter problems, slow heater warm up, etc just don't seem to get a mention.

Particulate filter problems? Slow heater warm up? Don't assume that diesels from non-VW group makes suffer.

Second that...

1 year 50 weeks ago

in fact you'd need to be doing over 25K miles a year to justify the price, twice as frequent servicing, smell of diesel when filling, clatter at start up, lack of refinement compared to petrol and -  car mags keep saying buy diesel when for most buyers this is a false economy which probably proves more expensive long term- start living in the real world journalists- of all the people I know who bought diesels, not one would buy another!

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Our Verdict

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

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