Audi hatchback gets a facelift; Sportback gets range-topping S3 model
24 April 2008

Audi has revealed the freshly facelifted A3. Shown here is the new S3 Sportback, the most significant new addition to Audi’s revised A3 line-up.The S3 was previously only available in three-door form, but now Audi has fitted the 261bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and quattro four-wheel drive to the more practical five-door variant. It will go on sale along with the rest of the facelifted A3 range later this year.The new exterior design may look familiar, as it appeared on the A3 Cabriolet launched earlier this year. The most distinguishing new features are daytime running lights, which come as standard on all new models, and a revised rear bumper and tail lights. Other updates for the new model include optional parking assist, new interior switchgear and aluminium inserts, and a reversible liner in the boot. Despite the apparently minor changes, the A3 three-door has grown in length by 250mm; the Sportback’s dimensions remain unchanged.

New tech: magnetic ride and S-tronic gearbox

One of the most significant new technologies to feature on the new A3 has been dubbed ‘Audi magnetic ride’. The car’s shock absorbers are filled with magneto-rheological fluid that responds instantly to electricity, allowing the driver to choose between normal and sport-mode options.This option will only be available on higher-powered petrol models - the 1.8 and 2.0 TFSI - as well as both 2.0 TDI models. As with the previous model, all A3s have a six-speed manual as standard with the exception of the 1.9 TDI, which has a five-speed, and the 3.2 Quattro, which gets a manual or a dual-clutch, six-speed S-tronic gearbox. However, the 2009-model A3 will have S-tronic available as a cost option across the whole range. The engine line-up will remain the same, although the 2.0-litre TDI engines will now use more efficient common-rail injection, and Audi has made minor changes to many of the petrol engines, improving their efficiency by up to 15 per cent.No UK prices have been announced, but senior sources at Audi claim that prices should remain virtually unchanged from the current prices, which start at £15,550.

Our Verdict

Audi A3 hero front

Third-gen Audi A3 gets a mild facelift, more equipment, some new engines and a new hot model - but is it the cream of the premium hatch crop?

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Vicky Parrott

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24 April 2008

If Ford came out with this they'd deservedly be hammered for the tedium and blandness of the design. Just coz it has an Audi badge makes no difference. The new A3 is as exciting as cardboard which will probably appeal to its target market of trainee accountantszzzzz

24 April 2008

Ok, im going to break with current tradition and say something positive about an Audi:

I quite like this mild refresh as it doesnt date the current model too much. Guess its still a good couple of years before an all-new model arrives. LOVE the rear lights. Im guessing the 5dr is the better seller so its suprising they've waited this long to inroduce an S3 version.

Ok thats the positive stuff over - Alot of money has probably been spent on the magnetic ride option which will only be purchased by a small percentage of buyers - Might have been better spending the cash on improving the standard springs and dampers across the range.

And im still no fan of those daytime running lights and that grille!

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