From £22,9008
The only diesel engine to accompany the A3 saloon at its launch is smooth, refined, and of worthy consideration

Our Verdict

Audi A3 Saloon

Audi has aimed to follow on from the success of the A3 hatchback by turning it into Inglostadt's first compact executive saloon

What is it?

The only diesel-powered version of Audi's new A3 saloon to accompany the car at launch. The new car represents Audi's first foray into the compact executive saloon sector, with the A3 aimed particularly at the Chinese market. 

Rivalling Volvo's S60 D4 R-design and Mercedes' CLA, the A3 faces an uphill battle to prove itself against established models, but starts strong, beating its rivals with a CO2 output of just 107g/km compared to the Mercedes' 117g/km.

While the 2.0-TDI is more geared towards performance than economy, the car still has green credentials, rivalling the entry-level 1.4-litre TFSI petrol version's impressive 60.1mpg on a combined cycle with 67.3mpg.

The A3 saloon is both wider and longer than the A3 Sportback on which it is based, and also offers more load space.

What's it like?

In a word, refined. The A3 saloon feels like it goes naturally with this choice of engine. Power is very forthcoming, and the A3 feels much more alive than it does with the standard 1.4-litre petrol unit. Between 1750 and 3000rpm there's plenty of power on offer, beyond that the diesel engine seems to run out of puff. 

At launch the 2.0 TDI will get a six-speed manual gearbox, which unfortunately wasn't available to test. Instead the model driven here was fitted with Audi's S tronic automatic option which will follow later.

The gearbox coped well in almost every situation, as you'd expect given the well-proven DSG unit's extensive history. As with other A3 models steering is light and precise, but lacks any real feeling from the road. We did notice some noise intrusion when motorway cruising, too.

Those are small concerns, though, and overall this diesel A3 is very good. It feels planted thanks to a firm suspension setup, and Audi's drive-selection programme - which allows the driver to choose from comfort, dynamic, efficiency and several other modes mid-drive - helps to keep the A3 performing appropriately in any situation.

Should I buy one?

Considering the 2.0-litre TDI is tipped to be the cream of Audi's A3 saloon crop, it needs to perform well - and it does. 

With 148bhp on tap it never feels particularly short on power, while the engine's substantial torque ensures relatively effortless mid-range acceleration. 

The diesel unit is quiet, but feels lively when you need it to be, offering a pleasing blend of refinement and performance - and that's what the A3 saloon is all about.

Audi A3 saloon 2.0 TDI Sport

Price £25,755; Top speed 137mph; 0-62mph 8.7sec; Economy 67.3mpg; CO2 107g/km; Kerb weight 1390kg; Engine type 1968cc, 4 cyls, turbocharged diesel; Power 148bhp at 3500-4000rpm; Torque 236lb ft at 1750-3000rpm; Gearbox 7-spd automatic

Join the debate

Comments
12

19 June 2013

The price quoted above (£25755) is nearly £2.5k more than the equivalent A3 Sportback, is this right? Even assuming that price includes DSG it still seems more than the hatch. Not sure I'd pay more for less practicality even if Audi have done a good job on the styling.

19 June 2013

Shouldn't it be Audis return to the compact executive saloon sector, rather than its first foray?

This looks classy after the bling CLA (have you seen those rear lights?) but I'm surprised the review makes no mention of interior space compared to its rivals.

19 June 2013

catnip wrote:

Shouldn't it be Audis return to the compact executive saloon sector, rather than its first foray?

This looks classy after the bling CLA (have you seen those rear lights?) but I'm surprised the review makes no mention of interior space compared to its rivals.

With the way cars are increasing in size, probably true! I think this is Audi's first saloon in this class, but agree that it looks better than the CLA which, while a 4dr coupe, looks fussy and awkward. I saw one and although it looked striking, I wouldn't call it attractive!

19 June 2013

I find the array of Audi models, 'mind boggling'.

Be good to see an RS3 Avant

The Journey outshines the Arrival ...

19 June 2013

I assume Autocar means the V40 D4 as not only is the S60 in the class above, but the basic spec S60 D4 starts at around £28k and the R Design costs around £30k.

As for the A3 saloon's price. Ok £4k may not be small change, but unless economy and emissions are high on the list (which may be the case for fleet buyers) and you specifically require a car of that size, if you can stretch to it, an extra £4k will get you an A4 2.0 TDI 143 S Line, an A6 TDi 177 SE, a BMW M135i etc. A Golf GTi is the same price while its in house rivals, the Jetta TDi 140 Sport, is around £4k less. The equivalent 1-Series, the 118d Sport, costs £23k, and I doubt a saloon version would cost £2.5k more unlike the Audi.

19 June 2013

So, VAG couldn't be bothered to produce another slow selling Golf with a boot and call it a Bora. Instead, they thought they's charge £5k or so more and call it an Audi....

19 June 2013

Broughster wrote:

So, VAG couldn't be bothered to produce another slow selling Golf with a boot and call it a Bora. Instead, they thought they's charge £5k or so more and call it an Audi....

Ever heard of a VW Jetta?

19 June 2013

robhardyuk wrote:

Broughster wrote:

So, VAG couldn't be bothered to produce another slow selling Golf with a boot and call it a Bora. Instead, they thought they's charge £5k or so more and call it an Audi....

Ever heard of a VW Jetta?

indeed. And the fact that small saloons sell better that hatchbacks in other markets, like USA, Canada, China etc

19 June 2013

There's far too little a gap in the price of this compared to an A4.   What will happen probably is base models of the A4 will be deleted from the pricelists, and the next A4 will get bigger and more expensive.  So pay more get less in the long run, I think.  But the narrative about this in the press will be around 'increased choice' or the pretence of a new market sector, when it's just the maximisation of an existing one.  VAG has previous here -  Skoda Rapid and Octavia for instance

19 June 2013

Why? When you can pick up a new A6 S-Line auto with metallic for £26.5k, which has standard satnav and leather, in reality is cheaper than the A3 saloon!!? I do like it, but its way too expensive for what it is... 

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