2017 Audi A3 Sport quattro Road Test and Review…
From its first incarnation back in 1996, through pretty much every model since, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the little Audi.
It’s always been a great car, but the latest version is unquestionably the best.
The A3 has grown up. It delivers the luxury and performance expected in bigger cars - but the A3 puts it all in a package that is exactly the right size for city living.
It’s a really handsome car, it gives off an air of elegance and sophistication, all while looking rather sporty.
And it is rather sporty to drive.
The test car came with the brilliant 2.0 TFSI petrol engine mated to a 7-Speed dual clutch automatic.
It’s a really perky combination, developing 140kW and 320Nm, it’ll do the 100km/h sprint in just 6.2 seconds.
The engine sounds great and just loves to rev - it’s a lot of fun to punt around enthusiastically.
You can take manual control of the best example yet of the DSG gearbox for even more fun.
The quattro all-wheel drive system provides loads of traction whatever the weather.
The ride is compliant yet poised.
The A3 always seems ready for a fast sweeping corner or tight hairpin bend. It changes directly quickly and confidently and the steering provides plenty of feedback.
Whilst the A3 has a bit of a sporting bent, it doesn’t have a thirst to match.
Unusually, I was easily able to match the manufacturer’s consumption claim of 6.1 litres per 100km - after a couple of big freeway runs I saw the number dip down into the 5’s.
The exterior of the A3 is a looker, but it’s all about the cabin.
To start with, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit has to be seen to be believed. Crisp, high resolution digital images take the place of analogue dials.
You can configure it any way you want - I particularly like the view that has the Google Map images taking centre stage, with the speedo and tacho sitting neatly at either side of the display.
It tells you the speed limit of the road you’re driving on, displays the radio station you’re listening to, gives you fuel consumption figures and the normal trip information, and even tells you who is calling if your phone rings.
Unlike a lot of new cars these days, all round visibility is excellent.
Sure you get the usual suite of sensors and a rear view camera, but in the A3 you don’t have enormous A-Pillars you have to stretch to look around - it’s refreshing to find a car so easy to see out of.
The fabric on the seats is beautiful to look at and it feels great.
Unless I had kids with grubby, sticky fingers to transport, I’d choose it over the leather option any day.
All the materials inside look and feel like the highest quality.
The way the dash is laid out, the way all the switchgear falls easily to hand, and the easy to understand infotainment system all make for a really enjoyable experience.
There’s plenty of space inside. Rear legroom is a bit cramped, but in the front it’s light and airy, and the boot is nothing short of enormous.
The Audi A3 has plenty of competition.
For a premium luxury small car, the Audi A3 represents pretty good value at $51,100.
Sure, you can go mad with the options list, but even without spending one extra cent, the Audi A3 delivers everything you could want and more.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2017 Audi A3 Sport quattro
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo petrol four-cylinder developing 140kW and 320Nm
Transmission: seven-speed dual clutch automatic
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: Three years
Price: from $51,100