Welcome to, erm, the fourth Volkswagen Golf launched in as many months. We had Skoda, Seat and Volkswagen itself, and now, men and women of the Internet, we can introduce you to Audi. And here, the VW group’s C-segment sedan is finally complete.
As you’d expect, little looks new on the surface – the new A3 still looks a bit like the car it replaces – but take a close look and you’ll see the triggered grill, the gaping head and tail lights and sharper creases in metalworking.
Inside, things are different: in the old A3, for example, the infotainment screen moved down to the top of the dashboard when not in use. The new car replaces this configuration with a fixed touchscreen, which you will recognize from all the other Audis, set in the dashboard itself instead of “floating” above and before it. Physical climate controls remain: the new Leon, Octavia and Golf have all become touch sensitive. In fact, all of these cars share a basic interior architecture, but Audi has been allowed to continue doing its own thing. That is good.
In terms of size, the new A3 is tall and has the same pitch as the outgoing car, but is longer and wider. As a result, passengers get a little more space and the driver sits lower than before to “emphasize the dynamic character of the new A3”. The boot has dimensions between 380 and 1200 liters.
Starting from the launch, two engines will be available: a 1.5-liter petrol with a manual or a 2.0-liter diesel with a car, both at around 148 hp. Immediately after the launch, gasoline gets the opportunity to use a DSG and slightly hybrid technology, increasing power and torque and improving fuel consumption. Then more petrol and diesel engines will be added to the range, some with quattro all-wheel drive (such as the 300bhp-plus S3). There will also be a plug-in hybrid.
Of course, all the latest assisted driving and active safety systems are present and justified (including Car-to-X communication that allows the A3 to communicate with other surrounding cars and infrastructures) and we are promised “more agile, fluid and safe “Handling thanks to the revised suspension. Cars with over 148 HP have a multi-link rear axle, while those with less have a cheaper torsion radius.
Prices? We know them. Gasoline starts at £ 24,900 and diesel starts at £ 28,250. The most expensive car available at launch, the diesel “Vorsprung” specification, costs £ 43,040. The first cars arrive in the UK in May.
What do you think about it? New A3 or stick with the Golf? Or maybe the Mercedes A-Class or the BMW 1 Series?