From the first glance, we can see that the Audi style office has been torn between two schools: evolving the current version which admitted all the same eight years of age or changing software. The first way won. By conforming to the latest codes of the ring firm, the fourth generation of the mother of premium compacts has lost its natural elegance in favor of unbridled dynamism. We will see if motorists adhere to this new A3 which readily passes for a large A1. In addition to the LED lights and rear flashing indicators, the shields are largely indented by air intakes, the enlarged honeycomb grille, the elongated muzzle betraying a length increased by 33 mm, the highly worked flanks and the widened wings are the features. highlights of a body which skips the 3-door version but will offer a three-body silhouette.
A closer look shows that, in response to the recently revamped BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class, Audi has focused on interior design, handling and efficiency. From installation on board, we can measure the change of era with the levitating door handles and the new dashboard, the main originality of which is based on two aerators perched on each side of the digital and customizable instrumentation cap. Measuring 10.1 inches from Business level instead of 8 inches as standard, the beveled, driver-oriented touchscreen blends perfectly into a sleek package. According to the same logic as in the other models of the brand, one navigates very easily in the various menus with the help of a finger. For this A3, modernity is also the head-up display which contributes to driving comfort (+ 980 euros), the gear lever of the S-Tronic automatic gearbox resting on an impulse button evoking that of the last Porsche 911, the battery of state-of-the-art driving aids and the seat fabric made from recycled bottles. If the widening of the bodywork benefits the width at the shoulders, the length at the legs does not change. As for the cargo volume, it gains 20 liters (380 liters) and we can now store the rear shelf under the trunk floor. If the new A3 quickly makes forget its predecessor, everything is not yet perfect. You should know this: the car only starts if the electronic key is installed in a pot in the central tunnel. Likewise, you should be able to deactivate the annoying lane departure warning with a shortcut key instead of having to venture into a submenu each time you start the engine. As for the presentation, it is always of high quality, but the plastics used, especially in the lower parts, demonstrate an obvious concern for economy.
At its launch, which begins with the start of deconfinement, the A3 Sportback is available with three engines, including the 1.5-liter 4-cylinder with direct gasoline injection equipped with the cut of two cylinders at constant speed and a light hybridization with a 12 hp alternator-starter powered by 48 volts by a lithium-ion battery. Not content with assisting the engine when starting, it can take over for 40 seconds at low speed to save 0.4 l / 100 km. For the same price (€ 29,200), you can also choose to drive with the 116-liter 2-liter diesel. This is the most economical solution: the 30 TDI is approved for 111 g / km of CO2, which corresponds to a consumption of 4.3 l / 100 km. Fans of flexible engines and more alert pickups will turn to the 35 TDI version of 150 hp associated with the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, as smooth as it is responsive at good speed and numb at start-up. For its part, the Stop & Start system has sometimes reserved brutal awakenings for us.
Once launched, the A3 shows great vitality that can really be exploited by highly efficient running gear. Progress in this area is evident compared to the older generation. Not content with better filtering, the chassis of our test model, which combined the multi-link rear axle (standard from 150 hp), piloted damping (+ € 1,120) and the sport suspension of the S Line finish lowering the body by 25 mm, could boast of offering a perfect compromise between dynamism and comfort. The engineers managed to find the right setting to offer a Sport mode that does not torture the vertebrae. The executive management was the finishing touch to this compact, really exciting to drive.
In our opinion
Renewing this bestseller is an art that Audi has perfectly accommodated. The last A3 successfully shed. Certainly, the style will not be able to please everyone but the digital interface is a model of its kind and the chassis offers the dynamism that hitherto lacked in the compact rings, to the point of overshadowing the BMW Series 1. However, if it maintains elite prices, within the VW group, the A3 no longer has the privilege of the most refined equipment, losing a bit of its exclusive character.
Capacity: 1 968 cm3
Type: 4-cyl. Diesel turbo
Power: 150 hp from 3,000 to 4,200 rpm
Torque: 360 Nm from 1,700 to 2,750 rpm
Transmission: Traction, Automatic transmission. 7 reports
Dimensions (L / W / H): 4,343 x 1,816 x 1,425 mm
Safe: 380 liters
Weight: 1,485 kg
Performance (0-100 km / h): 8.4 seconds
Speed: 224 km / h
Consumption (EU mixed): 4.5 l / 100 km
CO2 emissions: 119 g / km
Price: 34 050 €