The best of the segment? New Audi A3 Sportback S Line 30 TDI tested – 45 Seconds

It doesn't always happen, but when it does, it's good that we have the right car for the occasion. It happened in the days when I had the new one Audi A3 Sportback, here in the “flavor” S Line 30 TDI, which coincided with the need to travel 600 km on the same day.

There is no better test for determining the vices and virtues of an automobile than a long trip. And more, with (almost) exhausted …

Several hours behind the wheel and hundreds of kilometers later – spread over motorways, expressways and especially many national roads (EN) – has the A3 been up to the task?

At first I had some doubts

After all, not only was the car loaded (with people and luggage) and the 30 TDI in the rear translates to "only" 116 hp taken from the 2.0 TDI; like an S Line, the ground clearance is 15mm lower and the seats are sporty – they don't seem like the best ingredients for dealing with long periods of driving or on roads that have seen better days.

It didn't take much to realize that the fears were unfounded. The Audi A3 Sportback S Line 30 TDI has proven to be a born striker, very well suited to this type of use.

The best of the segment New Audi A3 Sportback S - The best of the segment? New Audi A3 Sportback S Line 30 TDI tested - 45 Seconds

With the S Line we also have a more aggressive styling front, perhaps too aggressive … After all, this is a 116 hp 2.0 TDI, not a 310 hp 2.0 TFSI, like in the new S3. © Thom V. Esveld / Raison automobile

2.0 TDI continues to convince

Let's start with the engine. This is the second time that I have dealt with the new 2.0 TDI, which in this 116 hp version replaces the previous 1.6 TDI. The first was with the 'cousin', and also a new Volkswagen Golf which I tested not long ago.

In Golf, the engine was quite convincing. As I mentioned at the time, cubic centimeters over 2000 vs. 1600 give you superior uptime at any rpm. I have not had the opportunity to drive loaded in Golf, but in A3, with four on board, the 2.0 TDI's fears of being “short” did not materialize – they are still “fat” at 300 Nm torque from 1600 rpm – and again, convinced me of its merits.

With just 116bhp we won’t win any races, that's true, but even in this context – full car and long haul – the 2.0 TDI proved to be more than adequate and up to the task.

Best of all? Consumption. Even without paying much attention to the type of driving adopted on this trip – there were several times when the right pedal “crashed” – they were between 4.3 l / 100 km and 4.8 l / 100 km .

Otherwise, consumption is identical to that obtained in Golf: less than four liters at moderate and stabilized speed, skimming the five liters on the motorway, exceeding only six in urban or aggressive driving.

S Line, a good compromise?

When I saw the little S Line emblem on the side of the Audi A3, I assumed that on more degraded roads, firmer damping and reduced ground clearance would result in discomfort. Fortunately, it was none of these …

In fact, the trade-off between comfort and handling was one of the things that surprised us the most. Yes, sometimes it feels like the cushioning is dry in certain irregularities, but the S Line is still comfortable – no one on board complained about the lack of comfort …

As I mentioned earlier, this S Line had sports seats, an item included in the optional S Line interior package. And if there is one option that would not do without the almost 13,000 euros of options – yes, they read well … almost 13 thousand euros of options (!) – that would be this package, just because it includes these really good banks.

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After 600 km, the driver's seat has become my favorite article on the A3. © Thom V. Esveld / Raison automobile

Not only do they have a good appearance that is up to “sport”, but they hold the body effectively and are covered with a material which is very pleasant to the touch. And they still achieve the feat of being comfortable, proof of long journeys.

More stradist qualities

The driving qualities of the Audi A3 Sportback S Line 30 TDI are not limited to the competent engine and the good comfort found. Living up to the brand's reputation, we have very good isolation and sophistication on board. Even on high-speed highways, you don't have to raise your voice; mechanical, aerodynamic and rolling noise are always contained – one of the best in the segment.

The solidly assembled interior that we come across also contributes to this – one of the best in the segment. A level above what can be found in the Class A archival and in line with that of the 1 Series, the other member of the "German custom trio".

1598363656 155 The best of the segment New Audi A3 Sportback S - The best of the segment? New Audi A3 Sportback S Line 30 TDI tested - 45 Seconds

The predecessor had a more simple and elegant interior. The driver's ventilation outlets are conveniently positioned, but their overall visual integration leaves a lot to be desired, not contributing to the overall appeal of the design. © Thom V. Esveld / Raison automobile

Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of the interior that adorns the fourth generation of the Audi A3 – the previous one had more… class – but it's curious that, unlike the Golf, with which the A3 shares so much, Audi has chosen not to "dive" so much into its digitization and removal of buttons, distancing itself from the more refined appearance of the Golf or the futuristic of the A-Class.

The most common functions use buttons or switches and the truth is… it works best. You don't have to take your eyes off the road for that long or that long, and usually you don't have to watch at all to access certain features. There is still room to improve the interaction in some ways – see the gallery below:

The king of the highway

Finally, if there's one characteristic that stands out in the Audi A3's arsenal of roadster qualities, it's its seemingly intact stability. This is a dynamic trait that he shares with Golf and continues to surprise on the A3 – This is surprising, because it's something we usually only find a segment or two above …

And the faster, more stable and more serene the A3 is, as logical as it sounds. For those who spend their lives on the motorway, I still haven't found anything better in the segment to go there – super stable and very well soundproofed, this is the perfect partner.

So much stability is also reflected in the curves, in a faster ride. The behavior of the Audi A3 Sportback is characterized by being very efficient, predictable and safe, with high levels of grip, even when the aids are deactivated (stability and traction control) and even when they are provoked. It's not at all the most fun car to drive or explore, but its high skill is hardly … boring.

1598363660 511 The best of the segment New Audi A3 Sportback S - The best of the segment? New Audi A3 Sportback S Line 30 TDI tested - 45 Seconds

The manual gearbox does not collide with this 30 TDI. Its feel is positively mechanical and a bit lighter than that found in the Golf with the same engine, the offset is well adjusted to the engine, and only a smaller, smaller stick would be appreciated – it appears to have been designed for basketball players. © Thom V. Esveld / Raison automobile

Despite so much sharing with the Golf I have tested – including the same combination of engine and gearbox (manual) – all the controls have a slightly lighter feel and are more pleasant to use, still very precise, this which contributes to a more… smooth driving experience.

Is this the right car for me?

After about 600 km of the most varied roads and rhythms, reaching the end of this long day, without great signs of fatigue and without bodily complaints, says a lot about the quality of the Audi A3 Sportback as a partner for long races. journeys.

Even if it is not the model that offers the most space in the segment – the dimensions are identical to those of the predecessor, one of the aspects in which it has not evolved -, it is in sufficient quantity to guarantee numerous Comfortable kilometers to the rear occupants – as long as there are two, not three (the center passenger is compromised in space and comfort).

As I mentioned in the Golf test, the choice of the 2.0 TDI only really makes sense if it comes to covering many kilometers – the difference of almost 4000 euros for the 30 TFSI, petrol 110 hp, enough for a lot of gasoline.

And speaking of euros …

The Audi A3 Sportback under study premium, you would expect a high price. In the case of this S Line, the price starts at 35 thousand euros, far from being affordable, but in the "best tradition" premium, we still have extras … almost 13,000 euros in supplements, which puts the price of this Audi A3 beyond reasonable, approaching 48 thousand euros!

Do we need all of the many options it brings? Barely … And even so, I detected shortcomings in the equipment brought: the mirrors are electric, but they do not fold; and although there are ventilation vents on the back, there are no USB ports that were missed during the trip.

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