Audi A3 saloon: Three to Tango

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Audi is preparing to launch one of its most important new cars, the new A3 saloon, this year. Audi is preparing to launch one of its most important new cars, the new A3 saloon, this year.
SummaryUnlike its German compatriots, Audi perhaps believes our market isn’t ready for luxury hatches yet and that a saloon is a more attractive alternative. It could be right

expected to be super efficient and will help give Audi the most competitive price point. Now 103.5 bhp may not seem like a lot, but 25.5 kgm of pulling power is more than sufficient, especially since the A3 weighs less than 1,300 kg.

The 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol is actually the same one used in the Skoda Octavia and here too it produces 178 bhp and 25.5 kgm of torque. We love this engine’s combination of smoothness, refinement and outright power, and you can expect the A3 equipped with this engine to perform really well. Both engines will get automatic gearboxes and Audi, as on the Q3, will also offer a six-speed manual gearbox to help give one of its models a killer price. Audi’s patented quattro or four-wheel drive system is, however, not likely to make it to the A3.

What’s it like to drive?

We drove the A3 saloon with the 1.6 TDI engine in Europe and were impressed by how refined the car was. There’s very little noise from the engine, tyres or suspension, even at high speeds and this gives you a feeling of travelling in a large, expensive car. The car cruises happily on a light throttle, and you can even overtake quite easily when you drop a gear. In fact, performance is so good on full throttle; you can feel the front wheels fighting for grip as you accelerate. One thing’s for sure, this new 1.6 TDI sure feels like a larger capacity engine. Outright performance, it must be said, isn’t spectacular however. But remember, if you want more power, you can opt for either of the other two engines.

Like with most Audis, the steering also feels very light and doesn’t feel very engaging. You feel a bit detached from the action initially and that can be a bit disconcerting. Soon, however, you begin to appreciate the accuracy of the steering system. It may be inert and lack feel, but it works accurately and allows you to drive the car in an effortless manner.

Also, quite amazingly, the car felt very stable in a straight line and holding onto

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