The new Audi A3 is on the right side of change. Here’s why
With more connectivity, efficiency and style than ever, the Audi A3 continues to be ahead of the times in its class.
Life brings constant change, and with it, the chance for growth. Young father Jonathan Tan can attest to that. The social media manager for a healthcare group has seen his lifestyle evolve over time, especially now that he has a new family member to bring more excitement than ever to his active lifestyle – he’s an avid runner and mountain biker.
“My daughter came along and I felt like someone set off a box of firecrackers in my heart. That day, I said to myself: ‘I guess you’re now officially a grown man!’”
COMPACT, BUT ALL GROWN UP
Change and growth came to mind when Jonathan encountered the new Audi A3 Sportback. Now in its fourth generation, and also available as a sedan, the new A3 has grown up in all the ways that count.
Though it remains a compact car, its large grille conveys a sense of power, while the flared wheelarches and crisp lines give it a muscular look. Viewed from any angle, this is a car that looks like it punches above its weight.
At the same time, the slim new LED headlights, along with the eye-catching new tail-lights, add a modern, urbane touch. The A3 may be one of the more compact Audis, but its styling gives it the unmistakable road presence of its larger siblings.
THE INSIDE JOB
The family connection to Audi’s bigger models is present inside, too. The clean, sophisticated dashboard is a marvel of modern design. Stripped of all but the most essential buttons and switches, the new A3’s interior has an uncluttered, sleek design aesthetic.
Fine cabin materials and the solid build quality also exemplify how a compact car can also feel like a premium one.
The new A3 also has the look of a larger car inside, thanks to the clever use of an optical trick. Horizontal lines lead the eye across the sweep of the dashboard to emphasise its width, and that gives the front of the cabin a sense of space and roominess.
But if there’s one way the new A3 feels unusually grown-up, it’s in the way it embraces digital technology. The 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit plus was once reserved for Audi’s most expensive cars, but has made its way into the A3. It gives drivers the same bright, crisp display system that presents information clearly, and with the choice of three skins.
The new 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen system is just as sharp and clear. Design to be as easy to use and easy on the eye, its tile-based interface ensures that the Audi A3’s functions can be accessed with just few finger taps.
Seamless integration between the MMI system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes the A3 feel like an extension of a smartphone. That allows digital natives to stay connected on the road — but safely.
That’s not the only way the driver feels connected. The Audi A3 is a nimble car in traffic, and a stable one on the highway. Thanks to its precise steering and taut handling, every drive is an engaging experience.
MILD HYBRID, MAJOR ADVANCES
New technology ensures that the A3 can thrill the driver without costing the earth. It now has an advanced Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) system, a feature usually found in larger and more expensive cars, that adds a starter-generator and 48V lithium-ion battery to the A3’s powerful new 1.5-litre engine.
It captures energy through regenerative braking and allows the smoothest engine starts, which in turn enables prolonged engine shutdown to minimise fuel consumption. Even when it's on the move, the A3 is able to glide with the engine completely switched off, ready to restart instantly and seamlessly.
Clever driver aids show how more cutting-edge tech has migrated into the A3. The lane-keep assist system helps to keep the Audi safely in lane through gentle vibrations on the steering wheel if it detects that the driver is about to stray over the lane markings. Meanwhile, park assist with parking aid plus takes the stress out of slotting the A3 in or out of tight spots, by enabling it to steer itself automatically while the driver focuses on braking and accelerating.
“The technology we choose really matters. I think that’s why the Audi A3 impressed me so much,” said Jonathan. “Whether it’s the mild hybrid drivetrain, the connectivity, or the way it makes your life as a driver so much easier, it adds up to something that isn’t just another part of your everyday life, but something you want to experience every day.”
That much is par for the course for Audi’s A3. Through successive generations it has always brought sophistication to drivers in the compact car class, with features usually only reserved for more expensive cars. Life may change constantly, but that is one thing that has stayed the same.