The range-topping S3 sprints to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds. Picture: SUPPLIED
The range-topping S3 sprints to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds. Picture: SUPPLIED

Just over a year after its international unveiling, the new-generation Audi A3 has arrived in SA.

Still one of Audi’s most popular model ranges despite a customer mass migration to crossovers such as the Q2 and Q3, the new A3 comes in five-door Sportback and four-door sedan models, including high-performance S3 variants.

Sharing the MQB platform with the new eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf, Audi’s premium compact car adopts a bolder design with a larger single-frame grille and more prominent wheel arches.

“Smart” Matrix LED headlights are a new option that provide maximum road illumination without blinding other road users.

Both body styles of the new A3 are slightly longer and wider than their predecessors, though the wheelbase is unchanged. Interior space has grown a little but boot space is unchanged, with the Sportback offering 380l and the sedan 425l.

The interior’s undergone a major restyle, becoming more digitised and driver focused. Trapezoidal air vents have replaced the previous round ones, and the gear lever has shrunk to stub.

A digital instrument cluster comes standard, along with a touchscreen infotainment system that recognises letters entered by hand, provides acoustic feedback, and can be voice controlled.

Smartphone pairing via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be done wirelessly, and the car offers inductive smartphone charging.

The new A3 ushers in Car-to-X services such as an SOS button for emergencies, and the car can be linked to the user’s smartphone via the myAudi app.

The A3's smart cockpit is more digitalised than its predecessor, and spot the tiny gear lever. Picture: SUPPLIED
The A3's smart cockpit is more digitalised than its predecessor, and spot the tiny gear lever. Picture: SUPPLIED

The new A3 has a five-star EuroNCAP crash rating, and comes with optional safety features such as parking assist, lane-departure warning, and cross-traffic assist.

Audi’s premium compact car takes on the BMW 1 Series, BMW 2 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class with a 10-model range offering a choice of three engines and several equipment grades.

The petrol turbo engines are carried over from the previous A3 and start with the 35 TFSI front-wheel drive version powered by a 1.4l unit with outputs of 110kW and 250Nm, paired with an eight-speed tiptronic transmission.

The 40 TFSI is also a front-wheel drive but its 2.0l engine bumps up power to 140kW and 320Nm, mated to a seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch gearbox. The range-topping S3 uses a perkier 2.0l unit that sends a lively 213kW and 400Nm to all four wheels via quattro drive, and a seven-speed S Tronic, for a claimed 0-100km/h sprint in 4.9 seconds.

The new A3 is offered in standard, Advanced and S line grades. The base model offers 16-inch wheels and black detailing around the grille and air intakes; Advanced increases wheel size to 17 inches and the exterior detailing is chrome with Advanced line bumpers; and S line has a sportier bumper design, sports suspension, illuminated door sills with the S emblem and an S-style spoiler on the Sportback.

Digging deeper into your pockets gets you optional grade packs that bundle together popular items. For instance, the Technology pack comprises the Audi virtual cockpit plus (a larger and smarter digital instrument cluster), MMI navigation plus, Audi connect navigation & infotainment, and rear USB ports. The Sports pack adds black styling exterior elements, black mirrors, 18-inch wheels, and sports suspension.

The Sedan (pictured) offers a larger boot than the Sportback. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Sedan (pictured) offers a larger boot than the Sportback. Picture: SUPPLIED

The range-topping S3 is optionally available with adaptive damper control, which also lowers the ride height by 10mm. It is more aggressively styled, with a large rear diffuser four tailpipes, 19-inch wheels, red brake calipers and S-model specific bumpers. Inside, the décor is revved up with bucket seats and red stitching.

The 35 TFSI and S3 are available now, with the 40 TFSI on sale in November. The high-performance RS3 will follow in the second half of 2022, bringing 294kW and 500Nm to the hot-hatch party.

 

PRICES

Audi A3 Sportback 35 TFSI: R561,000

Audi A3 Sportback 35 TFSI Advanced: R586,000

Audi A3 Sportback 35 TFSI S line: R601,000

Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI S line: R641,000

Audi S3 Sportback TFSI quattro: R795,000

Audi A3 Sedan 35 TFSI: R576,000

Audi A3 Sedan 35 TFSI Advanced: R601,000

Audi A3 Sedan 35 TFSI S line: R616,000

Audi A3 Sedan 40 TFSI S line: R656,000

Audi S3 Sedan TFSI quattro: R810,000

Prices include a five-year Audi Freeway Plan

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