Audi A3 35 TFSI S Line 4dr Tech Pack

  • Manual
  • Petrol
  • 49.6 mpg
  • 4 door saloon
  • 131 g/km CO2
  • 131 g/km CO2 emissions
  • 49.6 mpg Fuel efficiency
  • 8.4 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 150 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

It's an Audi A3 - but not perhaps, quite as you know it. Here, we've the Saloon version, the second generation version of which has been lightly updated to even more effectively bring the brand's cool elegance within the reach of those who might find the only slightly larger A4 model a bit of a stretch. We all like the idea of good things in sensibly sized packages. In essence, that's what this is. There's a completely digitalised interior and cutting-edge infotainment, plus more unique light signatures, various electrified engines and a suite of innovative assistance systems enveloped in a classy yet immediately recognisable body.

Background

The compact executive saloon. Every business carpark is stuffed with the things, most of them up-market German-badged offerings like Audi's A4, BMW's 3 Series or Mercedes' C-Class. Cars of this kind are now generations old and have got progressively larger, more sophisticated - and more expensive. So much so that room has been created for a market sector to slot in beneath them. A segment with four-door saloons offering pretty much the same thing, but in a slightly more compact form. Cars like this one, Audi's A3 Saloon. The Ingolstadt brand first launched this model in our market in 2013, then brought us a second generation version in 2020. From the start with this sedan model, Audi was well aware of the need to sell this product carefully. After all, it's traditionally been true that any four-door smaller than something A4/3 Series or C-Class-sized tends to get pretty much ignored on these shores. So the marketeers had to pitch this three-box A3 as offering almost everything a buyer might get in their fully-fledged A4 model - just in a marginally smaller package. The thinking person's compact executive saloon if you like. The approach worked and the first generation A3 saloon carved out a loyal following. But towards the end of the MK1 version's production life, it began to look a little frumpy compared to the rival premium-badged compact four-door coupe models that sold to much the same type of clientele - the Mercedes CLA and, latterly, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. Hence the need for a slightly different approach with the MK2 A3 Saloon, which continues with this updated version, launched in early 2024.

Driving Experience

Take a glance at the powerplant line-up and, on initial inspection at least, you won't find anything particularly shocking if you happened to be familiar with it from before. There are no engineering to handling changes to this updated A3 Saloon. If you're an A3 regular - or a graduate from a Golf - you'll find that this Audi has even more of the mature drive dynamics you'll be looking for, helped by a fully digital at-the-wheel experience and the optional embellishment of self-driving tech. The original version of this model got a little more involving to drive than its predecessor thanks to slightly sharper steering, a wider track and the introduction of a 'modular dynamic handling control system' that, based on steering movements, predictively co-ordinates interplay between all the car's dynamic systems - like a conductor with an orchestra - so the car can always be one step ahead of the drive inputs you want to make. The core engine options here are familiar for mainstream customers - the 30 TFSI (116PS) and 35 TFSI (150PS) petrol units and the 35 TDI diesel (also with 150PS). Only the 30 TFSI can be ordered without Audi's familiar 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch auto transmission. There's supple multi-link rear suspension and with the 35 TFSI petrol model, the engine comes with an integrated 48-volt 'BAS' belt alternator starter-generator that powers a 12-volt main electrical set-up in which a 48-volt compact lithium-ion battery in the boot stores energy harvested via a 'KERS' kinetic energy recovery system. You can talk to your dealer about a highly-efficient 45 TFSI e plug-in hybrid version too. If you've more to spend on a more sophisticated kind of A3 Saloon, you can also talk to your dealer about the 2.0-litre petrol turbo S3 variant, which gets a power hike to 333PS and the addition of the torque-splitter system previously reserved for the RS 3.

Design and Build

In a market where it competes with four-door coupe designs like the Mercedes CLA and the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, it was essential that the revised version of this second generation A3 Saloon look a little more dynamic than its predecessor. You might think that it does. As with the Sportback variant, Audi's given the improved version of this model large, angular air intakes and a flatter grille design that now features the two-dimensional four-ring logo we first saw on the brand's Q8 e-tron luxury EV. The daytime running lights now feature up to four different illuminating signatures that owners can switch between to individualise their car's appearance. Otherwise, things are much as before. In contrast with the A3 Sportback, the Saloon's body line continues in a straight line up to the rear bumper. This emphasises its length - 15cms longer than the Sportback - and makes for elegant proportions in profile. The concave surface under the broad body shoulder further accentuates the shape's rear quattro 'blisters' and the lower sills, while the roof line, which tapers down from the B-pillar and finishes in a spoiler on the boot lid, draws inspiration from coupe design. Inside this revised second generation A3 Saloon, there's a redesigned centre console with an armrest, restyled air vents, a smaller (compact, flatter) auto gear selector and smarter ambient lighting (which now gives you back-lit doors and contour lights around both the centre console and cup holders). The 'Virtual Cockpit plus' instrument screen is standard and the 10.1-inch central MMI monitor has been updated in various ways, allowing it to be customised with a wider range of applications, including Amazon Alexa. This MMI system is permanently connected to the internet, with high speed access via an embedded eSIM, which means you can create in the car a WiFi hotspot and access things like online music streaming, online traffic information and hybrid radio. This central screen's also your access to an audio upgrade that's now provided by Sonos, a 3D system. In the rear part of the cabin, a six-footer can sit behind an equally lanky driver, but it's a fairly snug fit and, as you'd expect from this class of car, three across the rear seat only really works if the people concerned are of school-going age. Out back, boot space is as before, offering a 425-litre capacity.

Market and Model

Expect a premium of £565 over the A3 Sportback hatch, which means prices starting from just under £30,000, with a choice of three trim levels - 'Sport', 'S line' and 'Black Edition'. All the usual executive equipment items feature and this improved A3 Saloon is even more digital and connected, thanks to numerous connect services, functions on demand, and an app store. Standard equipment features DAB+ digital radio and a 10.1-inch central MMI touch display, along with the 'Audi virtual cockpit plus' instrument screen and an inductive smartphone charger. In addition to the two USB-C charging ports in the centre console in the front, two additional ports in the rear also come standard. Other features include MMI navigation plus, along with the complete connect portfolio and access to the app store, which allows the driver to use a wide range of applications via the vehicle's display. By embedding the store, customers can directly and intuitively access popular third-party apps on the MMI touch display by means of a data link in the vehicle. For our market, two individual infotainment and comfort functions can be added online via the myAudi app, even after the vehicle has been purchased. Functions include adaptive cruise control and high-beam assist. They can be booked for one month, six months, one year, three years, or permanently, depending on the customer's individual needs. If, for example, a long holiday is planned with the A3, adaptive cruise assist may be a useful addition for relaxed travel on long stretches of motorway.

Cost of Ownership

Audi is continuing is electrification strategy in the premium compact class, hence the emphasis on the MHEV mild hybrid 1.5-litre 35 TFSI petrol S tronic model in this MK2 A3 Saloon model range. The figures suggest that this variant manages 54.3mpg, with a CO2 return of 119g/km of CO2. The base 30 TFSI model manages up to 51.4mpg and 130g/km in manual form - or up to 54.3mpg and 119g/km as an S tronic auto. The 35 TDI diesel S tronic auto model manages 58.9mpg and 126g/km. The S3 petrol sports saloon manages up to 34.4mpg and 186g/km. Most A3 Saloon buyers will want the MHEV auto petrol model which uses the same sort of set-up we've already seen on larger Audi models. A 'BAS' belt alternator starter-generator that with this four cylinder engine, powers a 48-volt main electrical set-up in which a compact lithium-ion battery in the boot stores energy harvested via a 'KERS' kinetic energy recovery system. During braking, the 'BAS' package can recover up to 12kW of power and feed it back into the battery. If the driver takes their foot off the accelerator at speeds between 34 and 99mph, the mild hybrid system will recuperate energy, while the car rolls in idle or coasts with its engine automatically switched off for up to 40 seconds. The belt alternator starter-generator restarts the engine the next time the accelerator is depressed, and does so faster and more gently than a conventional starter. All of this you'll particularly notice at urban speeds where the engine start-stop system is cutting in and out. The startstop range begins at just under 14mph, so you'll often find the car coasting up to the end of a traffic queue, a traffic light or a level crossing.

Summary

So, how to sum up? Well, the improved version of this second generation A3 Saloon might not look that much different at first glance, but it might begin to feel so once you take a seat inside and get to grips with the lightly redesigned cabin. Otherwise though, the recipe is much as it was before and that'll see many continuing to like the statement this A3 Saloon makes on their behalf. It's smart and elegant without being showy. Nor does it unduly advertise its status as the smallest saloon Audi makes. Most who see you at the wheel will simply think you've bought an A4 and those who do spy the different boot badge will probably think you've chosen wisely. So there's very little not to like. Unless you were looking to make some sort of style statement: this car won't turn the heads of passers' by like a rival Mercedes CLA or BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, but then that very discretion is a fundamental part of its appeal. As with any other A3, it's as at home in Belgravia as it is in Brixton, offering a democratisation of automotive luxury without a dilution of desirability. If you doubt that, you've only to get behind the wheel, for the interior is where this design really strides apart. You could be in a luxury car - and of course, in many ways, you are. Just one that perhaps better reflects the times we live in.

  • Automatic start/stop system with recuperation
  • Audi Phonebox light with wireless charging
  • DAB Digital radio
  • USB ports with charging function in the rear
  • Aluminium window trim
  • Chrome exhaust tailpipes
  • Exterior model badging
  • Front and rear side air inlets in grained matt black with dark liquid chrome frame
  • Front radiator grill in high gloss dark chrome
  • Illuminated door sills with aluminium inserts at the front with S logo
  • Rear boot
  • Rear diffuser and grill in grained matt black with inlay in dark liquid chrome
  • Rear side wing doors
  • S line bumpers
  • Side S line emblems on front wings
  • Side sill trim in dark liquid chrome
  • 12V socket and storage compartment in front centre console
  • 3 spoke flat bottomed multi-function leather sport steering wheel
  • Black cloth headlining
  • Front and rear centre armrest in artificial leather
  • Height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • Manual boot compartment lid
  • S badging on the steering wheel
  • Stainless steel pedals and front footrest in black
  • Twin leather upholstery with front sports seats S embossed logo
  • Aluminium interior elements pack - A3 Saloon
  • Multi-coloured LED interior lighting pack - A3
  • Technology package - A3
  • 3x3 point rear seat belts
  • Driver and front passenger airbag with passenger airbag deactivation
  • First aid kit with warning triangle and 2 safety vests
  • Front side airbags with head airbags and interaction airbag
  • Pre-sense front with pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Seatbelt monitoring
  • Tyre pressure loss indicator
  • Anti theft alarm
  • Anti-theft wheel bolts
  • Electronically operated child locks
  • Immobiliser
  • Remote control central locking
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 131
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEH: 134
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEL: 130
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 1498
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Engine Code: 8YMCYC
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO DIRECT INJECTION
  • Gears: 6 SPEED
  • Transmission: MANUAL
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 5.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEH: 5.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEL: 5.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 49.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEH: 47.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEL: 49.6
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: False
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.5
  • Badge Power: 150
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: TFSI
  • Coin Series: S Line[Tech]
  • Generation Mark: 4
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 23E
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 8.4
  • Engine Power - BHP: 150
  • Engine Power - KW: 110
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5000
  • Top Speed: 144
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 225/40 R18
  • Tyre Size Rear: 225/40 R18
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: 5-TWIN-SPOKE
  • Wheel Type: 18" ALLOY
  • Height: N
  • Height (including roof rails): 1433
  • Length: 4506
  • Wheelbase: 2630
  • Width: N
  • Width (including mirrors): 1984
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 50
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): N
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 425
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11.1