Artful dodger
CAR|October 2021
The arrival of a new Audi A3 has been long overdue. It looks the part but how much going has it got?
Wayne Gorrett

Price: R616 000 Engine: 1,4-litre, 4-cylinder, turbopetrol Transmission: 8-speed automatic Power: 110 kW @ 5 000 r/min Torque: 250 N.m @ 1 500 r/min0-100 km/h: 8,20 seconds* Top speed: 227 km/h* Fuel consumption: 6,10 L/100 km* CO ² : 138 g/km Rivals: BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé, Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan

+top-notch cabin; fair value versus premium rivals

you’ll be tempted by many optional extras; so-so performance

It’s been 25 years since Audi first introduced the A3 as a compact hatch based on the same C-segment (PQ34) platform as other cars in the Volkswagen Group, including the much-loved Mk III Golf of that era. Originally designed by Belgian Dirk van Braeckel, the success of the model convinced Audi that other body variants of the A3 were feasible and the first Sportback arrived in 2004, followed by the Sedan back in 2013.

Owing largely to low uptake, the three-door A3 met its demise last year, handing its Sportback moniker over to the all-new five-door iteration, while the new MQB Evo platform has allowed the four-door sedan variant to grow in size, making its rear-seat passengers feel a little more welcome, too.

The new Audi A3 Sedan – along with its S3 performance variant which we’re testing next month – has just debuted in South Africa and we spent some time with it before the local launch. Pop the kettle on and crack open the Bakers Biscuits …

Apart from the trusty VW Group drivetrains, this fourth-generation A3 is entirely new from the rubber up. Styling wise, Audi suggests the new interior and exterior is heavily inspired by Lamborghini, of all things. To be honest, that statement is a little ambitious but that’s not to say the new A3 doesn’t look classy because it most certainly does.

While the wheelbase length has remained the same, the car is thirty millimetres longer and wider than the previous model. This allows for more interior space for passengers including the boot which is an ample 425litres. Its flat sides create a square load area that’s extremely practical. In comparison, the Sportback's boot offers a less generous 380 litres. Even after eight years in production, the third-generation A3 – the model this one has replaced – remained hugely capable with one of the best interiors in the business. That is something Audi was keen to advance.

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