The fight is getting tougher and tougher amongst the small sedan class and where passenger car manufacturers are neck and neck in this battle for crafting ingenuity, popularity and sales, one couldn’t in the least expect the German giants to be even slightly behind, as Audi clearly demonstrates with the launch of its new compact sedan, the A3.
Audi’s crisp, definitive design language that has only gotten better with time provides for the new age front face, the edgy and well defined headlamps, brilliant proportions and a very beautiful set of wheels. The A3 looks as Audi as any of its siblings and there’s very few visual cues that set it apart from the A4 or even the A6 for that matter. The beautifully integrated ducktail shape of the trunk, the character line from the front end to the rear bumper gives the car a very “forward” lean. The LED tail lamps add to the beauty of the details and frankly raise the bar on the sex appeal of the car.
Hits Indian showrooms early next year
The Audi A3, set to hit the showrooms in India, early next year, is the German manufacturer’s contender against the likes of the Small Mercedes’ and the BMW 1 series. Although the two Mercs and the BM are hatchbacks, the A3 will be a sedan and would definitely take the benefit of preference from the Indian crowd. With a price tag of over Rs 20 lakh Audi’s new baby is all set to arrive in a market more than eagerly waiting for new entries and fresh perspective on wheels.
The car comes with a drive select module, a sunroof, dual zone climate control and a multifunctional steering wheel, that are just a few of the goodies the interior has to offer. It isn’t as elaborately detailed as those of Audi’s bigger and more expensive off-springs, but it surely has the build quality and feel that one would expect of a sedan of its class. The fit and finish is top notch and the materials used for building the interior are all completely “Audi”, and each button, lever and dial works with precision and perfection. The top end on the A3 will also feature electrically adjustable seats and a lot of leather.
It sports the industry’s first optimal 4G LTE connectivity which employs NVIDIA graphics processor for a quick loading of the navigation system, based on Google maps, smooth audio streaming and pretty cool “picture navigation” feature that would allow one to send a geotagged picture to their car and set it as destination. The system also turns the car into a mobile hotspot in case one would want data sharing to be a part of the driving experience.
The company will provide for two engine options, petrol and diesel. The petrol version will be one of the two models that are offered in the international market – 1.4 litre TFSI with 140ps or the 1.8 litre TFSI with 180ps. The diesel variant is expected to be either the entry level 1.6 litre TDI – the one that powers the Volkswagen Vento, and the 2.0 litre TDI with 150ps of power.
Not too much fun to drive
The 1.8 sports the S-tronic automatic transmission and is very refined and has quite a punch packed into it, instantly responsive to the rev and allows for a zero to hundred acceleration time of less than eight seconds, from a standstill. The gear box is alert and equally responsive while shifting. The car sports seven speed transmission and steering mounted shifters along with a sport mode.
The handling is great as with most Audis, though the steering could have been more “alive”, it still has a lot of precision. The size and weight distribution of the A3 allows it to turn exceptionally well. The suspension is well structured and competent with even adverse road conditions. All the impacts are well absorbed and with sound insulation and other noise cancellation methods, almost nothing can interfere with the cabin serenity. Having said that, the car is still not too much fun to drive, rather one would call it more inclined towards the safety aspect – and quite well so.
All in all, for anyone looking for an entry level luxury sedan with incredibly good looks, and not too bothered by the lack of driver involvement, the Audi A3 is a very good choice. The final verdict will still only come once the prices and equipment details are finalized for the car’s official launch in India, next year.