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Date: 04 Jun 2018 Author Type: Public Review
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Liam Mothilall
Source: Julian Lurie
Audi South Africa last year, introduced their up-graded A3 models with new technology, new engines and refreshed styling. Available as a 3-door hatchback, a 5-door Sportback, a Sedan and a Cabriolet, however the derivative we feature this week is the entry level hatchback 1.0 T FSI 3-door 6 speed manual.

Externally not much has changed, but the styling was updated to reflect headlight and taillight design changes, a further emphasized bonnet, integrated front bumper, re-designed single framed grille, and newly contoured rear diffuser. For a sportier look, the press vehicle was fitted with the optional S-Line exterior package which adds a different front bumper, rear diffuser, 18-inch Audi Sport 10-V spoke alloy wheels shod with very low profile 225/40R18 Bridgestone rubber, and new Bi-Zenon headlights, which formed striking good lighting graphics with their jagged bottom edges.

The highlight in the interior of the Audi A3 is the optional Audi Virtual Cockpit.The innovative operating concept is available for the first time in the compact class.The Audi Virtual Cockpit depicts the most important driving- relevant information in high resolution on a 12.3 inch TFT screen.The way the display screen is positioned high on the dash is also welcome because it means you can always keep half an eye on the road. The dash is simple to use. You operate most functions via single rotary dial that’s positioned with easy reach and linked to onscreen menus.What’s more, those menus are clearly laid out, and there are shortcut buttons that let you quickly flip between them. The driver can switch between two views by pressing the “View” button on the multifunction steering wheel in classic mode; the instruments appear as large as the usual analogue displays.In infotainment mode, a central window predominates that provides more space for the navigation map or shows clearly arranged lists for the phone, radio and audio sectors.

Standard equipment on theAudi A3 hatchback 1.0TFSi 3- door 6 speed manual includes; an audio release function Bluetooth interface, cruise control, electrical interface, Aux andUSB, exterior mirrors in body color, front center armrest, leather covered flat-bottomed 3-spoke steering wheel, Light and rain sensor, interior lighting package and manual air-conditioning.

A few of the options fittedto the press vehicle included the MMI Navigation plus system, alcantara leather seat upholstery, panoramic glass roof, .Audi’ssound system, storage and luggage compartment packages andinlays in aluminium Mistral.

Interior space – well there’s plenty of space in the front of the Audi A3 and the wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment will ensure that drivers ofall sizes should find a position that suits, and the seats themselves are supportive, so you shouldn’tsuffer aches and pains on a longjourney.However six-footers will wish the 3 door had a bit more rear knee room. For oddments, there are a couple of cup- holders and a good sized storage bin between the front seats and a smallish cubby, while the 365 litre boot should easily accommodate the family luggage. The door pockets are each big enough for large water bottles too.

In terms of safety, the A3 hatchback 1.0 TFSi has earned a maximum five star ANCAP rating and includes seven airbags, disc brakes at all four wheels and a bunch of electronic driver aids such as ABS, EBD etc to keep you out of trouble.

The Audi A3 hatchback 1.0TFSi 3 door 6-speed manual version is for the firsttime in an A3, powered by a 999cc 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine,developing85 kW at 5 000 RPM and 2 900 NM of torque from 2 000 RPM, and drives the frontwheels througha 6-speed manual gearbox. It has a CO2 emission level of; 104 grams per kilometer, making it exempt from CO2 tax in South Africa.

In performance tests, the A3 1 litre was far quicker than expected.From standstill, floor the accelerator, take the rev counter needle up to its 6 200 RPM redline – which it revs to quite easily – change up to second gear and it willpass the 100 km/h mark in just 9.7 seconds and go onto a top speed of 206 km/h. Petrol consumption is given as 4.7 litres per 100 km’s but over the few days I had the car it averaged 6.9 litres per 100 km’s.

From behind the wheel, as well as being very comfortable, the Audi A3 1.0T is also good fun to drive, feeling agile in the corners, with lots of grip, precise steering, while the 1.0 litre petrol engine is perfectly adequate. On the freeways it has no trouble keeping up with the traffic, in fact so much so that you don’t even notice the speed. However, up steep and longish hills, it is necessary to drop a cog or two, and the A3’s steering, gearshift and pedals are all nicely weighted, so driving it never feels like hard work. I did, however enjoy the sweet thrum of the three cylinder engine while on the cruise.

At a steady 120 km/h on the open road the motor spins 2 600 RPM in 6th gear and at just 3 100 RPM at 160 km/h. The Audi A3 changes direction accurately and there’s more than enough grip and little body-roll, and ride comfort is good. As on most electric systems, feedback from the steering is not the greatest. Rear vision is pretty good, making the car relatively easy to park. However, I found it strange that even with over a R125 000 worth of options fitted, there were no parking sensors, not even at the rear.

In summary, the 1.0 litre petrol engine offers enough performance for most people combined with low running costs. The recommended retail selling price for the Audi A3 Hatchback 1.0TFSi 3 door 6-speed manual is R420 500 excluding the options, but including Audi’s standard 5 year/ 100 000 km Audi Freeway Plan.
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