Performance – The pre-facelift Audi A3 was available with two engines – 1.8-litre TFSI petrol and 2.0-litre TDI diesel. Talking about the petrol engine first, the Volkswagen Group is doing away with the 1.8-litre unit globally and it is being replaced by the 1.4-litre TSI unit. Since the new A4 gets the smaller engine, the A3 was also bound to get it. The mill produces 150 HP of power between 5000-6000 RPM and 250 Nm of torque between 1500-3500 RPM. 0-100 km/hr comes up in 8.2 seconds and it is pretty frugal with a claimed mileage of 19.2 km/l while top speed is 224 km/hr.
Whether you pick the petrol or diesel, you get very good performance
This is one of the most refined petrol engines we’ve seen and makes the car a hoot to drive. There is a mild turbo lag and post that the car accelerates quickly. While you do not really get a push-in-the-seat feeling, performance is quite sufficient. The engine also loves to be revved all the way to 6000 RPM where all the action is. In real world conditions, expect a fuel efficiency of 11-12 km/l which isn’t bad at all for a car of this segment.
Moving to the oil-burner, the 2.0-litre engine is something that we’ve seen in almost a dozen cars in India and each time we’ve come out impressed by it. Producing 143 HP between 3500-4000 RPM and 320 Nm between 1750-3000 RPM, it is quick enough to accelerate to 100 km/hr in 8.7 seconds. Turbo lag is negated cleverly, the mid-range is powerful and the power delivery feels addictive. This engine too is pretty efficient, churning out 13-14 km/l in the real world while the claimed figure is 20.38 km/l. While the petrol engine gets a 7-speed gearbox, the oil-burner gets a 6-speed box and both of them are super quick and smooth with shifts.
Driving Dynamics – The Audi A3 has brilliant dynamics. The chassis is very capable and feels composed during aggressive driving. The A3 is a fun handler and with the predictable handling, I really liked pushing it around the corners. The steering is light and I would have preferred a bit more feedback. However, we drove mostly on smooth tarmac. The suspension also has a fine set-up and it soaks up bad surfaces easily. The ride remains composed all the time. Braking is again quite good on the A3 with the pedal having good bite.