Better than ever, the facelifted Audi A3

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Last week I visited Franschhoek, the gorgeous wine lands which are surrounded by the most magnificent Wemmershoek mountains. Adding to their beauty, they are laced with delicate-looking yet hardy indigenous fauna and flora. It's an outstanding location, not just in South Africa, but globally. Its presence is so overwhelming that it leaves an indelible mark. 

 

Cleverly done team Audi. Launching their newly facelifted A3 in one of the world's most spectacular locations just added to the pleasure of driving the refined A3, perfect for exploring and exploiting its prowess on the bendy and twisty roads within the area. 

 

The A3 was first launched in 1996. Now, three generations later, the current A3 is 3 ½

-years into its life cycle. It is also Audi South Africa's current best-seller. The 1.4 TFSI S-Tronic Sportback is the customers’ favourite choice. 

The team at Audi have a winning formula with the A3. This isn't just my opinion. The accolade of World Car of the Year in 2014 is enough of a peg in the ground to let other cars within its premium compact segment know that it means business. 

 

Now facelifted, the A3 has had very little yet effective detailed enhancements to freshen up its looks. There are five new colours. New front headlamp design, bumper enhancements and rear spoiler tweaks. The grille has also been made to stand more proudly, giving the A3 a 3D appearance. A nice addition, a host of sexy mag wheels that intensify the A3's road presence. Aesthetically speaking, the A3 was perhaps a little shy, demure almost about is handsome lines. Now with these subtle changes, the A3 has added a sprinkling of bling and now stands a better chance of being noticed. 

 

On the inside, a highlight - the Virtual Cockpit concept. Essentially, the Virtual Cockpit is a fully digital screen that's been custom designed to sit within what was the instrument binnacle. Gone are the old needle dials, now replaced with a Virtual Cockpit display that's customisable to the driver’s liking. 

Under the bonnet, the changes and enhancements are more noticeable. The range now begins with a feisty yet refined 1.0 TFSI engine. It's a 3-cylinder unit, so it's got a playful thrumming engine note when revved. Next up, the 1.4 TFSI model, currently the most popular engine. It now uses technology that switches two of the cars 4-cylinders on and off on power demand (Cylinder on Demand). The purpose is economy. The 1.8 TFSI has been removed and replaced by a 2.0 TFSI. Next up, and arguably my favourite engine, the 2.0 TDI. This diesel engine cleverly plays with capacity, resizing its engine size from 2l downward. It does this according the power demanded by the driver. It's refinement levels are class-leading. It's a gem of an engine. And for those of you who may be concerned with the sound of diesel clatter, relax - this engine is dead quiet. For those who enjoy driving, driving fast and driving dynamically, I introduce the S3. This unit is now more powerful at 228kW. This big number in a compact A3 means hitting the legal limit (100km/h) in just an eye-blink - 4.5 seconds. It's a good thing then that this wallop of power is sent to the road’s surface via Audi's famous quattro drive system. 

 

Engine and gearbox highlights

TFSI turbo petrol units

 

A3 1.0 TFSI (85kW) 9.7 seconds to 100km/h 6-speed manual or 7-speed S tropic.

A3 1.4 TFSI (110kW) 8.1 seconds to 100km/h 6-speed manual or 7-speed S tronic.

A3 2.0 TFSI (140kW) 6.8 seconds to 100km/h 6-speed manual or 7-speed S tronic.

S3 2.0 TFSI (228kW) 4.5 seconds to 100km/h 7-speed S tronic.

 

TDI turbo diesel units 

 

A3 2.0 TDI (105kW) 8.3 seconds to 100km/h 6-speed S tronic.

 

The A3 Hatchback, Sportback and Sedan will all offer the 1.0 TFSI, 1.4 TFSI, 2.0 TFSI, 2.0TDI and S3 versions, whereas the Cabriolet engine range is limited to only the 2.0 TFSI and S3 Cabriolet.

 

Standard equipment

The range offers the following standard equipment on the 1.0T, 1.4T, 2.0T and 2.0TDI engines:

 

  • Xenon headlights
  • Bluetooth interface
  • 16 inch wheels
  • 17 inch wheels (Cabriolet only)
  • Cruise control
  • Driver information system
  • Electrical interface, Aux and USB
  • Front centre armrest
  • Cloth seats
  • Inlays in Micro metallic silver
  • Leather covered sport steering in 3 spoke design
  • Light and rain sensor
  • Manual air-conditioning
  • Dynamic suspension

 

The Audi S3 range offers the following standard equipment

  • 18 inch wheels 5 twin spoke star design
  • Audi Sound System
  • Bluetooth Interface
  • Cruise Control
  • Deluxe automatic air-conditioning
  • Driver information system with colour display
  • Electric interface, Aux in and USB
  • Front Sport seats
  • High gloss package
  • Inlays in matt brushed aluminium
  • Interior mirror with automatic antiglare action
  • Leather covered multifunction sport steering wheel, flat-bottomed with shift paddles
  • Leather/ fabric seat upholstery
  • LED headlights and rear lights incl. dynamic turn signals at the rear
  • Light and rain sensor
  • Sport suspension

 

The range will be priced as follows, including all taxes and the standard 5 year/100 000km
Audi Freeway Plan:

 

Audi A3 Hatch

A3 1.0T FSI Manual

R391 000

A3 1.0T FSI S tronic

R409 500

A3 1.4T FSI Manual

R412 000

A3 1.4T FSI S tronic

R430 500

A3 2.0 TDI S tronic

R481 500

A3 2.0T FSI Manual

R429 500

A3 2.0T FSI S tronic

R448 000

S3 quattro S tronic

R638 500

 

Audi A3 Sportback

A3 Sportback 1.0T FSI Manual

R398 500

A3 Sportback 1.0T FSI S tronic

R417 000

A3 Sportback 1.4T FSI Manual

R419 500

A3 Sportback 1.4T FSI S tronic

R438 000

A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI S tronic

R489 000

A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI Manual

R437 000

A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI S tronic

R455 500

S3 Sportback quattro S tronic

R646 000

 

Audi A3 Sedan

A3 Sedan 1.0T FSI Manual

R408 500

A3 Sedan 1.0T FSI S tronic

R427 000

A3 Sedan 1.4T FSI Manual

R429 500

A3 Sedan 1.4T FSI S tronic

R448 000

A3 Sedan 2.0 TDI S tronic

R499 000

A3 Sedan 2.0T FSI Manual

R447 000

A3 Sedan 2.0T FSI S tronic

R465 500

S3 Sedan quattro S tronic

R656 000

 

Audi A3 Cabriolet:

A3 Cabriolet 2.0T FSI S tronic

R566 500

S3 Cabriolet quattro S tronic

R758 000

 

Service and warranty

The entire A3 range comes standard with an Audi Freeway Plan which covers the car for 5 year/100 000km.

www.audi.co.za

 

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