What is it?
A booted version of the Audi A3. It’s not simply a graft job either, with revisions to both the wheelbase and track ensuring that passenger space hasn’t been hampered. It keeps the usual A3 strengths, namely its high- quality cabin, refined engines and avant-garde design, but the new boot lifts the car visually from a mere posh hatchback to a baby executive saloon
What’s under the bonnet?
When the A3 Saloon arrives in UK showrooms this September, it will be offered with a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, as well as 1.4- and 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol motors. Initially, the petrol models will be available only with Audi’s S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, with the diesel fitted with a six-speed manual. By next summer, buyers will be able to choose from a higher output 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel, an entry-level 1.6-litre diesel, and also the range topping 298bhp S3.
What’s the spec like?
Two trim levels will be offered: Sport (from £24,305) and S Line (from £26,455). All models are equipped with Audi drive select, which alters steering weight and throttle sensitivity, as well as the MMI interface. Further key standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control and sports seats. Additional interior and exterior body detailing, a sports steering wheel, xenon headlights and half-leather seats supplement S Line models.
What’s it like to drive?
Unsurprisingly, almost identical to the A3 hatchback, which is no bad thing. Safety and stability are the order of the day with this model. Those eyeing up a diesel model will not be disappointed with the 148bhp 2.0-litre, as it is refined, smooth and offers a broad spread of power across the rev-range. Of the petrol offerings we would recommend the 1.4-litre, as in real world conditions, it offers similar performance to the larger 1.8, thanks to identical torque outputs. It’s also fitted with Cylinder on Demand technology, which helps to save fuel.
What do the press think of it?
Autocar said: ‘The A3 Saloon is pricey, but works well as Audi’s first entry into the compact saloon class.’ Parkers said: ‘If you want a ‘big Audi’ then this is the cheapest way to get into one.’
What do we think of it?
Audi predicts the A3 Saloon will sell in very small numbers in the UK, thanks to our love of hatchbacks. However, it very much deserves a place on the A3 price list, as for a small premium, it offers a more attractive car with a classier image. That it is fuel-efficient and will cost little to tax will merely be the icing on the cake for most buyers, who we predict will want the A3 Saloon for its looks alone.