Cut-price A3 to stir up market
The latest A3 is up to 83kg lighter than its predecessor, leading to improved performance and class-leading fuel efficiency.

The might of the Volkswagen Group, through its shared research and development, plus the strength of the Australian dollar has enabled Audi to slash the entry price of its new- generation A3 by $5000.

And it is a cut that puts its small hatch right into the heart of one of the fastest-growing segments in the Australian market - and probably the most competitive.

In the first four months of the year, sales in the under-$40,000 premium hatch category have grown 16 per cent compared with the same time last year.

It is also a market that has seen the arrival of some impressive new models, namely the next- generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Volvo V40. Now, with a starting price of $35,600, you can add the A3 to that list.

After test driving three of the four models available at the national launch in Cairns earlier this week, it is hard to go past the entry-level model as the pick of the bunch.

It is certainly a long way short of a stripped-out version designed to get people through the showroom door.

The 1.4TFSI Attraction comes standard with a 90kW turbocharged four-cylinder engine matched to a seven-speed S-tronic automatic transmission (a manual gearbox is available as a special order option at no cost).

It also comes with a long list of standard options including nine airbags, which contribute to its five-star ANCAP crash rating, leather upholstery, climate control, pop-up 5-inch (12.7cm) MMI screen and cruise control.

On the road, the 1.4-litre engine provides more than enough performance, even on the undulating roads that wind through the rainforests in north Queensland.

It also comes with the same suspension set-up and steering as the more expensive models, ensuring a flat, composed ride in all conditions.

And if you are prepared to take a white or red one (all other colours are metallic which will cost you an additional $1050), you could easily walk out of the showroom without paying any more than the asking price, except for the standard dealer delivery and on-road costs.

While the 1.4TFSI is good, the slightly more expensive 1.8TFSI is even better because it comes with additional standard kit.

With an additional 42kW on tap, it is the model that those with a penchant for a sporty performance will be drawn to. In the past it has accounted for nearly 40 per cent of A3 sales in Australia, making it clearly the most popular buy.

And for those looking for economy or more "torquey" performance, there are two diesel options - the 1.6TDI or 2.0TDI.

The third-generation A3 is up to 83kg lighter than its predecessor, one of the contributing factors towards its improved performance and class-leading fuel efficiency, thanks to the use of aluminium for the bonnet and quarter panels. Significant weight reductions were also achieved in the interior and with the engines.

While the exterior dimensions remain virtually unchanged the wheelbase of the new model is 58mm longer, with all the extra space going into the cabin.

Rear seat room is better than most in this class and luggage space is a handy 380 litres - this can be expanded to 1220 litres by laying down the back seats.

The interior also has a completely new minimalist look which is clean and functional.

The curved instrument panel is slim and low and, together with the centre console, is oriented toward the driver.

Large, round air nozzles, the elegant user-interface panel for the climate control system and sculpturally styled trim bring the quality of siblings like the A8 and A6 into the five-door hatch.

While Audi has launched the A3 with four variants, the German car maker will add several new models over the next 12 months, starting with a 1.4TFSI with cylinder shutdown. This will be followed by the $65,000-$70,000 S3 Sportback in December.

Come January, Audi will add a small sedan to its Australian line- up for the first time with A3 and S3 variants. These will be followed in the middle of next year by an A3 e-tron all-electric variant.


  • 1.4 TFSI ATTRACTION*
Price: $35,600

Engine: 1.4-litre turbo-petrol
Outputs: 90kW/200Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed S-tronic automatic with stop/start (manual available as a no-cost option)
Thirst: 5.0L/100km


  • 1.8 TFSI AMBITION*
Price: $42,500

Engine: 1.8-litre turbo-petrol
Outputs: 132kW/250Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed S-tronic automatic with stop/start (manual available as a no-cost option)
Thirst: 5.6L/100km


  • 1.6 TDI ATTRACTION*
Price: *$36,500

Engine: 1.6-litre turbo-diesel
Outputs: 77kW/250Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed S-tronic automatic with stop/start
Thirst: 3.9L/100km


  • 2.0 TDI AMBITION*
Price: $42,500

Engine: 2.0-litre turbo-diesel
Outputs: 110kW/320Nm
Transmission: Six-speed S-tronic automatic with stop/start
Thirst: 4.5L/100km

The West Australian

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