BEHIND THE WHEEL: Audi A3 1.8T Quattro
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 1, 2014
At first glance the new A3 does look like a bargain, starting from 180 thousand until you get to know the model that you actually want is the one with Quattro. The 1.8T Quattro is at 240 and you need another 20 for what is called Full Sport edition which comes with S line package and Bang Olufsen.
And there’s another thing called the ‘Black’ edition which have things painted in black, does not have S line, 18” wheels, brown coloured seats and B and O for 10 thousand so price wise, it is very confusing. Panoramic sunroof and reverse camera are optional on the base car and included if you tick one of the mentioned packages.
Everything in a small package
Keeps novice out of trouble
Upright rear seats
Slightly tight boot
0-100 km/h: 6.6 s
Top speed: 240 km/h
In life there are some friends and other friends, mingle with the right ones will let you lose in a freshly baked Audi A3. This one has got the new 705-watt B&O system where I've been dying to know how it performs. The first track streamed was Pink Floyd’s The Wall. After a couple of tracks which includes Goldfrapp's Stranger and The XX's VCR, I must admit, it is the best sounding stereos in just any car but it was time to take things to the street.
As the weather decided to get a little moody, I'd like to get a picture of how much value does the A3 give. It started to pour when I got into the driver's seat so I thought to myself there is no better time to put it to its limits. The key that unlocks an A3 looks like a rebadged one from Volkswagen, I guess this is what I have to put up with for not trying hard enough in school.
Pushed start and I was greeted with a low resolution screen that raises itself out of the dash. This cannot be upgraded and even more disconcerting, it doesn't come with Audi drive select.
It was pouring as I set off and the traffic was pretty much at a crawl on a typical Friday afternoon proving ride isn’t terrible despite not having adaptive dampers. While waiting at traffic lights, no one turned to see the grey car I was in except for a fat man in his new Cooper S. The drive was shaping up to be the most boring one yet so I took the slightest of chances on every opening to give it the full beans.
I blasted the A3 through every gap I’ve got and it must be said, the 6-speed S tronic was electrifying. Down and upshifts responded on command with no pause and it held on all the way to 6200 rpm. 180 horsepower and 280Nm of torque doesn’t look like much but it rockets the car to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds and from where I was seated, there's little doubt. Turbo lag is present even when I had my feet on both brake and throttle but the way it drives more than make up for it.
When I approached a downhill left turn at some pace, it first understeered then entered gracefully. I guess Audi have always been setup to the safer side of things so any idiot could drive quickly without ending up in a tree.
"The world would be a better place having
this transmission in every car "
Then I moved into the back bench and had this good samaritan drive me about. People will fit fine but in an upright position but nowhere as torturous as in an A class. I just don't know why car manufacturers rob so much space from their rear seats to give a bigger boot when they are usually left empty. The journey was thoroughly plain sailing but the base Quattro model that runs on 17” tyres are unquestionably more comfortable than prettier 18 inchers.
All in all, the A3 1.8T Quattro is quite the performer but I can’t get over those back seats. Gearbox is telepathic while Bang Olufsen sound system is no less than excellent and low resolution entertainment system that lacks sat-nav is just something you have to live with. The variant I’d go for is the 2-door hatch which isn’t available so is its convertible sibling. Neither is there a coupe version to rival the BMW 2 series. So, there will not be an A3 in my driveway anytime soon.. if not, ever.