BEHIND THE WHEEL: Audi A3 1.8T Quattro
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 1, 2014
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
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 one you actually want, 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.. or not. And there’s another thing called the ‘Black’ edition which have thing painted in black, does not have S line, 18” wheels, brown coloured seats and B and O for 10 thousand and a bit, so pricing wise is very much confusing. Panoramic sunroof and reverse camera are either optional on the base car or included if you tick one of the mentioned packages or not.
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 I 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 provide. 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 very much like a Volkswagen with the face of an Audi, I guess this is what I have to put up with for not having tried harder in school. Pushed start and I was greeted with a low resolution screen that raises itself out of the dash. That cannot be upgraded and even more disconcerting with no Audi drive select even if you wish to fork more money out of your pocket.
It was nicely pouring as I set off and the traffic was pretty much at a crawl on a typical Friday afternoon proofing the 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 to revs 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, I wouldn't doubt it. There was turbo lag even though I had both my feet on brakes and gas 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 has always been setup to the safer end of the spectrum so any idiot could drive quickly without ending up on a tree.
"The world would be a better place having
this transmission in every car "
I then moved into the back bench and had this good samaritan drive me about. First of all, I fit fine but in a rather upright position but nowhere as torturing as those in an A class. The journey was thoroughly plain sailing but let’s not forget, the base Quattro model runs on 17” tyres which are without a doubt more comfortable than prettier 18 inchers on the sport or black packages. I wonder why car manufacturers rob so much space from their rear seats just to grant a bigger boot when they are usually unoccupied. All in all, the A3 1.8T Quattro is a true performer but I can’t help but to wish for the back seats to be more reclined. I really like the car’s telepathic gearbox and excellent Bang Olufsen sound system despite having a low resolution entertainment system that lacks sat-nav. The variant I’d go for is the 2-door hatch which isn’t available or a convertible which also isn’t available here or a coupe version that rivals a BMW 2 series which has yet to roll out Ingolstadt. So there will not be an A3 in my driveway anytime soon.. if not, ever.