Somehow I was half-expecting to pick up a two-door car when I went to Sandyford to pick up the Audi A3 recently. But I was pleasantly surprised to pick up a four-door automatic version, which was good news because if you are a regular reader you will know that there are no fans of two-door cars in our house.
When Audi introduced the A3 twenty years ago it was only produced as a two-door hatchback to present a more sporty image than the Golf, so I suppose that’s where my worries came from. But make no mistake this four-door saloon version is a classy motor.
Colour makes such a difference when you set your eyes on a new car for the first time. It can be difficult making up your mind when choosing a new family car, but for press cars we have to take what we got. I thought the Daytona Grey colour certainly enhanced the look of the Audi A3 Sportback. Two silver roof rails added to the elongated look.
Audi have improved the A3 without making many changes to the interior. But the petrol and diesel engines are now cleaner and naturally better. If it’s speed you are into you can get from zero to 100km/h in 8.2 seconds thank to the 150 brake horse power. You get 18-inch alloys and upgrade LED lights. And I loved the way the lights at the back flashed horizontally when you apply the central locking.
It’s set fairly low which gives the car a nice relaxed look. It’s simply a gorgeous car to drive and travel in. When you are used to a manual gearbox, then if you get upgraded to an automatic car it naturally feels even more luxurious. I really liked the information panel on the dash, with everything clearly displayed and of course with Audi you get a pop-up display for the radio stations. A decent sized digital speedometer right in your line of vision should help you stay within the various speed limits.
The flat-bottom steering wheel is classy looking. But surprisingly you don’t get a reversing camera, just sensors and a picture on the dash of where your car is positioned when reversing.
Prices start at €29,150, while the 150 S-Tronic S Line version I drove will cost you €43,792. While there is a decent amount of standard equipment included in that price, there are still plenty more options available if you have money to spend. For example the silver roof rails will cost you €373. But it’s up to you the buyer as to how many extras you want. Road tax is €200.
There is good boot space and you get storage nets to prevent items rolling around in the boot. And surprise, surprise underneath is a ‘mini’ spare wheel. Now in an age where so many car companies just provide a repair kit, that in my opinion is big plus when you are thinking of buying a new car.
To sum up I will use Jimmy Magee’s famous phrase which he used to describe Maradona’s second goal against England in 1986, ‘different class.’
by Seán Creedon