The remarkable quality, efficiency and technological ingenuity at the heart of the Audi A3 can now be wrapped in a choice of three beautifully proportioned bodies following the introduction this week of the A3 Saloon to the UK model range. Priced from £24,275 OTR, the first ever ‘three-box‘ A3 complements the familiar three-door and five-door Sportback models, and spearheads the Vorsprung durch Technik brand’s first foray into the world’s largest market segment – the compact saloon class.
Short overhangs and sharply sculpted lines give the new A3 Saloon a distinctly purposeful stance, and this is reinforced by its two-tier specification. A choice of either Sport or S line trim levels will be available in the UK, and at launch will be offered in conjunction with a total of three engines – two petrol units and one TDI.
Longer than the five-door A3 Sportback by just over 14 centimetres, wider by 11 millimetres and nine millimetres lower, the new compact four-door offers similarly ample passenger accommodation, complemented by 425 litres of luggage space with the rear seats in place – 45 litres more than its five-door counterpart.
Sport and S line versions sit low on their respective 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheels thanks to sports suspension, but both can also be specified at no extra cost with more comfort-oriented standard suspension.
Three high-tech engines
The strict dictate of ‘Audi ultra’ lightweight design is evident in the impressively restrained 1,250kg kerb weight of the A3 1.4 TFSI Saloon that initially kicks off the range. Its advanced 140PS engine is one of three high-tech units to be available at launch, all of which bring together efficiency technologies including direct fuel injection, turbocharging, innovative thermal management and the start-stop system.
As well as a low 107kg weight, this version of the 1.4 TFSI is also notable for its Cylinder-on-Demand technology. At low engine load, the system deactivates two cylinders to minimise mechanical effort and cut fuel consumption. As a result, combined economy tops out at a TDI-rivalling 60.1mpg, while CO2 is pared back to 109 grams per km. Helped by its healthy 250Nm torque peak, the A3 Saloon 1.4 TFSI takes just 8.4 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 62mph, and can reach 135mph where conditions allow.
The 1.8-litre TFSI which is next in line produces 180PS and 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft) of torque. It employs state-of-the-art technologies, including dual injection into the combustion chambers and the induction manifold, to deliver a broad spread of strong performance, but its headline figures are a 7.3-second 0-62mph sprint time and a 146mph top speed. Combined fuel economy is 50.4mpg, equivalent to 129 grams of CO2 per km.
The diesel contingent is initially represented by the latest 2.0-litre TDI producing 150PS and 320 Nm (236.02 lb-ft) of torque. It powers the A3 Saloon from 0 to 62mph in 8.7 seconds, takes it to a top speed of 137mph and is capable of returning up to 68.9mpg. This equates to CO2 output of 107 grams per km.