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Audi A3 S-Line Range

"The S-Line pack does nothing to actually enhance the car's handling or performance but it makes the A3 look meaner from most of the angles that matter"

In the A3 range, S-Line is more of an options pack than a trim level in its own right. It's a collection of desirable extras that buyers of selected A3 models can bolt on to add a touch more visual dynamism. The S-Line pack does nothing to actually enhance the car's handling or performance but it makes the A3 look meaner from most of the angles that matter. S Line is now offered with all the latest, facelifted three-door and Sportback models in the A3 range but not with the entry-level petrol and diesel engine options. Whereas availability was previously limited to cars with quattro four-wheel-drive and/or the ground-breaking S Tronic direct shift gearbox, now almost everyone can get in on the act. The only proviso is that you must order your car with the Sport trim level before you can upgrade to S-Line. On the current, facelifted model, the front wings and the grille are a little shapelier, the headlights are sharper-looking and the side repeaters are now incorporated into the door mirrors. The S-Line package costs an extra £1,550 on top of the Sport trim level, which means that the cheapest S-Line you'll be able to lay your hands on is the 3-door 1.6-litre model at £18,395 or as a five-door Sportback for £18,895. Of course, the 102PS 1.6 can't really live up to the S-Line pack's sporty billing and buyers with the means would be much better going for the 200PS 2.0 TFSI models. These start at £22,895 (or £500 more for the Sportback version) but there is a 160PS 1.8-litre TFSI unit starting at £21,570. The 2.0-litre quattro with the 6-speed S tronic box costs from £25,695. The prospect of paying these sums for a performance hatchback is a sobering one but, as we've already indicated, the A3 is not what you'd term Max Power fodder.

The impact of the basic S-Line kit is mainly felt on the inside of the car. There's a three-spoke perforated leather steering wheel, a perforated leather gearknob and illuminated vanity mirrors for A3 buyers who need to check on their elaborate fly-away hairstyles. Buyers also benefit from touches of brushed aluminium dotted around the cabin and black headlining adding to the moody interior ambiance. The sports seats are suitably plush in full Vienna leather. All of this comes on top of what's offered in Sport trim, namely electronic climate control, a Concert II CD stereo and, perhaps most saliently, sports suspension. The S-Line models get an upgraded external appearance with a set of 18" '5 arm' alloy wheels and S-Line badging tastefully positioned around the car as well as the fog lights and side sills that come with the Sport. There's also a spoiler mounted on the roof at the back, an S-Line radiator grille and deeper, more aggressive-looking bumpers front and rear. For the £1,550 price premium, you've got an A3 that will have everyone rubbernecking. The 2.0-litre TDI 140 diesel and 2.0-litre TFSI powerplants that many S-Line buyers choose offer a nice blend of rational, cost-effective motoring and performance. The 2.0-litre TDI 140 has 140PS and it can reach 62mph in 9.4 seconds. The engine can also manage a creditable 55.4mpg on the combined cycle, so once you've shelled out the initial asking price, your wallet won't take another pummelling at the pumps. Compare the TDI 140 model's fuel consumption with the 39.2mpg average posted by the 280PS 2-litre petrol car and you'll begin to appreciate why the diesel is the penny pincher's choice.! Put your foot to the floor, where conditions allow, in an Audi A3 S-Line 2-0litre TSFI manual and you'll reach the 62mph barrier in 7s but you'll still be measly two tenths of a second behind the S Tronic version. That's straight-line performance which puts both these A3 S-Line models firmly in the ballpark populated by top hot hatchbacks. Think Renaultsport Megane, Honda Civic Type-R and the benchmark Golf GTi. If you want to go faster, there's always the savage 265PS S3. Audi positions its hatchback in the class above, vying with products like the Mercedes-Benz Sports Coupe and the quicker BMW's 1-Series derivatives. In this company, the A3 still seems a little on the expensive side but its performance looks strong and you can get four-wheel drive as well as that S Tronic gearbox. The S-Line package gives the A3 an added sporting edge for buyers who might not favour the understated approach that Audi usually take when styling their cars. The 1.4 TFSI and the 2.0-litre TDi 140 engine are the value for money choices and the more powerful TDI 170 is a good all-rounder but the 1.8T, 2.0T and 2.0-litre quattro versions are sportier in feel and that will be the bottom line for many. The super-focused S3 model aside, the S-Line models represent the pinnacle of the line-up and they make a darn fine job of it.

Facts at a Glance

Facts At A Glance CAR: Audi A3 S-Line range PRICES: £18,395-£24,700 - on the road INSURANCE GROUPS: 11-18 CO2 EMISSIONS: 238-254g/km PERFORMANCE: [2.0 TDI 140 S Tronic] 0-62mph 8.9s / Max Speed 129mph FUEL CONSUMPTION: [2.0 TDi 140 S Tronic] (combined) 52.3mpg STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front, side and window airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length/Width/Height 4203/1765/1421mm

In the A3 range, S-Line is more of an options pack than a trim level in its own right. It's a collection of desirable extras that buyers of selected A3 models can bolt on to add a touch more visual dynamism. The S-Line pack does nothing to actually enhance the car's handling or performance but it makes the A3 look meaner from most of the angles that matter. S Line is now offered with all the latest, facelifted three-door and Sportback models in the A3 range but not with the entry-level petrol and diesel engine options. Whereas availability was previously limited to cars with quattro four-wheel-drive and/or the ground-breaking S Tronic direct shift gearbox, now almost everyone can get in on the act. The only proviso is that you must order your car with the Sport trim level before you can upgrade to S-Line. On the current, facelifted model, the front wings and the grille are a little shapelier, the headlights are sharper-looking and the side repeaters are now incorporated into the door mirrors. The S-Line package costs an extra £1,550 on top of the Sport trim level, which means that the cheapest S-Line you'll be able to lay your hands on is the 3-door 1.6-litre petrol model at around £18,500 or as a five-door Sportback for around £19,000. Of course, the 102PS 1.6 can't really live up to the S-Line pack's sporty billing and buyers with the means would be much better going for the 200PS 2.0 TFSI models. These start at around £23,000 (or £500 more for the Sportback version) but there is a 160PS 1.8-litre TFSI unit starting at around £20,000. The 2.0-litre quattro with the 6-speed S tronic box costs from around £26,000. The prospect of paying these sums for a performance hatchback is a sobering one but, as we've already indicated, the A3 is not what you'd term Max Power fodder. The impact of the basic S-Line kit is mainly felt on the inside of the car. There's a three-spoke perforated leather steering wheel, a perforated leather gearknob and illuminated vanity mirrors for A3 buyers who need to check on their elaborate fly-away hairstyles. Buyers also benefit from touches of brushed aluminium dotted around the cabin and black headlining adding to the moody interior ambiance. The S-Line models get an upgraded external appearance with a set of 18' '5 arm' alloy wheels and S-Line badging tastefully positioned around the car as well as the fog lights and side sills that come with the Sport. There's also a spoiler mounted on the roof at the back, an S-Line radiator grille and deeper, more aggressive-looking bumpers front and rear. For the £1,550 price premium, you've got an A3 that will have everyone rubbernecking.

The criticism has been levelled at Audi's A3 that it isn't sporty enough. To some extent you can see what the snipers are getting at. This may be Audi's entry-level offering but when you get behind the wheel, that big car feel is very much in evidence. Even for drivers of the sportier derivatives in the range, the styling is understated while the overriding impression is of something much more substantial and sensible than a mere hot hatch. Mind you, that's not to say the range can't accommodate models that display their performance car qualities more flamboyantly. Models like the S-Line - the A3 with additional attitude. In the A3 range, S-Line is more of an options pack than a trim level in its own right. It's a collection of desirable extras that buyers of selected A3 models can bolt on to add a touch more visual dynamism. The S-Line pack does nothing to actually enhance the car's handling or performance but it makes the A3 look meaner from most of the angles that matter. S Line is now offered with all the latest, facelifted three-door and Sportback models in the A3 range but not with the entry-level petrol and diesel engine options. Whereas availability was previously limited to cars with quattro four-wheel-drive and/or the ground-breaking S Tronic direct shift gearbox, now almost everyone can get in on the act. The only proviso is that you must order your car with the Sport trim level before you can upgrade to S-Line. This means that eligibility now extends from the 1.6-litre FSI engine right up to the 3.2-litre quattro models. On the current, facelifted model, the front wings and the grille are a little shapelier, the headlights are sharper-looking and the side repeaters are now incorporated into the door mirrors. The S-Line package costs an extra £1,550 on top of the Sport trim level, which means that the cheapest S-Line you'll be able to lay your hands on is the 3-door 1.6-litre petrol model at around £18,500 or as a five-door Sportback for around £19,000. Of course, the 102PS 1.6 can't really live up to the S-Line pack's sporty billing and buyers with the means would be much better going for the 200PS 2.0 TFSI models. These start at around £23,000 (or £500 more for the Sportback version) but there is a 160PS 1.8-litre TFSI unit starting at around £20,000. The 2.0-litre quattro with the 6-speed S tronic box costs from around £26,000. The prospect of paying these sums for a performance hatchback is a sobering one but, as we've already indicated, the A3 is not what you'd term Max Power fodder. The impact of the basic S-Line kit is mainly felt on the inside of the car. There's a three-spoke perforated leather steering wheel, a perforated leather gearknob and illuminated vanity mirrors for A3 buyers who need to check on their elaborate fly-away hairstyles. Buyers also benefit from touches of brushed aluminium dotted around the cabin and black headlining adding to the moody interior ambiance. The sports seats are suitably plush in full Vienna leather. All of this comes on top of what's offered in Sport trim, namely electronic climate control, a Concert II CD stereo and, perhaps most saliently, sports suspension. The S-Line models get an upgraded external appearance with a set of 18' '5 arm' alloy wheels and S-Line badging tastefully positioned around the car as well as the fog lights and side sills that come with the Sport. There's also a spoiler mounted on the roof at the back, an S-Line radiator grille and deeper, more aggressive-looking bumpers front and rear. For the £1,550 price premium, you've got an A3 that will have everyone rubbernecking. The S-Line package gives the A3 an added sporting edge for buyers who might not favour the understated approach that Audi usually take when styling their cars. The 1.4 TFSI and the 2.0-litre TDi 140 engine are the value for money choices and the more powerful TDI 170 is a good all-rounder but the 1.8T, 2.0T and 2.0-litre quattro versions are sportier in feel and that will be the bottom line for many. The super-focused S3 model aside, the S-Line models represent the pinnacle of the line-up and they make a darn fine job of it.

Scores
Performance 7
Handling 6
Comfort 8
Space 7
Styling 9
Build 9
Value 6
Equipment 6
Economy 6
Depreciation 7
Insurance 6
Total 77
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