RAC

Audi A3 1.4 TFSI

"This 125PS Audi certainly does the hi-tech part'"

This 125PS Audi certainly does the hi-tech part. You can order it with a clever S tronic semi-automatic 7-speed gearbox that actually improves the economy and emissions. Part of this is thanks to clever start-stop technology, which also goes hand-in-hand with a recuperation system to harness braking energy. In its newly developed form for automatic applications, the start-stop system cuts engine power when the car comes to a standstill at traffic lights or in queueing traffic - the engine then remains dormant as long as the brake pedal is depressed and then restarts in just two-tenths of a second only when it is released in readiness for take-off. With the system's help, economy is boosted and CO2 is reduced by approximately 5g/km, but if required it can be deactivated at the touch of a button. Advanced electro-hydraulic controls and the alternate use of two clutches enable the S tronic gearbox to deliver lightning fast automatic or manual shifts via the gear lever or steering wheel-mounted paddle controls with no interruption of the engine's power delivery across seven ratios. The first of the two clutches serves the odd-numbered gears and reverse, and the second the even-numbered gears, so when the A3 is travelling in third gear, for instance, fourth is already pre-selected in anticipation. As soon as the shift command is given, the first clutch is disengaged and the second engaged in just a few hundredths of a second, virtually seamlessly. Despite this transmission's distinctly sporting slant, it can actually improve economy and reduce CO2 output while at the same time quickening acceleration. This is true of the A3 1.4 TFSI S tronic with start-stop, which reaches 62mph from rest 0.1 seconds more quickly than its manual counterpart at 9.3 seconds, and has a 3.7 mpg advantage over the manual option in the combined cycle economy test, recording 53.3mpg to its 49.6mpg. CO2 is consequently also down at 124g/km, versus the manual version's 132g/km.

The A3 package these days includes more equipment than you might expect. Of course, finding items like manual windows in what purports to be a premium hatch would really dent an owner's cool and the entry-level 1.4-litre TFSI A3 comes with electric front and rear windows, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels and a Thatcham category 1 alarm and immobiliser operated by a remote key fob. Audi haven't skimped on safety gear either, the entry-level car getting the same ESP stability control, anti lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, ASR traction control, EDL electronic differential lock and twin front and side airbags as its more expensive SE, Sport and S line siblings. Choose to trade up to SE specification and you can expect to find a driver's information system, a front centre armrest, front fog lights, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and six-spoke alloy wheels. The Sport trim level features sports suspension, an MP3 compatible CD player, front sport seats, dual-zone electronic climate control and 17-inch five-spoke star design alloy wheels. The S line version runs on 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels and sports suspension, ditches the lumber on the fascia in favour of gloss finished inlays and adds aluminium sill strips, chrome trimmed exhaust tailpipes and a three rather than four-spoke sports multi-function steering wheel. Longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, the current A3 is a car that has punted the A3 back into pole position as the item of choice for the discerning young professional. The most obvious changes on the latest facelifted model are that 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 styling is largely evolutionary, remaining obviously an A3 with the Audi trademark 'single frame' grille, only looking a little stretched. The interior on the latest facelifted model has also come in for some treatment. Believe it or not, but the previous A3 was just starting to look a little off the pace in this department. Even far more mundane cars like the Vauxhall Astra and the Fiat Bravo were beginning to show Audi the way forward in terms of materials quality. The latest A3 ups the ante with more aluminium design elements, revised switchgear, a better quality instrument cluster and a rethink for the upholstery choices. Quattro four wheel drive is of course offered on certain variants. The luggage compartment of the three-door car features 350/1,080 litres of fresh air with rear seats in place and then folded, just pipped by the 370/1,220 litres of the Sportback. At a nominal extra cost, model-for-model, it's probably worth seriously considering the Sportback option, even if you don't really need the extra doors. Many A3 buyers upgrade their cars to Sport and S line specifications, trim levels tweaked by the UK importers to include an upgraded sports suspension kit with modified spring and damper settings designed to improve ride comfort without compromising on agility. Although the entry-level version of this car exists to give Audi a presence in the market at a £17,000 price point, most buyers won't countenance equipment levels below what the SE, Sport and S line trims boast. Therefore, the effective opening price of the car for most buyers will be in excess of £18,000. Given that this will buy you an awful lot of SEAT Leon, how can the 125PS Audi A3 1.4 TFSI possibly justify its existence, priced well above a comparably-engined VW Golf? Quite easily in fact. There will always be customers who want Audi A3s and who recognise that the four rings are a guarantor of cast-iron residuals. Despite its relatively modest power, the A3 1.4 TFSI is still a genuinely covetable depreciation-proofed bauble.

Facts at a Glance

Facts At A Glance CAR: Audi A3 1.4 TFSI range PRICES: £16,880-£20,745 - on the road INSURANCE GROUP: 11-12 CO2 EMISSIONS: 124-137g/km PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 9.4s / Max Speed 126mph FUEL CONSUMPTION: (combined) 49.6mpg STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front, side and window airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, BAS, ASR traction control. WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: [3dr] Length/Width/Height 4203/1765/1421mm

Downsizing. Everyone's doing it. But to what? You need something compact and nuggety with a prestigious feel. And if you don't want diesel, a frugal yet willing engine. Something like this car, Audi's A3 1.4 TFSI. This 125PS Audi certainly does the hi-tech part. You can order it with a clever S tronic semi-automatic 7-speed gearbox that actually improves the economy and emissions. Part of this is thanks to clever start-stop technology, which also goes hand-in-hand with a recuperation system to harness braking energy. In its newly developed form for automatic applications, the start-stop system cuts engine power when the car comes to a standstill at traffic lights or in queueing traffic - the engine then remains dormant as long as the brake pedal is depressed and then restarts in just two-tenths of a second only when it is released in readiness for take-off. With the system's help, economy is boosted and CO2 is reduced by approximately 5g/km, but if required it can be deactivated at the touch of a button. Despite this transmission's distinctly sporting slant, it can actually improve economy and reduce CO2 output while at the same time quickening acceleration. This is true of the A3 1.4 TFSI S tronic with start-stop, which reaches 62mph from rest 0.1 seconds more quickly than its manual counterpart at 9.3 seconds, and has a 3.7 mpg advantage over the manual option in the combined cycle economy test, recording 53.3mpg to its 49.6mpg. CO2 is consequently also down at 124g/km, versus the manual version's 132g/km. The A3 package these days includes more equipment than you might expect. Of course, finding items like manual windows in what purports to be a premium hatch would really dent an owner's cool and the entry-level 1.4-litre TFSI A3 comes with electric front and rear windows, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels and a Thatcham category 1 alarm and immobiliser operated by a remote key fob. STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front, side and window airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, BAS, ASR traction control.

Downsizing. Everyone's doing it. But to what? You need something compact and nuggety with a prestigious feel. And if you don't want diesel, a frugal yet willing engine. Something like this car, Audi's A3 1.4 TFSI. This 125PS Audi certainly does the hi-tech part. You can order it with a clever S tronic semi-automatic 7-speed gearbox that actually improves the economy and emissions. Part of this is thanks to clever start-stop technology, which also goes hand-in-hand with a recuperation system to harness braking energy. In its newly developed form for automatic applications, the start-stop system cuts engine power when the car comes to a standstill at traffic lights or in queueing traffic - the engine then remains dormant as long as the brake pedal is depressed and then restarts in just two-tenths of a second only when it is released in readiness for take-off. With the system's help, economy is boosted and CO2 is reduced by approximately 5g/km, but if required it can be deactivated at the touch of a button. Advanced electro-hydraulic controls and the alternate use of two clutches enable the S tronic gearbox to deliver lightning fast automatic or manual shifts via the gear lever or steering wheel-mounted paddle controls with no interruption of the engine's power delivery across seven ratios. The first of the two clutches serves the odd-numbered gears and reverse, and the second the even-numbered gears, so when the A3 is travelling in third gear, for instance, fourth is already pre-selected in anticipation. As soon as the shift command is given, the first clutch is disengaged and the second engaged in just a few hundredths of a second, virtually seamlessly. Despite this transmission's distinctly sporting slant, it can actually improve economy and reduce CO2 output while at the same time quickening acceleration. This is true of the A3 1.4 TFSI S tronic with start-stop, which reaches 62mph from rest 0.1 seconds more quickly than its manual counterpart at 9.3 seconds, and has a 3.7 mpg advantage over the manual option in the combined cycle economy test, recording 53.3mpg to its 49.6mpg. CO2 is consequently also down at 124g/km, versus the manual version's 132g/km. The A3 package these days includes more equipment than you might expect. Of course, finding items like manual windows in what purports to be a premium hatch would really dent an owner's cool and the entry-level 1.4-litre TFSI A3 comes with electric front and rear windows, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels and a Thatcham category 1 alarm and immobiliser operated by a remote key fob. Audi haven't skimped on safety gear either, the entry-level car getting the same ESP stability control, anti lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, ASR traction control, EDL electronic differential lock and twin front and side airbags as its more expensive SE, Sport and S line siblings. Although the entry-level version of this car exists to give Audi a presence in the market at a £17,000 price point, most buyers won't countenance equipment levels below what the SE, Sport and S line trims boast. Therefore, the effective opening price of the car for most buyers will be in excess of £18,000. Given that this will buy you an awful lot of SEAT Leon, how can the 125PS Audi A3 1.4 TFSI possibly justify its existence, priced well above a comparably-engined VW Golf? Quite easily in fact. There will always be customers who want Audi A3s and who recognise that the four rings are a guarantor of cast-iron residuals. Despite its relatively modest power, the A3 1.4 TFSI is still a genuinely covetable depreciation-proofed bauble. STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front, side and window airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, BAS, ASR traction control.

Scores
Performance 6
Handling 6
Comfort 8
Space 7
Styling 9
Build 9
Value 8
Equipment 6
Economy 8
Depreciation 9
Insurance 6
Total 82

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