What are you driving?
It's the latest Audi A3 Saloon, which, along with the rest of the A3 line-up, underwent a modest update earlier this year. This is our first chance to drive the revamped four-door on Irish roads. Our test car is a high-spec S line model powered by the 150hp 2.0 TDI diesel engine, which is paired with the S tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Audi Ireland piled in extras worth €3,551, though the standard specification is pretty good.
Name its best bits
We adore how this car looks, especially in S line guise. There's a tasteful body kit, lovely 18-inch alloy wheels and upgraded LED lights. The rear lights, meanwhile, feature that cool sweeping indicator function too. There's not much new about the updated interior, but it's always been one of the best in class so no complaints from us. S line cars get lovely sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and plenty of S badging. The boot is a little bigger than that of the A3 Sportback and three-door (425 litres vs. 380 and 365 respectively).
We'd advise buyers of the S line car to do as Audi Ireland has here and choose to delete the firmer, lower S line suspension. The standard setup is better suited to Irish roads, and so-equipped this car mixes great body control in the corners and high-speed stability with decent long distance comfort.
Anything that bugs you?
There's no reversing camera, which is strange at this price level. Other than that this particular car's refinement isn't great. On certain surfaces there's a little too much tyre roar and the 2.0 TDI engine, while producing plenty of go, is too loud. It's fine at a cruise on the motorway, but just too grumbly everywhere else for my liking. The 1.6 TDI is quieter and actually, I think I'd give the new 1.0-litre turbo petrol option a try unless I did more than 20,000km a year on the motorway.
And why have you given it this rating?
The Audi A3 Saloon is a four-star car all day long. It looks great inside and out, is of high quality and mixes economy and performance well. It's also good to drive in an understated way. If Audi finds a way to quieten down this engine then it might get another half star, though of course this model isn't exactly cheap to buy.
I want to know more
This test drive format is intended to give our first impressions on a car we've not yet fully reviewed. Go to our Ask Us Anything page, send us a question and we'll give you as much detail as you need on any specific aspect.