A3: 2017 Audi A3: a new breakthrough in the luxury segment with confidence

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NEW DELHI: The A3 features prominently in Audi India’s product portfolio as a car for those looking to break into the luxury vehicle segment. In its 2017 version, the car has undergone noticeable changes on the exterior, but does it have enough to take on Mercedes’ CLAs?
Exterior
The A3 gets a larger single-frame hexagonal grille up front that gives it a familiar yet powerful appearance. The headlights are also closer to the A4 and are sharper to complement this grille nicely. Bi-xenon headlights are standard, while full LED headlights are optional.

Dynamic turn signals found on other models are now also found in the 2017 A3.
The front bumper also gets an update and now has two slats on each side with chrome used on the lower slat.
Little change on the side, with the 16-inch five-spoke alloys continuing to look adequate.

At the rear, too, there are no big changes, but the reworked taillights with dynamic turn signals add a sporty touch to the design character of the car. The rear bumper has been reworked a bit and there is a diffuser at the bottom.
Interiors
Audi hasn’t tinkered with the interior much and that contributes to the A3’s inherent strength. The dark color hue continues to give the cabin a sophisticated appeal while the AC turbine vents give it a contemporary feel. The feeling of being inside the A3 isn’t much different from what you might expect in an Audi – although this is just the entry-level car here. Germans.

The A3 also gets dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, power-adjustable front seats, a seven-inch MMI infotainment screen – which still isn’t a touchscreen. The screen controls are located on the center console and are relatively easy to use.

The A3 also now gets three-spoke steering – instead of the four-spoke wheel found before. It has a nice, firm grip and even at triple-digit speeds it remained stable and characteristically composed.

Overall, Audi equips its cars with a virtual cockpit that transforms the instrument console behind the steering. The A3 in India lacks this, however.
However, no such complaints are raised by the seats, as the front and rear seats provide a plush feel and enough support to make long highway trips seem relatively easy. The leg and shoulder room in the back, however, could have been a few more inches. It may appear slightly taller than the rear seats of the CLA due to the leaning roofline of the Mercedes. But only fair.

Drive
While also offered in the 2.0-liter diesel option, the A3 for this test review had the turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder. It is not clear that it runs primarily on two cylinders as the car has more than enough horsepower, relying on four cylinders only when needed during heavy driving. The engine is polished and refined, and pulls cleanly – producing maximum power of 148 hp at 5,000 rpm and torque of 250 Nm at 1,500 rpm.
The slightly reduced numbers would only matter especially to those who know the previous generation. For everyone else, the new A3 does a good job of pushing and pulling clean. It goes from zero to 100 km / h in 8.2 seconds while the gear change throughout its push forward remains effective.

The ride itself is nice and made up with the car negotiating speedbreakers and most potholes like it always has. It’s a lively ride for the person behind the wheel and a comfortable experience for the passengers – as long as they’re not too tall or wide.
Verdict
The A3 chooses sophistication where CLA seems to have chosen to be completely sporty.
Audi has still managed to put most of the pieces together well enough to keep things interesting in this segment and the A3 manages to hold its own.
Fast facts:
Price: From Rs 30.77 lakh (ex showroom, Delhi)
1395cc petrol automatic – advertised mileage: 19.2 kmpl
1968 cc automatic diesel – reported mileage: 20.37 kmpl
Length: 4456 mm
Width: 1796 mm
Height: 1416 mm
Seven airbags
Leather seat upholstery


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