2018 Audi A3 India Facelift Review: Audi A3 Facelift is right on time as the compact luxury segment needs refreshes to keep up with changing consumers demands in this category
- Timeless and sporty design inside out
- Superlative chassis, brakes, engine
- Surprisingly spacious
- Priced a bit higher
Luxury car manufacturers are the talk of the town. The roller coaster rates of GST and cess applied to them every now and then, the sales figures which rise and fall. While one manufacturer maintains leadership, the others battle to find niche and supremacy and so on is always in the news since the last few days. Audi has decided since 2017 it will get aggressive.
A slew of changes in the management and product lineup being offered along with world-class promotional activities and marketing campaigns, the manufacturer is line up to claim the top position. The get right numbers though, you need the right car. Audi calls it, ‘The Next Big Audi’. The Audi A3 that is. The car is the entry into the brand and is a sedan that seems to have right ingredients to be a volume spinner for the brand. Audi decided to give it a facelift sometime earlier and now decided to send it to us to spend time with it. Does it have what it takes? Let’s find out.
The car look more like a fastback than a sedan. The perfect mixture of a sedan and a hatchback. Audi does make both internationally and that is where this combination comes from. Straight lines, almost boxy profile but with the low stance and standard Audi elements in the car make it stand out. The door mounted ORVM is always a great addition to make it stand out.
Large grille at the front with typical Audi LED lights which are boomerang shaped at the front and rear with and dynamic turn indicators adds to the cool factor. Lip spoiler, diffuser, the skid skirts embedded into our test car made it look very sporty and the overall design of the car with edgy lamps on both ends are the highlight and help it stand out in the crowd of its peers and every other car.
Interior is the place which Audi always gets it right and the A3 is no exception. High-quality materials all around, tough built and a minimalistic layout of the dashboard that has a pop-up screen is the highlight of the package. Something that can be controlled when to stay inside the dash or at a touch of a button, pop out. Gauges are well done with right fonts and attention to detail in the fuel and temperature gauge adds zing to the cluster area. MID shows everything on offer, right from all the necessary fuel efficiency parameters, tyre pressure monitoring system and the usual warning lights.
Air-vents at the front are very aviation alike units with the turbine vents also reminding you of the turbocharger under the hood. Features list includes everything in connectivity. Heated and fully electric ORVM and IRVM. climate control, sunroof, all around parking sensors, LED head-lights, reversing camera, MMI that can be controlled via the rotary knob below and specific buttons for main functions help makes things easier.
Automatic hill hold, electronic parking brake, start-stop system and cruise control is on offer. 8-speaker sound system is good but could have been better. What is missing though is the start-stop button, keyless entry, Android Auto and Apple Car Play along with the lack of touch screen unit. Seats are very supportive and are electrically adjustable and come wrapped in leather. Space in the back is good for a car of this size. Boot space also is quite adequate.
Engine and Gearbox
When it comes to the power train, the motor and gearbox are the tried and tested 2.0-litre diesel motor mated to a 6-speed DSG gearbox respectively. The motor makes the 143 PS of power and 350 Nm of torque. The power goes to the front wheels. The engine NVH levels are good inside the cabin as it is quiet and clatter-free 95% of the time. It is only when you turn off the music and accelerate really hard then you hear the motor growl inside the cabin.
The motor makes good power till 3500 RPM which means there is a terrific mid-range and very good low-end torque on offer. The 6-speed DSG gearbox is smooth with shifts and is very fast as well. The top-end power is also more than enough with a lighter and compact body with that it has an aerodynamic body kit on offer makes the Audi quite fast on the highways making swift and smooth progress effortlessly. Expecting more than 14.6 km/l is easily acceptable from this car when driven hard. It can deliver upto 18 km/l on the highway.
Ride and Handling
MQB platform really surprised in the way the new Audi’s behave. The ride is of a very mature as it soaks in bumps well and the bigger thuds also do not filter much in the cabin. The right air pressure as always does the right job and since we had that right, the car’s behaviour over expansion joints, bad roads, the uneven fast expressway was spot on. The low-speed ride quality was on the stiffer side but it did the job of keep us comfortable in Mumbai’s far from perfect streets.
Steering has good feedback but could have been better. The steering, however, is direct and precise. The lightness aids manoeuvring in the city an easy task. The brakes were good with all four discs around. While pushing it a bit hard in the corner we realized the wheelbase is longer and there is body roll but none of that spoils having fun on a tight twisty road.
2018 Audi A3 India Facelift Review, Verdict
The aforementioned question was whether the Audi A3 has the right ingredients to make the perfect dish to impress its customer? We think it got a bit spicy as the pricing is on the higher side. Nevertheless, Audi in India is offering the car with almost everything it can give but it does put it in a tricky situation with its sibling, the Audi A4 which gets closer in terms of pricing.
However, this means the ball is still in Audi’s court. A3 then, is the right choice for the daily urban runabout with that added sportiness and is a great tool for those weekend runs out of the city too. We should realize, it’s the 21’st century, a timeline where the younger sibling has an edge over its elder sibling and the A3 makes for a good purchase.