Style, quality, refinement and dynamics: with that range of talents it’s hardly surprising that the Audi A3 sells so consistently.
Its mid-life restyle is therefore understandably mild. Besides new trim specs and safety kit, there are new headlights (LED optional) plus a new grille and bumper, with similar mods at the back end designed to give an impression of width.
Importantly though there is a new engine in the range, a 2.0 litre four-cylinder TFSI petrol unit offering a 10bhp increase to 187bhp and a 52lb ft torque boost taking it to 236lb ft. It’s available with a standard six-speed manual gearbox or a new S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, with which option the 1285kg A3 2.0 TFSI will run from 0-62mph in 6.7sec and deliver a 152mph top speed.
It’s smooth and linear, with that new torque heft making the A3 lively away from the lights and brillliantly flexible in the mid-range using higher gears. Better yet is the hushed refinement below 4000rpm, overtaken above that by a not unpleasant exhaust rasp.
Electronic traction control only kicks in rarely, enhancing the sporting edge for enthusiast drivers. It’s the best of both worlds as they can also expect a 1.7mpg improvement in combined economy at 50.4mpg on standard 16in wheels, with CO2 emissions reduced to 126g/km.
That typically high Audi level of perceived quality is still there inside and out. The cabin remains class-leading with a very adjustable driving environment and a superb dash especially when you’ve chosen the Virtual Cockpit 12.3in high-def display option.
On the road there’s a great feeling of fluidity and predictabiilty, with fine steering that’s light at low speeds and well weighted at higher ones.
As an alternative to the default A3 diesel this new 2.0 TFSI is really worth a look. It could turn out to be a clever move at resale time, bearing in mind the potential effects of the VW emissions scandal on diesel values. The gamble will cost you at purchase time, however: £27,015 is nearly £2000 more than the A3 2.0 TDI.
Audi A3 2.0 TFSI
On sale: now
Engine: 4 cyls, 1984cc, turbocharged, petrol
Power: 187bhp at 4200rpm
Torque: 236lb ft at 1500rpm
Gearbox: 7-spd dual clutch automatic
Kerb weight: 1285kg
Top speed: 152mph
Economy: 50.4mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 126g/km, 22%