December 17, 2014 @ 12:24 PM

Review: Audi A3 1.8 TFSI tested

Don’t think for once that the Audi A3 is a shrink-rayed version of the Audi A4. By Chris Ng

Don’t think for once that the Audi A3 is a shrink-rayed version of the Audi A4

There is a huge problem with car companies that adopt very similar front-ends across the entire range of vehicles because once you’ve seen one you really have seen them all. There’s nothing new and fresh, no groundbreaking eye candy that will make heads turn twice in spite of having fancy head- and tail lamps; which are already quickly becoming monotonous. The case in point is this Audi A3.

Exterior (Score: 3/5)

One look at the Audi A3 and you might think that this was originally an A4 that got shrunk two-sizes down. And it remains this way even after the first glance has become a long hard stare. All the lines and curves of the A3 – from nose to tail – can be found nearly verbatim to the A4, so much so that the designers might be accused of being indifferent and unimaginative. C’mon Audi, where’s the wow?

Interior (Score: 4/5)

Crack open the door and you’ll find the A1’s dashboard in here, but not quite similar. Things have been moved around enough that refreshes the living room. In spite of the classy finishing, the A3 does not rise up to the same level of posh the Four Rings is renowned for. In fact, if comparisons need be made, the materials feel very similar to what its Vee-Dub cousins would wear. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but I expected more things to be wrapped in skin.

Still, let it not be said that the A3’s interior is without quality for the fit and finish is quite the masterwork.

Power and handling (Score: 5/5)

The test car is fitted with a 1.8-litre charged to deliver 180bhp and 280Nm of torque. The six-speed S-tronic helps move the car to 100kph from zero in 6.7 seconds. While it upshifts smooth and quick, the dual-clutch gearbox tend to fumble a little when coming down from speed. Nevertheless, it will move quickly from green light to red light quickly.

This A3 comes armed with quattro, so it can and will happily slip into corners, get swung around sharp turns with a smile and straighten out apexes with much glee. Turn off traction control if you are feeling adventurous; although the system never really goes off and instead put you into a sort of a sport setting.

Tech and Safety (Score: 5/5)

Is it loaded with tech? Not quite. You do get a huge wheel that makes it easier to navigate around the menu. And the screen can be tucked into the dashboard when not needed, which is very neat.

As for safety, the A3 has seven airbags on standby in addition to the ESP that hosts a party of safety systems. Just another day in the office.


So it doesn’t look totally bland, its coupe silhouette is actually quite attractive but it still does not look as good as the CLA, the A3’s eventual rival. But if you can look past its rather stoically-shaped shell and the less-than-luxurious interior, the A3 is actually the better car to drive.

Overall score: 17/20

Audi A3 1.8 TFSI

RM240,888 OTR without insurance
1798cc, 4-cyl, in-line petrol engine with direct petrol injection, turbocharged & Audi valve-lift system 180bhp @ 5100-6200rpm, 280Nm @ 1350-4500rpm
6-speed S tronic, quattro four-wheel drive
6.7sec 0-100kph, 228kph (limited), 6.6l/100km, 152g/km

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