Audi A3 review – performance and 0-60

Performance is not a priority on non-S and RS models, but standard engines do what they say on the tin

Evo rating
  • Able chassis; low kerbweight; basic ergonomics are right
  • Ride, gearshift and refinement all inferior to non-premium rivals; interior quality a big step backwards

As you might suspect, no A3 is a fast car, this is a given considering there are two levels of performance model above it. The 109bhp 30TFSI model is slow, hitting 62mph in over 10.6sec regardless of the manual or S-tronic transmission. The 148bhp 35TFSI cuts that down to 8.4sec and on the road these figures don’t quite do the A3 justice, thanks to a torque curve that is at its full from 1500rpm. The A3’s lithe 1280kg kerb weight, which is nearly 100kg less than the BMW 1-series and Mercedes A-class, helps matters further. 

Overall, manual models are typically long-geared with second topping out at 70mph. The gearing is spaced out reasonably well but first feels too short considering the low-down torque the engines are capable of - giving the A3 a somewhat frenetic driving demeanor in town. 

Plug-in hybrid models hit 62mph in 7.6sec and 6.8sec in their 200bhp and 242bhp variants, respectively, but ultimate performance is held back by their compromised kerb weight which sits at 1560kg. Engine response is good across all models though – the engine perks up with even a gentle brush of the throttle – and it always feels relatively well matched to the gearshift and clutch motion.

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