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. 

Engine response is good 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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