Of late there has been quite a lot of noise about a new Audi
that’s on its way to India. There have been many hash tags on social media
sites claiming #thenextbigAudi will soon make it to the Indian market in a
couple of months’ time. So the Next Big
Audi is actually the second of the smallest cars that Audi makes. The idea is
to fill the gap in the small premium compact segment that has been exploited by
BMW and Mercedes for quite a while.
It’s in this segment that some rivals have made a slight
mistake. Audi’s German counterparts have brought out hatchbacks, which are not
as favourable as sedans in India. Audi
has made a smart move to bring in the A3 Sedan. On the inside it’s the same
chassis that you get in an Octavia and the same engine and transmission you get
in every VW group models just tuned differently. So at first glance it looks
like a Volkswagen with some Audi bits on it. I went down to Udaipur to find out
what the fuss was all about.
Once you lay your eyes on it, the A3 looks like just another
Audi, the signature diamond designed grill at the front and sharply cut and
shaped headlamps, an integrated spoiler on the boot lid and split narrow rear
wrap around tail lights with 17” allow wheels. What also seems to play into the
A3 Sedans hands is that it looks longer than it actually is like most Audis.
This begs the question; does it just look like an Audi, or does it feel like
one as well? And the answer will blow your mind.
You may think it’s a halfhearted job by Audi for the A3,
just to fill in a price bracket to tap a market. But when you get inside you
get the same feel as you would get in an A4, A6, A7 or even an A8. Maybe not as
many features as the A8 and A7 but you do get the feel you’re in an Audi. The
plush leather seats, the familiar Audi dash and instrument cluster, the 7”
infotainment monitor that pops out of the top of the dash just like in the A4
all feels like an Audi should.
One of the really nice features is the Bluetooth
connectivity which is really easy to pair with an iPhone, and the easy access
buttons and the single knob to control the entertainment system which is really
easy to use with Audi’s MMI Touch. The four-spoke steering wheel comes with
multifunction buttons and scroll on either side for the entertainment system,
the Navigation, voice command and controls for the infotainment system as well.
The panoramic sunroof also gives a bright feel in daylight to the cabin, the
air conditioning is chilling as the air blows from the neatly turbine designed
air vents which also have a diffuse system and dual zone climate control, the
grey shiny plastic accent that runs across the dash adds quite a nice feel to
the entire cabin and all of that finished with millimeter perfect German
precision. All in all, it’s a nice comfortable place to be in. But what the
base model lacks are some features like daytime running LED lights, the Bi
Xenon headlamps, Navigation and a rear camera for parking assistance.
To drive though, it’s another animal all together. Driving
it on the gorgeous and nearly empty Mount Abu Highway, the 2 Litre TDI engine
is insanely impressive. Paired with the 6 speed S-tronic Gearbox, the Diesel
engine generates 143bhp with 320Nm of torque which is why doing 0-100 takes
just 8.6 seconds. It’s nice on paper, but on the road however it feels like it
wants to be driven. You floor the throttle and you just easily cruise at
180kmph on the highway and it only feels like you’re doing 80Kmph. You just
don’t realise it until you glance at the speedo. The car feels just so planted
like it has its own magnetic field around the earth. You gun it on the
straights to about 220 to 240kmph and you brake to slowdown to turn and when
you feel it’s enough you realise you’re at 140kmph.
As you turn in with the perfectly weighted steering wheel
you get a confidence boost and the light-weight aluminium bonnet and aluminium
suspension components that reduces the weight at the front and the load on the
front wheels making its turn in quite nicely. It taunts you to go faster and
put the power down even at tight corners and you’re at 140 and it still tells
you to go faster. Even in the rain it holds station. No loss of grip at over
160kmph at turns, if it does slide the traction control kicks in and take care
of it instantly. I’m sure I could do the turns at over 200km/h but due to the
village population and commercial vehicle traffic, I decided to skip that test.
The transmission is smooth and instant, you don’t realise when you change up or
down even in Manual Sport mode with the sequential shifter. The only problem
is, it rides a bit too hard for my liking. A slightly softer suspension would
make it comfortable. But honestly, you’d be having so much fun you wouldn’t
notice the hard ride.
At low speeds in city traffic it’s actually more
comfortable. It rides nice in city driving. Fuel economy is insane with 20kmpl
from the diesel and 16.6kmpl from the 40TFSI 1.8 litre, four cylinder TFSI
petrol which is even more powerful, is mated to a 7 speed S tronic gearbox,
produces 180 horses and does 0-100kmph in 7.3 seconds which means it’s probably
more fun to drive. But unfortunately, I only drove the diesel version and I
In conclusion the A3 is a serious threat to competition. But
it all depends on how Audi plans to price it. If too close to the A4, then the
Germans will have some problem justifying it. My prediction of the price will
be anything under 27Lakhs for the top variant. But whatever may the price be,
I’d say go for it. It’s after all a global star too (World Car of the Year).
1968cc, 4-cylinder TDI
6-speed S Tronic
McPherson Strut with lower wishbone/Four link with separate springs