German cars are too expensive! I hear that from a lot of people. And while this generalization is usually correct, it is not always applicable. A case in point is this week’s tester, the 2022 Audi A3, which has a starting price of just over $35,000. Sure, it’s small and impractical for families, but for a young executive or someone looking to dip their toe in the luxury car market, the A3 ticks the box.
And for 2022, the A3 will be completely redesigned. What does complete mean? That means the 2022 version has a new look both outside and inside. But there are also new powertrain offerings and even improved fuel economy.
The front of the car is shaped by a large, mesh-like grille with the Audi logo in the center at the very top. The radiator grille is flanked by strikingly shaped LED headlights. More subtly styled but certainly completing the front end is an air vent near the lower side panels that matches the mesh design of the grille. This will help tie the styling together. The taillights start out long and then gradually recede towards the Audi logo at the rear. This adds a special touch at night and is about the only stylish feature on an otherwise ho-hum rear. Although kudos to the designers at Audi for adding the same mesh design to the lower quarter on the back to really show the congruence in the A3’s design.
Subtle design cues like these often show balance and offer a finished look.
There are three different engines for the A3, including the base 2.0-litre turbocharged that my tester had. But there are two sportier options, including a supercharged 2.0-litre turbocharged engine for the S3 variant and the super-sporty 2.5-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder of the RS 3. As tested, the least powerful engine has 201 hp and 221 pound-feet of torque. Those are pretty walking numbers, but it still feels punchy and looks to beat those numbers from behind the wheel.
It’s further aided by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and features Audi’s all-wheel-drive Quattro system to add confidence to the performance. As such, this is a small car with some driving dynamics, even with the base engine.
In addition to the smaller base engine, the Audi A3 has impressive fuel economy. It has an EPA rating of 28mpg/city and 36mpg/highway. Even getting on the throttle I averaged nearly 34mpg. Anytime you can surpass 30mpg in a non-hybrid, that’s an accomplishment, especially with all-wheel drive.
Inside, the A3 oozes elegance and shows why it would make a great young executive car. My tester was dressed in Santos Brown, which matches the faux wood accents found on the door and dashboard. Adding to the ‘designed by an interior designer’ atmosphere is the accent gray on the sides of the seats, which is also found on the door panels. Similar to the exterior design elements, this really helps tie the interior design together for a luxurious look.
Audi technology is often over-engineered. While some of their features are decent, once you learn how to use them, they have a steep learning curve. Despite an attractive 10.1-inch touchscreen and a sleek 10.3-inch digital cluster, the infotainment system doesn’t get intuitive. Aesthetically it’s beautiful, but it can be awkward to master.
The A3 is technically a five-person vehicle, but think of it more as a four-seat comfortable vehicle, as two adults in the back seat would be fine. And for a lowered vehicle, getting in and out of the seats is actually quite easy.
The trunk is relatively small even for a small car. The 10.3-cubic-foot cargo space is good for a set of golf clubs, but not much more. The rear seats can be folded in a 40/20/40 arrangement, which offers a bit of cargo flexibility, but this is certainly not a car to buy if you have a lot of stuff to move.
My tester was the 2022 Audi A3 40 TFSI Quattro. The base price was $35,900. Several packages have been added, including the Premium Plus package, which includes several sensor-based driver assistance features. The technology package had an advanced sound system by Bang & Olufsen and Audi’s MMI-based navigation system. 18-inch wheels cost an additional $800, and the aforementioned Interior Style Package, which includes the gray inlays and faux-wood accents, cost an additional $550. As tested, the final MSRP was $44,440.
The redesigned Audi A3 is aimed at a specific buyer who might want a vehicle that drives with personality, looks like part of a luxury vehicle but is priced affordable to be an ideal everyday driver for a young professional.
Jimmy Dinsmore is the Automotive Editor for The Weekend Drive and a freelance automotive journalist and author of two books, Mustang by Design and Ford Trucks: The History of the Ford F-Series.
#Test #drive #Audi #shows #price #cars