Following the success of the previous third-generation model, Audi hasn’t sought to conjure up a radically different exterior for the A3. Instead, the design progresses the Audi family look with the large honeycomb front grille, alongside more aggressive side vents and angular LED headlights.
There are prominent crease lines set low along the doors and the rear end is totally new – but the overall effect is still unmistakably an A3.
It’s inside the cabin of the A3 where Audi has clearly focused much of its attention. The dash is full of angles and is not so conservative as in the previous model, while the fascia is now trimmed in faux-aluminium – still of typical Audi quality, but a definite change in stylistic direction.
Standard equipment levels are good, with entry-level Technik cars including 16-inch alloy wheels, electrically-adjustable power-folding mirrors, air-conditioning, sat-nav, Bluetooth and a DAB radio. Upgrading to Sport specification brings 17-inch alloys, Audi Drive Select, leather upholstery, climate control and matt black exterior trim.
Moving further up the range brings progressively larger wheels, sports seats, enhanced leather upholstery, privacy glass and a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, as well as a black styling pack.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
There has been a far-reaching swing to a more digital environment in the A3. Every version of the car now gets a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel as standard, with the larger 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit system available as an option on S line trim. All UK cars also come fitted with a 10.1-inch central touchscreen.
The infotainment system is a known quantity, given its application across most of the Audi line-up. It’s a little slow to load when you start up, but is pinpoint sharp in presentation and operation, and feature-packed. It’s a real slice of big-car tech in a compact hatchback. Our only bugbear is that it relies solely on touch inputs, with no MMI rotary dial or other controls for ease of use on the move.