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Audi A3 2020 review: sedan

EXPERT RATING
7.3
The new A3 40 TFSI S line plus sedan could get old very fast, but there are some great reasons to buy one quick.

How does that well-known saying go: “More choice than an Audi model line-up”. OK, there is no old saying that goes like that but there should be because Audi model ranges seem to have more grades, variants and types than any other brand.

But wait, now there’s even more with the arrival of the A3 40 TFSI S line plus special edition.

There’s also an all-new A3 being readied just around the corner – it’ll make its debut sometime in 2020 and then you can expect it to be rolled out in its various forms in the next 12 months after that.

This explains why we’re reviewing a special edition here. Manufacturers throw more value behind what will be a last-gen car soon to affect an 'orderly run-out' at the end of that line. 

What’s so special about this special edition, then? Do you get anything extra over a regular A3 40 TFSI Sport which this edition supersedes? What’s the catch? How much more do they want? And will an A3 even suit your life anyway – is it practical, fuel efficient, fast? The answers are all here.

Audi A3 2020: 35 Tfsi S Line Plus
Safety rating
Engine Type1.4L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency5.1L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$44,900

Is there anything interesting about its design?   9/10

The A3 sedan has barely changed its look since it arrived in 2013 but it has aged superbly with the help of a few updates over the years. I’m a fan of its proportions with the long bonnet, short boot deck and high waistline.

The A3 sedan has barely changed its look since it arrived in 2013. The A3 sedan has barely changed its look since it arrived in 2013.

This special edition accentuates the sporty look more with larger 18-inch alloy wheels in a five twin-spoke design in contrasting grey, an S Line body kit including badged metal scuff plates and sports suspension which lowers the ride height by 15mm.

The A3 sedan's cabin has barely changed since its 2013 arrival. The only indication it's been around for so long is the small media screen which slides itself in and out of the dash, the rest of the interior is still modern and stylish. More than making up for that small screen is the 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster that this special edition brings as standard.  

This special edition accentuates the sporty look more with larger 18-inch alloy wheels. This special edition accentuates the sporty look more with larger 18-inch alloy wheels.

Leather upholstery is also standard and our car's was 'Rock Grey' in colour - a safer bet than white unless you plan on never eating or even just sitting in the car. 

The dimensions show the A3 Sedan to be 4458mm end-to-end, 1416mm tall and 1960mm wide (with the wing mirrors folded out).

Beware, this A3 could be the ‘old one’ soon. The new-generation A3 will make its debut in 2020 and will have a different look.

How practical is the space inside?   6/10

The answer is no, not very practical. Not for somebody my height with my life. I’m not being mean, it’s the truth. I’m 191cm tall and I can barely sit behind my driving position because legroom and headroom is that tight.

There isn't a lot of leg room in the back. There isn't a lot of leg room in the back.

I have a four-year-old and it was hard enough fitting a top-tether car seat in there with the low ceiling let alone trying to strap him in which saw me kneeling in the gutter.

Room up front is better and while I don’t have a headroom issue it’s still a snug fit for me with my wingspan.

Room up front is more spacious than the back, but it's still a bit of a snug fit. Room up front is more spacious than the back, but it's still a bit of a snug fit.

Cabin storage isn’t great with just two cupholders on board (in the front), while door pockets are small and so is the centre console storage bin.

The special edition does bring more in the way of utilities such as a wireless charging pad, and you’ll also find two 12-volt outlets (one up front and another in the back) and two USB ports (up front).

The A3 sedan’s boot is pretty decent in cargo capacity at 425 litres. The A3 sedan’s boot is pretty decent in cargo capacity at 425 litres.

The A3 sedan’s boot is pretty decent in cargo capacity at 425 litres which is 85 litres more than the Sportback, but that hatch is more practical due to a larger boot opening and the load space offered with the rear seats folded.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The A3 40 TFSI S line plus sedan lists for $50,900 and the regular A3 40 TFSI Sport lists for $48,400.

Audi says the special edition comes with up to $11,000 extra value. What does that equate to in extra features? Here’s what the S line plus gets over the regular car: 18-inch alloy wheels, proximity key, power adjustable and heated front seats, auto folding mirrors, sat nav, 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster, wireless charging, LED headlights and tail-lights, plus the S line body kit.

The S line plus comes standard with18-inch alloy wheels. The S line plus comes standard with18-inch alloy wheels.

That’s in addition to the regular features such as a 7.0-inch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, CD player, eight-speaker stereo, leather-clad steering wheel with dual-zone climate control and leather upholstery.

Is it good value? Heck yes, and it’s more affordable than a similarly specified BMW 1 Series or Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

Keep in mind, though, the Sportback version of the 40 TFSI S line plus costs $1600 less and has the same features. It’s also more practical, but not as pretty to me. Let’s talk about that.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The A3 40 TFSI S line plus is a special edition but the engine hasn’t been given any extra grunt. Under that bonnet is a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder making 140kW/320Nm, shifting gears is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The A3 40 TFSI S line plus is a special edition but the engine hasn’t been given any extra grunt. The A3 40 TFSI S line plus is a special edition but the engine hasn’t been given any extra grunt.

 

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

According to Audi the A3 40 TFSI S line plus’s fuel economy is 5.8L/100km and that’s over a combination of urban and open roads driving.

My own testing saw a higher mileage. So, after 192km of motorways and daily commutes into the city I put in 18.8 litres of premium unleaded, which works out as 9.8L/100km.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

Leave any doubts that the A3 40 TFSI S line plus isn’t a real Audi at the door, please. This might be a bargain from a prestige point of view but the dynamic ability and driving experience are exceptional.

Yes, the steering is a bit light and numb, and sure the ride on those 225/40 R18 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres with sports suspension frankly isn’t all that comfortable, but those of you looking for an engaging drive with pretty good acceleration (0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds) will be happy.

The steering is a bit light and numb. The steering is a bit light and numb.

The Audi A3 40TFSI S line plus has comfortable supportive seats, good visibility and dimensions which make it the perfect little prestige limo for city parking and navigating through narrow lane ways.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

The A3 was given the maximum five-star rating when it was tested in 2013 and while safety has come a long way since then Audi has updated the car with more advanced safety tech over the years, but even then you’ll have to option equipment that’s standard on most new cars.

Coming standard is AEB, traction and stability control, ABS and a suite of airbags.

Our car was optioned with the $1500 'Assistance Package' which adds adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance, city AEB, and auto high beam. Also, part of the pack is 'Traffic Jam Assist' which will steer and brake the car, and 'Emergency Assist' which will bring the car to a halt if it detects an inactive driver.

Lift up the boot floor and you’ll find a space saver spare wheel. Lift up the boot floor and you’ll find a space saver spare wheel.

For child seats you’ll find two ISOFIX mounts and three top tether points across the second row.

Lift up the boot floor and you’ll find a space saver spare wheel waiting to save the day.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   6/10

The A3 40 TFSI S line plus is covered by Audi’s three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Servicing is recommended every 15,000km or 12 months which is the same coverage as rivals BMW and Benz but falling behind the duration of the mainstream industry.

A service plan is available – it’s a three-year/45,000km program and costs $1680.

The low score here is down to that short coverage. Come on Audi, make it five years.

Verdict

When the Audi A3 Sedan made its world entrance in 2013 it showed how a small car could be elegant, sporty and not a hatchback. The 40 TFSI S line plus looks almost like a last hurrah for the car before the next-gen A3 comes in 2020. You may want to wait for that if you’re concerned you’ll be driving a new car with the old look, or buy this one now and get good value for money. 

Comment call to action: Would you buy the current Audi A3 Sedan knowing that a new-gen one is just around the corner? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing guides

$49,300
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$36,600
Highest Price
$62,000

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
35 Tfsi (1.4 Tfsi) 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $49,800 2020 Audi A3 2020 35 Tfsi (1.4 Tfsi) Pricing and Specs
35 Tfsi Quattro S Line Plus 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $52,400 2020 Audi A3 2020 35 Tfsi Quattro S Line Plus Pricing and Specs
35 Tfsi S Line Plus 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $52,400 2020 Audi A3 2020 35 Tfsi S Line Plus Pricing and Specs
40 Tfsi QTR (2.0 QTR Tfsi) 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $59,500 2020 Audi A3 2020 40 Tfsi QTR (2.0 QTR Tfsi) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.3
Design9
Practicality6
Price and features8
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety7
Ownership6
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$44,900

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

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