Even the very best concepts evolve. In the automotive world, that is very true. Take, for instance, the hatchback—arguably essentially the most environment friendly and sensible automotive design ever. It gives ample storage and plenty of inside room, but has a small footprint to maintain the automotive’s weight and measurement down. The solely downside with hatchbacks? Americans hate them.
By Paul Herrold
Well, not all Americans, in fact—however once you ask anybody to call a hatchback aside from the Volkswagen Golf, you’ll in all probability get an extended pause and a clean stare. So, in 2006, when Audi began importing an upscale A3 hatchback to the US market, it wasn’t an enormous shock that it didn’t promote very properly. Yet, regardless of years of lackluster gross sales, Audi stored at it, solely taking a yr off in mannequin yr 2014 earlier than returning in 2015—as a sedan! The A3 had lastly advanced to cater to the US market and was rewarded with report gross sales.
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In 2022, Audi has gone all-in on the sedan-only theme, bringing us a newly-redesigned A3 that has been totally modernized inside and outside. Slightly longer, wider, and taller than the outgoing mannequin, the brand new A3 has an govt stance with a chiseled entrance finish, muscular fenders, and edgy physique creases—general, this can be a great-looking compact automotive. Inside, you’ll discover a premium-quality sprint with driver’s-side air vents positioned a bit larger than the place you’d count on them nevertheless it seems to be cool and along with the built-in 10.1-inch infotainment display angled in direction of the driving force, the A3 exudes a “driver’s car” vibe. The seats are very comfy with satisfactory room in each back and front. Materials are upscale, and the buttons and switches really feel good and tactile—simply watch out for fingerprint-smudging gloss black plastic across the shifter knob. The quantity knob isn’t really a knob in any respect—it’s a small spherical touchpad that takes some getting used to, but additionally permits you to management different radio parts, and it really works properly. If you neglect your telephone on the wi-fi charging pad once you shut the automotive off, a pleasant voice reminds you to please take your cellular gadget with you—simply my favourite function.
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The A3 is out there with front-wheel-drive or Audi’s “quattro” AWD system. With both drivetrain you’ll get a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mixed with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that provides energy throughout take-offs and improves gas economic system. Per the EPA, front- -drive variations hit 29 mpg/metropolis and 38 mpg/freeway, whereas AWD fashions drop barely to 28mpg/metropolis and 36 mpg/freeway. Power supply is easy and linear, and the engine feels punchy. However, with 201 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque on faucet, don’t count on to be blown away; the A3 runs to 60 mph from a cease in in 6.4 second—not dangerous, however considerably mediocre by right now’s requirements. Changing gears is finished by way of a wonderful 7-speed dual-clutch computerized transmission. Shifts are extraordinarily quick, and you’ll both shift the gears your self, or, if you wish to chill out, put the transmission into totally computerized mode.
Driving the Audi A3 is a deal with. You’ll instantly admire that somebody at Audi took the time to design the steering wheel to be precisely in-frame with the instrument cluster—no have to stretch your neck or squat right down to see all the perimeters of the display. Steering is exact and properly weighted; you may really feel what the tires are doing up entrance. Handling is playful—the automotive feels very balanced in corners. When driving aggressively, nevertheless, a bit of little bit of understeer comes into play, nevertheless it feels deliberate, so you already know precisely once you’re on the sting of grip. The suspension on the A3 might be its greatest function. Road imperfections nearly disappear—it doesn’t matter what you go over. Expansion joints, tough pavement, even potholes— it’s borderline magic.
Pricing begins at $36,590 together with vacation spot (quattro AWD provides $2,000.00) —which is cheap for this class. The choices listing on the A3 is surprisingly restrained; a completely loaded topline Premium Plus quattro rings in at $42,190.00–for a German automaker, that’s actual worth.
From the best way the 2022 Audi A3 seems to be, feels, and drives—there’s a lot to love right here. This is a automotive for individuals who take pleasure in driving, however want one thing sensible sufficient to drive to work, run errands, and take the household alongside. Although the A3 began life within the US as a somewhat-unloved, quirky hatchback, it has since advanced into one thing really particular—a real sports activities sedan that, no less than for me, checks all of the containers, a lot in order that I even ordered certainly one of these for myself, albeit the rather more highly effective, 401-horsepower RS3 model.
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Paul is Chief Editor on the Sons of Speed, and a daily visitor on the Car Stuff Podcast
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2022 Audi A3 Gallery
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