Driven: 2013 Audi A3 Sportback 1.8 S-Tronic

Let me start off by saying the last time I drove an Audi was back in 2011 which was a 2010 S3. Now this S3 is properly quick and I was so busy trying to put the pedal through the floor of the car that I had no time to notice the detailing and the normal every day drive of the thing. Well this weekend I got to drive the brand-spanking new A3 Sportback 1.8 S-Tronic and I am extremely impressed.

The colour of the car was Monsoon Grey and I think this is the best colour on this car by far. Yes it shows dust a little more than white (my 2nd favourite colour) but the grey really suits the new styling of the car especially with the new rear lights. This car had the S-Tronic gearbox which is similar to DSG except for the fact that it is a 7-speed longitudinal version. As you climb into the car you are overwhelmed with the new car smell and the incredible finish of the interior bits and pieces. The Audi Music Interface gives you a nice little surprise by popping up from the dashboard and disappearing again when you switch the ignition off (the interface to connect devices to sound system is of course an option but for the music fanatics out there it is a must have). A nice feature they have included is the automatic hand brake release feature. The hand brake is electronic and if you have your seat belt clipped in before you move off from the parking space, it releases it automatically.

The 1.8 S-Tronic comes packing a substantial 132kW and was able to reach 100km/h in a decent 7.3 seconds. The new Audi valvelift system reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions and Audi claim that the engine reacts more quickly and I am sure it does but because accelerator pedal has so much loose play before the rev’s start climbing, it does not really feel that way. Another little glitch for me is the start-stop system because if you want to take a gap in the traffic and the car has switched off, it takes a fraction too long to start up again and then jerks you forward. I know you can switch it off so I would recommend doing that.

On the other side of things, once the turbo kicks in (around 2000rpm), the car really starts to haul and it feels very potent and stable. The ride is unbelievably comfortable and the S-Tronic gearbox is smoother than you can ever imagine. I though the DSG box in my Golf 6 GTI was smooth but this takes it to a whole new level. I didn’t have much time to mess around with the dynamic (sport) setting on the car so I was driving in Auto mode but this was more than substantial. One thing I noticed in Auto mode was the brilliant feedback in the steering wheel and the response to input from the driver was fantastic. I think a 90-year old granny could do a 3-point turn in this without even lifting a finger the car turns so easily.

Back onto the interior quality and to the S3 I drove. Comparing these two is like comparing a carrot to a bulldog (it makes no sense). The 2013 Audi models have taken such a giant leap forward in interior quality and quality in general. Just go into your closest dealer and sit inside one. There is a special feel and a safe feel. If you are looking for a hatch with sufficient boot-space, decent power and impeccable finish then look no further than the new Audi A3 Sportback…

PS: It must be the Sportback, 2 doors is just annoying (trust me I have had one).

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