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In-depth reviews

Audi A3 review - Interior, design and technology

The exterior design of the A3 is stylish, if conservative, while the interior is class-leading in terms of quality

The A3 carries some familiar Audi trademarks, with the style of the lights and the large grille found on everything from the A1 to the A8. However, it’s an attractive design with a quality look, but it's more conservative than the likes of the Mercedes A-Class.

For us, the most visually appealing model in the range is the Saloon model, which has the sharpest looks of any A3 and is one of the neatest three-box designs in the entire Audi range. The second-generation Cabriolet is based on the Saloon’s underpinnings, which ensures it appears a classier soft-top than its dumpy looking predecessor.

A3 SE Technik and Sport models look fairly restrained on the outside, but range-topping A3 S line and Black Edition models stand out more with their 18-inch alloys and sporty bodykit. The S3 is set apart by its quad exhausts, plus silver detailing and badging, while the RS 3 has flared wheelarches, two big oval tailpipes and its own logos.

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Audi exclusive allows buyers to choose from any of the firm’s paints or wide selection of exclusive shades, while the custom option lets you pick whatever colour you want.

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What the A3 lacks in exterior excitement it makes up for on the inside, with a stylish and simple dashboard design and impressively high-quality materials throughout. It looks a bit dated next to its more modern rivals, however.

Entry-level SE Technik spec cars get 16-inch alloy wheels, sat-nav, cruise control and rear parking sensors, with the higher trims adding significant luxury equipment from there.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Every A3 gets a slick, 5.8-inch infotainment screen that pops out from the top of the dash. This is controlled by a rotary wheel on the centre console – which is an excellent feature to find on entry level models.

There is a tech pack that you can add, however, that includes Audi's virtual cockpit system - it's a brilliant upgrade that lets you display anything from the screen in front of you, in between the digital dials. It's easy to use, looks great and makes it safer to glance at the sat-nav, too.

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