Audi A3 Saloon review - Interior, design and technology
There are few surprises inside or out, but the A3 Saloon still boasts a premium, high-quality feel
Audi’s design philosophy tends to run along the lines of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, so the A3 Saloon is barely distinguishable from other cars in its compact car range.
From head-on, the saloon looks identical to the A3 hatch, while moving to the side reveals the standard three-box shape that marks out all of the Audi saloons. Indeed, when viewed from a distance, and with no scale of reference, the A3 Saloon could be confused with an A4, A6, or even the flagship A8.
For some people Audi’s uniform look isn’t a bad thing, as the sharp, no-nonsense lines, tight panel gaps and distinctive light clusters give the car a simple, yet classy appearance. In fact, the optional LED daytime running lights even make the A3 appear quite stylish, although as part of a £2,000 LED headlamp upgrade package they certainly don’t come cheap.
Step inside the Audi A3 Saloon, and again it's immediately evident that the cabin shares its layout with the A3 hatch. That means you get a pop-up display screen on top of the dash, round air vents, a bank of switches and a rotary control wheel just behind the gear lever to operate the infotainment system. You also benefit from Audi’s excellent build quality, but again there are no surprises.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The standard-fit infotainment package on all A3 Saloons includes sat-nav with mapping on the 5.8 inch colour display screen that pops out of the dash. The stereo comes with an 8-speaker installation, a single CD player and Bluetooth or USB/cabled connectivity for streamed music.
If you want to upgrade, £1,145 gets you the Technology Package that brings HDD-based sat-nav with a high-res seven-inch display and 3-D mapping. You also get a DVD player and additional MMI Touch (touch sensitive) functionality with handwriting recognition for when you want to enter postcodes or phone numbers.
A couple of hundred pounds more gives you Audi Connect, which turns your car into a Wi-Fi hotspot. The optional Audi sound system is £255 and gives you a 10-speaker system with 180 Watts of output. For £750 you can specify a Bang & Olufsen surround sound system with 705 Watts and 14 speakers.
In this review
- 1VerdictThe Audi A3 Saloon is an excellent-handling and great-looking alternative to the Mercedes CLA
- 2Engines, performance and driveGreat engines and neat handling, but make sure you tick the options box for 'comfort' suspension
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsEfficient engines and decent depreciation rates make the A3 Saloon a sound economic performer
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingThere are few surprises inside or out, but the A3 Saloon still boasts a premium, high-quality feel
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe A3 Saloon's convincing big car pretensions are only hampered by its compact dimensions
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe A3 gets good reliability feedback from owners, and Euro NCAP gave a glowing five star safety score