The A3 Saloon was Audi’s answer for the markets where the hatchback version either wasn’t accessible or not as desirable as other models. The sleek looking lines of the compact saloon are reminiscent of the old A4 generations, but it certain has an appeal of its own, as it has a rather distinct personality.
The longer silhouette means that it offers more space in the back, the large doors making access on the rear seat much easier. Visibility has also increased, as the glass surface is now larger and allows for a more airy interior.
On the outside, following a strengthening of the brand image, its looks are similar to the rest of the models offered by Audi. The imposing grille is more angular, while the headlamps are reminiscent of the ones fitted onto the A6 and A7. A pair of fog lamps resides in housing on the intakes from the front bumper and a distinctive lip protrudes forward. The side profile, however, is not that revolutionary, as it resembles its larger brethren a bit too much.
The rear includes some rather good looking narrow taillights, a double exhaust and a subtle spoiler integrated in the boot. Speaking of it, it measures 425 litres, being the largest f the A3 range. The back seats can be folded completely flat in case you want to load something longer – such as skies or golf clubs, but don’t expect flagship storage space. Moreover, even if the rear access is good, as mentioned, the sloping roofline means that tall people may find it a bit difficult to reside on the back seat; move on to the cramp middle seat and the space is even more limited. However, the legroom is more than adequate, so a solution may be either to crouch or to move on the front.
The A3 Saloon, unlike the hatchback, is not offered in basic SE trim, meaning that you’ll have to pay a little bit more if you fancy having one. The cheapest to run and maintain is the 1.6 litre turbocharged diesel. Fitted with a manual transmission, it will return 74.3 mpg and the emissions aren’t too bad either, at 99g/km. Should you prefer a petrol engine, our recommendation would be the 1.4 litre TFSI. Alongside its decent consumption – 60.1 mpg on a combined cycle – it also features Active Cylinder Deactivation, meaning that it will run on only 2 of the 4 cylinders is you’re running at cruise speed. The S-Tronic paddle-shift transmission is quite zippy, but if you select a manual the fuel economy will drop to 58.9mpg. Not the end of the world, but the difference is there.
The price for a base A3 Saloon starts from £23,295, while the top of the range version carries a heftier price tag, of £35,020.