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2022 Audi A3 Quattro first drive: is it good enough for Audi?

audi a3 full overview

Advantages

  • Planted driving dynamics
  • Refined and efficient powertrain
  • Elegant styling

The inconvenients

  • Limited standard security features
  • Less power than the previous model
  • Cabin a bit noisy

Let us let you in on a little secret: for many shoppers, the badge is important. How a car makes them feel when they see it in their driveway or in a parking lot is in many ways just as valid a reason for them to own it as the quality of its ride, its value per dollar, or its isolation. road. .

Take for example the case of the redesigned 2022 Audi A3. Given our $43,440 test vehicle as a conservative option, there are bigger, more powerful cars with as many or more features available at a lower price like Genesis (GV70), Lexus (IS), Acura (Integra ), and even a few non-luxury brands such as Mazda, Kia and Honda.

But the four rings have a ton of cachet and a lot of German prestige. Buyers in the luxury subcompact segment are dipping their toes into the luxury market, with the A3 and each of its direct competitors representing their automakers’ most accessible models. The question becomes, is the A3 enough of an Audi to satisfy those early luxury buyers?

A new generation A3

Audi is billing the 2022 A3 as an all-new small sedan, replacing the previous-generation A3 that’s been on sale since the 2015 model year. Its sharp, updated styling looks more mature and sleek in person than on the photos, and it’s 1.4 inches longer, half an inch longer and 0.8 inches longer than the car it replaces, which helps visually distinguish the new A3 from its predecessor.

What underpins and powers the A3 2022 has also changed a lot. Audi’s latest subcompact sedan uses the same MQB Evo platform as its distant cousin, the Volkswagen GTI MkVIII, and it’s powered by a version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder code E888 that we found under the hood of several Volkswagen Group products ranging from the Volkswagen Passat to the Porsche Macan. But in the new A3 it’s a little different – here the turbo-four is complemented by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that not only delivers a noticeable improvement in fuel economy (28/36 mpg city/highway for the AWD model we tested on the outgoing car’s 22/30 mpg), but also benefits the car’s overall driving experience.

On the road

The best thing we can say about the hybrid system is that we barely noticed it. The setup allows the A3 to drive with the engine off in certain driving situations, and best of all, when the engine started again, we never noticed a shudder in the cabin.

Similarly, the A3’s mild-hybrid setup is responsible for such refined low-speed behavior that we initially could have sworn it was fitted with a conventional automatic as opposed to its dual-clutch automatic, whose many tend to show choppy, unrefined tendencies. while crawling through traffic. This is not the case in the new A3. Its dual-clutch also provided quick and crisp shifts when we drove hard, which turned out to be the best of both worlds.

The 2.0-liter turbo-four is actually down in power from last year’s AWD A3; instead of offering separate power levels for the standard front-wheel-drive A3 and the model equipped with Audi’s Quattro AWD system, each 2022 A3’s engine produces 201 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, significantly less than the 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of the outgoing model. ft. The A3 is now the least powerful German subcompact sedan, behind the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé and the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class.

When we tested a previous-generation A3 with AWD, it hit 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds. For this year’s model, that same sprint took 6.4 seconds. The 2015 A3 we tested was also a second faster in the quarter mile (14.0 versus 15.0 seconds) and beat the A3’s 26.3-second figure-eight time by 0.7 seconds. 2022. Our track testers described the engine as adequate but nothing special, and pointed out that the test vehicle was obviously not one of Audi’s S models. That said, they liked the car’s satisfying and stable launch control system.

Indeed, Audi’s powertrain, while smooth and torquey, leaves something to be desired at full throttle during passing maneuvers. The kind of driver who regularly pushes the starter pedal to the mat will wish they had opted for the 306-horsepower S3.

Although our test crew noted slightly dull cornering, a lack of initial brake bite, and a fair amount of body roll on the trail, the A3 feels planted and direct on the road, possessing the kind of high-speed stability that we expect from German sedans. The ride is a little loud and firm – it’s not an A8 – but it feels sophisticated and not at all punishing by hard impacts. Those who order their A3 without the sports suspension of the Black Optic Sport package and the 18-inch wheels (17 are standard) may fare better.

The A3 has technology

Inside, the A3 has a front-and-center 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment setup that uses the same screen as the systems in Audi’s more expensive models. Seriously, this is literally the exact screen you’ll find in a $120,000 Audi RS Q8. The infotainment suite is logically laid out and generally easy to use, and we like the way Audi separates the hard buttons and switches for the climate controls. On the other hand, the quarter-sized touchpad that Audi provides for adjusting volume or changing songs? We would prefer to have better physical controls.

Our tester was fitted with the standard 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster display, as opposed to Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit setup that comes with the Technology Pack. The screen displayed plenty of high-resolution information clearly, including Google Maps navigation data, and we didn’t find ourselves wanting a bigger screen. A note about the navigation system, though: when we searched for the name of a movie theater (with a single location in Los Angeles), the system first suggested locations in San Francisco and Dallas. We opted to use the standard wireless Apple CarPlay instead.

In terms of driver assistance features, Audi only includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic high beam as standard (not uncommon for German cars in the segment), but our example’s $3,300 Premium Plus package added adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic assist, among other goodies. The features all worked as they should, and we particularly liked the smooth, natural braking of the adaptive cruise system. One sore point: the low resolution and fisheye rear camera lens make the A3 harder to park than it should be.

Now let’s move on to the most serious problems we had. During our initial loan, the infotainment system crashed several times (sometimes unable to restart for hours), the navigation stopped working for days at a time, and several driver assistance features failed. been completely disabled. Audi was unable to replicate the issues, and on a second loan in a different A3, so were we. We think these issues are unlikely to be present in an A3 you buy in the field, but they are worth mentioning.

Is this enough for Audi?

For the first-time luxury car buyer, the buyer who is thrilled to see a premium badge on the nose of their new tank, does the new 2022 Audi A3 do enough to sell that experience? Why yes, yes. Sure, there are aspects of Audi’s smallest sedan that remind us of its entry price – chiefly the noisy cabin, firm ride and lackluster performance – but nothing that would preclude our recommendation to a future owner. . So if you’re looking for the first car from a premium automaker, while there are other great options, the A3 does mostly entry-level luxury.

This seems good! More details?

2022 Audi A3 Quattro (40 TFSI) Specifications

STARTING PRICE

$37,895

PRICE AS TESTED

$43,440

VEHICLE UPFIT

Front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

ENGINE

2.0L DOHC 16-Valve Direct Injection Turbocharged Inline-4

POWER (SAE NET)

201 hp at 4,800 rpm

TORQUE (NET SAE)

221 lb-ft at 4,100 rpm

TRANSMISSION

7-speed dual-clutch automatic

CURB WEIGHT (DIST FWD/REW)

3,479 pounds (59/41%)

WHEELBASE

103.5 inches

Length x Width x Height

176.9 x 71.5 x 56.2 inches

0-60MPH

6.4s

QUARTER MILE

15.0 sec at 91.3 mph

BRAKING, 60-0 MPH

119 feet

LATERAL ACCELERATION

0.89g (average)

MT FIGURE EIGHT

26.3 sec @ 0.66 g (average)

EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECONOMY

28/36/31mpg

EPA RANGE, COMB

450 miles

ON SALE

Now