Audi drivers previously had an easy decision, if you wanted a standard saloon you went for the A4 but if you wanted something smaller it had to be the A3 hatch back.
Then the Audi design team came up with the A3 Saloon, slightly narrower and somewhat shorter than the A4- this now gives you the choice of a saloon that is easier to manoeuvre in crowded urban spaces but it's also large enough to make tackling those motorway journeys less daunting.
The A3 saloon is a variation of the A3 hatchback and although based on the A3 Sportsback, the A3 Saloon shares no body panels with its hatchback cousin. The only similarities between the two are the trim levels and some of the advanced petrol saving technology under the bonnet.
The 2020 Audi Saloon ranges has had a number of exterior tweaks, with changes to the front grille, headlights, and bumpers, while the rear bumper and lights have been reprofiled.
There are three trim specs - Sport, S-line and Black Edition.
Entry-level Sport A3 Saloons come with 17 inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, cruise control, rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers.
Inside Audi have been clever at utilising all the space making the inside roomy and uncluttered.
In terms of equipment, there is dual-zone climate control, sports seats and Audi's MMI infotainment system, with a retractable 7.0in display, Bang & Olufsen audio system, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, sat nav and Audi's online services.
On the S-line trim you'll find LED headlights, 18 inch alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension, additional interior storage and hooks, LED interior lighting, with beefier bumpers, side skirts and18-inch alloys and a cabin that features the S line badging, flat-bottomed steering wheel and part-leather seats that are now a must for any sporting Audi.
The range-topping Black Edition models get tinted rear windows, black exterior trim and an improved speaker system.
Engines available are the 1.0-litre and 1.5 Litre TFSI petrol power pack.
Storage for the A3 Saloon is really quite decent with around 380 litres of space and the boot is well designed with a wide opening and no protruding lip to get the luggage past.
The Female First Practicability test
The A3 we had for the test was the 35 TFSI S-Lin, so how would it measure up to the FF practicability, “test in different situations”? Not just driving around at speed et cetera we always try to see how the car would fit into the everyday lives of our visitors and potential buyers, because that is the reality.
We are a family of six- a mum, dad three teenage boys and a teenage girl. All very active and very demanding, in a very nice way but demanding never-the-less.
So, how does a stunning looking brand new Audi A3 35 TFSI S-Line prove itself in this environment? Well, here we go.
Getting the kids to school is the easy bit, load three kids, three lots of school baggage, including the usual computers, thank goodness for the good-sized boot space. Then off to negotiate the school run dodging the impatient, the last minute, the careless, the inconsiderate, and the harassed drivers all looking to arrive on time in one piece at school.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the A3 S-Line was to navigate, park and unload its passengers despite the distractions and the usual chaos around the school gates.
Entertainment - To give everyone a break we decided to all head off to our caravan and spend the weekend with our eldest son. Yet again the load space was called into use, you know how much 'stuff' five people need to take for a weekend away- clothing, food, the life essential gadgets- they all slotted in the boot with ease.
The journey along the M6 our A3 S-Line was not pushed around by cross winds sticking perfectly in the lane- making for a comfortable drive. Fully loaded the A3 remained sure footed completely untroubled by anything, not to mention a short period of driving rain. I can honestly say it was one of the quietest journeys we had, no boredom, arguments or complaints from anyone.
Well those were among some of the practical day to day things we put the A3 S-Line through in its week with us it performed fantastically and treated us its passengers brilliantly. It was comfortable, as the kids will testify, fast when it was needed, economical, perfectly behaved when driving and perfect to take on any journey. I should also point out that apart from us having to give it a good clean out inside and outside, we returned the car without a single mark, scratch, or chip anywhere, testament to how well the car was designed to handle and cope with a multitude of tasks.
Conclusion – The A3 lives up to its hype, the cars handling is second to none, positive and sure, inside you are immersed in luxury, making for a stress-free journey whether it’s around the corner to the shops or across the country on a long journey, you will arrive feeling fresh and relaxed.
The superb combination of torque and gear ratios while under way, and the mid-range pull is obliging for the drivetrain not to drop down a gear needlessly.
It's responsive and agile on country roads and delivers a good compromise between control and comfort. On motorways, its manners are perfect and easy-going, enhanced by the power steering that retains enough weightiness to give the feeling of being in control. Long journeys quickly and tirelessly slip by. The lane assist and blind spot detection means driving becomes even better.
Well Audi have they delivered on their claim, maybe a few touches missing but these are negligible- I would say the competition will be feeling a touch less smug now.
To repeat what I concluded earlier the 2020 Audi A3 Saloon 35 TFSI S-Line is the best-looking car I have seen and most importantly “It Takes Care of Its Occupants”.