2022 Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TFSI S tronic Review : Power Play
Singapore - Oh no! Not another high COE season… But oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles over here. COE prices have been peaking of late, very much to the dismay and displeasure of would-be car buyers.
Previously, the regular A3 was sold as a 1.4 and a 1.0, both which qualified as Category A COE cars. The 1.5 litre variant of the A3 is essentially priced out of reach of most would-be premium car buyers, since its power has been bumped up to 150hp. Audi’s new 1.0 litre car on the other hand, is Category A friendly, and therefore has competition from the BMW 116i and Mercedes-Benz A180.
The 1.0 three-cylinder in the base A3 produces 110hp and 200Nm, which is similar to the previous car. What is new though, is Audi adding a 48V mild hybrid system to the mix, which provides an additional 12hp and 50Nm boost. The new electrification bit does many good things; but most noticeably, it contributes to start-stop smoothness.
That MHEV system also enables the Audi hatchback to coast for up to 40 seconds, while having the engine shut-off - a key contributor to its efficiency. With some disciplined (but not slow) driving, mixed in with fairly-spaced traffic, we managed 4.4l/100km (22.5Km/l). In heavier traffic, the Audi hatch did 6l/100km (16.7km/l); quite excellent numbers if you ask me. Drive is transmitted via a 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission, which provides quick upshifts, allowing you capitalise on that steady stream of torque.
Sure, this bread-and-butter A3 is nothing close to its to its cracking RS 3 sibling, and there is even a 40hp deficit when placed against the 1.5; but the 1.0 hatchback can easily its own in traffic. On the highway, the MHEV system does its best work, adding an extra buzz when overtaking, and lets the engine sleep, when you choose to lift off the throttle..
The A3 Sportback feels accurate around corners, as we expected. And while the rear makes do with a simpler torsion beam suspension setup, as opposed to a multi-link which the 1.5 is blessed with, it still does a fine job keeping the rear neatly in-tow. The only time you may notice the simpler suspension, is when the tarmac below you gets lumpy; which is when the rear may start skiping. Still, we believe that most owners would not notice the difference.
Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TFSI - inside
Once inside, we appreciate that Audi has made the dashboard driver-centric. If it does look familiar, it is because it takes design inspiration from the all-electric e-Tron GT. The 10.1-inch MMI infotainment touchscreen supports wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto. However, we did notice that the wireless mobile phone charger is missing. As more dashboards go button-less, we like that Audi has retained a good few of them, including controls for the air-conditioning. Speaking about buttons, the ones on the A3 also depress with Audi’s signature click-click.
The compact hatchback easily accommodates four adults in comfort, while a fifth passenger in the middle, may find it a bit of a squeeze. Its 380 litre boot is on-par with the 1 Series BMW, and is 25 litres larger than the A Class Mercedes-Benz. There is also an adjustable boot board and underfloor storage, which adds more versatility for storage.
Overall, the 1.0 A3 Sportback has a lot going for it. But it does miss out on some key equipment, like autonomous emergency braking. But to me, this is not a deal breaker. After all, it is a base car. But what what I feel should make this more attractive though, would be the addition of those blind spot monitors and that wireless battery charger. After all, the base A3 already costs somewhere in the neighbourhood of $201k*.
All is good? Now allow me to throw the spanner in the works
You could snag yourself a fully decked-out Volkswagen Golf R-Line cousin hatchback with the more powerful 1.5 litre and independent rear suspension, for less money ($185k*).
Check out our the drive we took in this car, during last year's Audi Fuel Efficiency Challenge!
And click here for review of the 1.0 litre sedan.
*Prices averaged out and relevant at time of publication
PHOTOS Clifford Chow
Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TFSI S tronic
Engine 999cc, inline3, turbo
Transmission 7spd dual-clutch
Top Speed 204km/h
Fuel Consumption 4.4l/100km (combined)