Audi’s new entry-level sedans offer plenty of compelling reasons to skip a bulky SUV in favor of a svelte 4-door.
The new A3 and its sportier S3 sibling boast serious power from their 4-cylinder turbocharged engines, plus slinkier styling than before and a driver-centric cabin loaded with more features than we typically expect from a roughly $35,000 sedan from a luxury brand.
The A3 makes use of a 201-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, which delivers power to the front or, optionally, all four wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The engine itself is a familiar unit, but what’s new is a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that adds a little power when coaxed and can allow the A3 to coast with the gas engine off entirely to save fuel.
Stepping up to the S3 nets hearty power: 306 hp from a similarly-sized 4-cylinder paired with a lowered and stiffened suspension and uprated brakes. S3s also have their own unique take on the sedan’s styling with sportier bumpers and blacked-out exterior trim.
Inside, the cars add tons of tech compared to the outgoing models. A 10.1-inch touchscreen and a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster are just the beginning. The cars feature a touchpad with handwriting recognition as well as an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
Standard fare is impressive: Leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a panoramic moonroof, and three-zone automatic climate control. Additionally, a slew of collision-avoidance features can be upgraded with adaptive cruise control and various parking assistance tech.