Audi A4 35TDI: Road Test Review
- Apr 26, 2017
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Rewind the clock about 35 years and everything you would get in India would be a sedan. Then came along the legendary Maruti 800 in late 1983 and introduced the hatchback to the mass market. And we all know what happened since. The Sedan was slowly relegated from normality to that of a status symbol. Even today, a sedan continues to hold an edge over the rest of the body styles in the country, a fact proven again and again by the likes of the Swift Dzire.
Audi’s A3 then is the perfect car for the Indian market. This smaller, lighter and more aggressive sedan may not appeal to the 60 year old industrialist, but it will certainly appeal to the 30 something professional looking for his first luxury car. The Audi A3 is a car we here at ZigWheels quite like. It might be due to the fact that it reminds us of the original Audi Quattro more than anything else that is on sale today or due to the fact that we quite like the way the A3 looks with its compact dimensions. In either case, most of us would naturally gravitate towards the diesel due to its excellent fuel efficiency and practicality. But if you were to go through the spec sheet for the petrol-powered version, you might want to reconsider your decision.
In case you have missed out on our Audi A3 35TDI diesel review, Click here.
The petrol and diesel of course, share most with each other. Where the diesel is also available in an entry level model with smaller wheels and no daytime running lights, the petrol is only available in the top of the line premium option. And boy does it look tasty. With its five spoke 17-inch wheels and S-Line bodykit, the A3 looks hunkered down and meaningful even when standing still.
On the interior front, our test car came with an all-black interior package, which we prefer. The large circular AC vents and the screen that pops up at a touch of a button still managed to keep us entertained like a bunch of kids in a toyshop. The front seats are comfortable and feel a tad bit sporty going well with the rest of the car. The rear seats could have done with slightly more under thigh support but in general are comfortable and offer great back support.
The A3 is available with features like navigation, a media storage hard disk and a huge sunroof that adds to the overall appeal of the car.
Engine and Performance
The Audi A3 petrol gets the same 1.8-litre, four cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine that does duty in the likes of the Skoda Octavia and the Volkswagen Jetta. Making 180PS of peak power and 250Nm of peak torque, the engine is well spec’d on paper but feels lovely in the car too. Mated to a 7-speed, dual clutch DSG gearbox, the engine revs freely and feels great both in the city and on the open highways. In fact, when driven sedately, the A3 claims to return a rather healthy 16.6kmpl according to ARAI test figures. The petrol engine is certainly the one that the enthusiast driver should be choosing due to the fact that the A3 petrol can reach speeds of 100kmph just over seven seconds, a fact that is quite impressive.
What is slightly disappointing about the A3 40TFSI, is that with all its perfect balance and immensely enjoyable engine, Audi has skipped on the paddle shift option. Although there is a tiptronic mode on the gear stalk itself, the joys of redlining a quick car with the use of paddle shifters is frankly unparallel.
Handling and Braking:
A3 is by far one of the most sorted front wheel drive cars we have driven in ages. With its large 225/55 R17 tyres, the A3 corners like it is on rails and the all round ventilated disk brakes help it stop impressively too. All in all, with the exception of perhaps the Mini Cooper S and maybe the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, there is no other front wheel drive car in the country today that handles this well. That said, you do have to be careful of the low profile tyres on our famously bad and undulated roads.
Price and Fuel Efficiency:
The Audi A3 40TFSI is priced at an attractive Rs 28.5 lakh, (ex-showroom, Mumbai) making it about the same as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class or BMW 1 Series. That said, the Audi offers much more in terms of space, image and of course performance than the likes of the Mercedes or the BMW. Sure there are other cars that are cheaper than the A3 that offer much more in terms of value, but with the Audi badge on the grille, the A3 does offer a lot more snob value.
As we mentioned earlier, according to ARAI test results, the petrol powered Audi A3 40TFSI returns 16.60kmpl. Comparing it to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and BMW 1 Series that return 15.50 and 16.29kmpl respectively, the Audi A3 is the most frugal despite being the most powerful.
The Audi A3 petrol is aimed at a younger sub-40 year old audience that wants the badge, performance and design all rolled into one appealing and well priced package. We genuinely think this entry level Audi A3 is possibly the best all-round package that the German luxury car maker offers today. And of course, it looks really good with its flared wheel arches and planted stance.
That said, if the Audi A3 40TFSI is this good, we wonder how much better the S3 which is expected to make it to Indian shores by next year will turn out to be!
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