The Audi A3 has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 22.95 - 32.66 lakhs (ex-Delhi).
What you'll like:
• Clean & timeless design. Styling similar to its bigger brothers
• Premium quality, inside out. Excellent interior fit, finish & feel
• Competent engines: Torquey fuel-efficient diesel & fast petrol
• Quick dual-clutch transmission with smooth shift quality
• Rich dynamics, strong grip levels and solid stability
• 5 star safety & kit (6 airbags, ESC, ABS, ASR, all disc brakes)
• Equipment: Bi-xenon headlamps, MMI system with 7" screen, sat-nav, dual-zone climate control etc.
What you won't:
• Compact size. Length is comparable to the VW Vento!
• Uncomfortable rear seat. Headroom (especially) & legroom are in short supply
• Long-term reliability concerns over the DSG automatic
• Electric power steering lacks the feel & feedback you'd expect in a driver's car
• Premium plus variants are priced dangerously close to the A4, 3-Series & C-Class
• The larger Jetta & Octavia are cheaper. A3 has a lot in common with the Skoda
• Paddle shifters, smartkey entry & go and memory seats are conspicuous by their absence
Audi was the last among the German big three to enter the Indian market. However, with an aggressive strategy in place, it has zoomed past BMW & Mercedes to grab pole position on the sales chart. Last year, Audi became the only luxury car manufacturer to sell over 10,000 units in a year. No doubt, this was accomplished by its long product line-up (including 3 SUVs) and discounting (sample ad (The "NEW" Car Price Check Thread - Track Price Changes, Discounts, Offers & Deals)). The A3 will be the 12th Audi to be launched in India, and has the A4, A6, A7 & A8 sedans as its bigger brothers.
The Q3 met with considerable success in its trimmed down form, badged as the Q3S. Starting at Rs. 25 lakh, it is the cheapest Audi you can currently buy. The A3 sedan could end up being the entry level 4-ringer if it's positioned below the Q3S. Audi does get a head-start by being the first in the compact luxury category, with no signs of rivals from Mercedes (CLA) and BMW (2-series) in sight. In terms of badge, the immediate competitors seem to be the A & B-Class from Mercedes and the 1 Series from BMW, all three being hatchbacks. That said, the real competitors will be cars from its sister concerns, namely the VW Jetta and Skoda Octavia, with which the A3 has a lot in common.
The A3 was introduced in the European market less than 2 decades ago. Available only as a hatchback for the initial two generations, it has now gone on to be adapted as a sedan, hatchback, sportback and cabrio. We previewed the 3rd generation car at the 2014 Auto Expo (link (Audi @ Auto Expo 2014)). It was showcased in its sedan as well as cabrio avatars with a 1.8 TFSI Quattro drivetrain. Sadly, the Quattro won't be available even as an option in our market at the moment. Local assembly has already commenced at the Aurangabad factory; the A3 is the 6th Audi to be assembled in India (others being the A4, A6, Q3, Q5 and Q7).
Audi is back to its design sharing mantra across the model range. From the A3 to the A6, their face is very similar. The untrained eye would be hard-pressed to tell whether it's an A3 or A6 approaching in the rear view mirror. The only difference lies in their size, with the A3 being at the bottom of the chain and thus, the smallest of the lot. It's footprint is only slightly bigger than the VW Vento. No comparison with the VW Jetta or Skoda Octavia which are similarly sized to the A4. If you attribute luxury with size, the compact A3 isn't for you. Look elsewhere.
Like the new Octavia, the A3 uses VW's latest MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform. The MQB focuses heavily on weight reduction and the A3 diesel tips the scales at 1340 kgs, while the petrol variant is even lighter by 45 kgs. To put things in perspective, the C-Class weighs 1,600 kilos. A lot of components have been built out of lightweight material to achieve the weight reduction targets. The bonnet, for instance, is made out of aluminium.
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