There are two ways of spending more on an Audi A3. One is to enhance any A3 with the long list of options Audi offers, many of them bundled in packs. Another is to choose one of the more powerful engines, each of which brings other enhancements to the car – including the possibility of all-wheel drive.
Available on any A3 is an Assistance package that brings several driver aids, designed to reduce fatigue and help you avoid a crash. It begins with Adaptive cruise control with Stop and Go, which can automatically match your speed to that of a slower car ahead on the highway – controlling the engine and brakes – until you can overtake. It can also hold your position automatically in stop-start traffic. It is complemented by Audi Pre-sense Front, which extends the operating speed of the auto emergency braking to 200km/h. Also included are Lane assist, Side assist, and Cross-traffic assist rear. And there is High beam assist, which automatically toggles your headlights between high beam and low beam at night, so as not to dazzle other drivers. (For more on these systems, please open the Safety section below.)
A Comfort package adds power-adjustable front seats with heaters, an interior mirror that dims automatically so as not to dazzle you with reflected headlights from a following car, and power-folding exterior mirrors with demisters. There’s also smart key entry, which lets you enter and start the car without handling the key: provided you have the key nearby, doors unlock when you touch a door handle.
A Technik package brings you Audi’s virtual cockpit, introducing an expansive, 12.3-inch, high-res colour display, in the instrument binnacle ahead of the driver, that replaces conventional dials. Multi-configurable, it is like a desktop for important vehicle functions, including sat-nav mapping, audio, and climate control. You also get satellite navigation with voice control, digital radio tuning, and a DVD player.
You can add any or all of these to an A3 1.0 TFSI, which also has cloth-covered seats, 16-inch wheels, and the features common to all A3s.
If instead – or as well – you would like one of Audi’s more powerful engines, the first step in price is to the A3 1.4 TFSI CoD. As well as the 1.4-litre four-cylinder, that brings you paddle shifters on the steering wheel, and 17-inch wheels with wider and shallower (lower profile) tyres, for a bit more grip and steering precision. The 1.4 also comes with leather upholstery, metallic finishes on cabin parts such as the air vents and window switches, illuminated front footwells and cupholders, and overhead reading lights.
Spend more again on a 2.0 TFSI Sport and you get the most powerful engine in an A3, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder. In addition to what comes with a 1.4 you get Audi’s smartphone interface, which brings support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (allowing you to plug in your phone and control some apps from the touchscreen). You also get Audi Drive Select, which lets you adjust how lazily or immediately the car responds to your steering and use of the accelerator. The front seats have extra side-support, to hold you in place around corners. And you get blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts.
(You can add Audi’s smartphone interface to a 1.0 or 1.4, and Audi Drive Select to a 1.4.)
If you would like some extra traction when it’s slippery, or when accelerating out of slow corners, you could pay some more for an A3 2.0 TFSI quattro S Line, which uses the same 2.0-litre engine but drives all four wheels. The 2.0 quattro rides 15mm lower than the other A3s, for more stability in turns, and it has 18-inch wheels. As well, its headlights substitute very bright and long-lived LEDs for the other cars’ Xenon bulbs.