Our Fleet Test Drive: Audi A3 - 1st Report
07 January 2014
Author: Tony Rock
|Claimed combined consumption 67.3mpg|
|Our average consumption 53.9mpg|
|Forecast CPM 46.1p|
|Actual CPM 46.5p|
|Why we're running it:|| To find out if the award-winning Audi A3 is ahead of a batch of new cars in its class.|
The compact premium market has seen a lot of recent activity, with three news cars all arriving in the sector at virtually the same time: the Mercedes A-class, the Volvo V40 and Audi's A3.
The desire to run a vehicle that was a representative of this rush of launch action was one reason why we asked Audi to supply its lower medium competitor, but there were other factors that nudged us in the direction of the A3, such as the radically improved on-road performance over the previous model.
More importantly, from a fleet manager's perspective, we are interested to witness how the improved economy of 67.3mpg (up from the previous car's 64.2.mpg) would translate into real-world conditions.
The car is also 18mm longer than the outgoing version, which results in a boot that is 10 litres bigger at 380 litres (an aspect that will be tested fully by the Rock family, although we'll take into account that Audi is not necessarily pitching the car at the family-of-five market ) while rear seat legroom is also improved.
We've gone for the five-door Sportback model with a 150PS 2.0-litre diesel engine that emits 108g/km and powers the car from 0-62mph in 8.4-seconds. It's a base SE spec model, and we've added are rear parking sensors, storage and luggage package, tyre pressure monitoring, SD card-based satellite navigation system, 17-inch alloy wheels  and the distinctive pearl-effect Misano Red paintwork .
Running this class of car marks a departure from my previous long-termer, the Vauxhall Zafira, and indeed, a few of my other previous people-carrying test vehicles, so without wishing to give too much away in this opening report, in terms of on-road performance the A3 has been something a pleasant change, although I might, in a few months, yearn for the everyday family practicality of the other cars, to which I've become accustomed.
The A3 was a runner up Business Car of the Year in our 2013 awards, and also picked up the top prize in the 2013 What Car??Car of the Year awards so I've high expectations for it.
We'll see over the next six months whether it can live up to them, as well as comparing it with the Mercedes A-class and the Volvo V40 to gauge where the Audi is positioned in terms of the competition.
- On-road driving characteristics
- High-visibility red causing road envy