Audi A3 2021-2022 Review
While Audi strives to make almost their entire product range available to Malaysians, there are still a number of models that manage to elude us. For the longest time the Audi A3 was one of these, being an interesting and higher-end counterpart to the Volkswagen Golf range. It was especially well received in other markets, where it was also offered with more potent engine options. Here in Malaysia, we finally received the Audi A3 - but it came as a sedan, which clearly works better in our market.
Audi has experimented with hatchbacks locally before and they weren’t quite the hits that one would expect. The Audi A1 was just too highly priced to be particularly popular, and the A3 hatchback would have fallen into the same kind of pitfall. In the case of the Audi A3 sedan, it manages to fulfil a role that isn’t often seen here, at least in the luxury market.
The Audi A3 was first launched here with two variants back in 2014: a 1.4 TFSI and a 1.8 TFSI quattro. Over time Audi decided to pare that range down, and the latest iteration in its facelift form was launched in 2019 with a singular 1.4 TFSI model variant on offer. The specific generation of the model is the fourth in its line, with the first generation Audi A3 coming out back in 1996.
Audi A3 2021-2022 Specifications
As mentioned earlier there is but one variant of the Audi A3 available in Malaysia, which means that there’s only one engine available. The 1.4 TFSI may feel like a familiar power unit, but it doesn’t produce the outputs that you would expect. This turbocharged 1.4-litre inline-4 petrol engine makes 150 PS and 250 Nm of torque, which is in contrast to the lower outputs of the pre-facelift 1.4 TFSI variant though not unexpected as it now has to represent the Audi A3 range in its entirety locally.
The power is delivered exclusively to the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch type automatic transmission. The transmission is known for its quick and spirited shifts, providing a positive driving experience when accelerating or decelerating as you work your way through the gears. As a result of this powertrain, the Audi A3 is capable of hitting 100 km/h from a standstill in just 8.2 seconds, with a top speed of 224 km/h.
The engine layout is transverse, much like its sister cars, which also makes for better packaging on the interior and throughout the chassis as a whole. The Audi A3 sits on the MQB platform, as you would expect for transverse oriented cars in this particular size bracket.
Audi A3 2021-2022 Exterior
The outside of the Audi A3 is something to behold, because it manages to capture the essence of the Audi sedan form in the smallest possible package. In applications like the Audi RS3 sedan it looks especially interesting, being a slightly understated yet incredibly potent machine - though unfortunately this high performance variant isn’t available here. Still though, the Audi A3 sedan is a handsome looking machine, with traditional sedan proportions that just work well in this overall context.
Audi A3 2021-2022 Interior
On the inside is where things get a little tough for the Audi A3, as even with the pre-facelift variant it didn’t quite have the technological prowess of its sister cars. The layout was also far simpler and more basic than other Audi products, meaning that at times prospective buyers could feel that they would be short changed. Still though, it represents true Audi sensibilities with all-dark tones and sharp looking switchgear, if not outright digital yet.
Audi A3 2021-2022 Safety Features
Unfortunately the Audi A3 is quite a dated product - after all it’s going to be a decade old in just two years, which means that the entire electronics and mechanical architecture on which it is built does not support more advanced driver assistance systems. There are your standard protection systems like electronic stability control and traction control, but you won’t be enjoying the benefits of autonomous emergency braking or lane keep assist.
Audi A3 2021-2022 Strengths and Weaknesses
The strong points of the Audi A3 lie largely in its chassis, which even today feels incredibly nimble and refined. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a whole lot going for it: the powertrain isn’t particularly special nor potent or powerful, and is essentially identical to a certain other mass market hatchback. The boot isn’t quite large enough to fit a lot of equipment or cargo, the rear legroom isn’t ample enough to have occupants comfortable over long journeys, and the interior layout doesn’t exactly scream “premium”.
Still though, it has its charms. In a strange sense, it’s a glimpse of cars from an era that has just passed - and not necessarily in a dated way. It shows buyers how simple and easy cars used to be to operate: get in, pair your phone, and go. There are less systems and functions to get in your way, to calibrate, to trip you up and obstruct you on your journey. In that sense, the Audi A3 succeeds - but only in the eye of those who can appreciate a car that champions this.
Audi A3 2021-2022 Price
Perhaps one of the toughest things to accept with the Audi A3 is that its price is so staggeringly high for an incredibly compact sedan. Purchasing an Audi A3 Sedan 1.4 TFSI will set you back RM 231,359.80, which is really not far off an entry-level luxury sedan from one of the other European brands on the market - which would give you more power and more space, as well as better outright features. It’s left the Audi A3 in a bit of a tough spot, and would mean that only those who truly love the brand and the car itself can justify the purchase of it.
Audi A3 2021-2022 Features
There aren’t a whole lot of features on the specification list of the Audi A3. Buyers will get Led headlamps and running lights and tail lamps, as well as automatic headlights and wipers and cruise control, an electric parking brake, power-adjustable front seats, and automatic air conditioning. There really isn’t a whole lot more on offer; the MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch response is a pretty standard offering, as are the standard eight passive speakers included. Audi Virtual Cockpit is a nice addition though it isn’t quite enough to offset the overall bare-bones nature of the Audi A3.
Audi A3 2021-2022 Fuel Consumption
Fuel consumption for the Audi A3 is a particular strong point, as the manufacturer quoted rating is 4.2 litres per 100 kilometres, or just under 25 kilometres per litre of fuel. This is an impressive reading, but not unexpected thanks to its relatively small displacement, relatively low weight, and seven transmission ratios to allow for cruising at higher speeds without consuming significant amounts of fuel. On the whole, the Audi A3 sedan could be a very useful cruiser and city car in tandem - but again you run into the issue of not quite having enough legroom to satisfy a four-occupant situation for extended periods of time. Also the fact that its a turbocharged engine means that your fuel consumption is heavily dependent on the way you drive: accelerate aggressively and maintain high speeds and you’ll be hard pressed to achieve 10 kilometres per litre of fuel.
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- Body Type: Sedan
- Transmission: Automatic
- Engine Capacity: 1395 cc
- Fuel Type: petrol
- Seat Capacity: 5
- Price: RM 231,360
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