The A3 Saloon takes the cabin of our 2013 Car of the Year and grafts on a small, stubby boot in place of the hatchback. It’s unmistakably shorter than traditional executive saloon rivals such as the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and even Audi’s own A4 – but it’s still the sort of three-box design that buyers of those cars are keen on.
The rest of the package is remarkably close to the A3’s and A3 Sportback’s, because the A3 Saloon is based on the same set of excellent underpinnings. The cabin is carried over, too – and its minimalist design and high-quality materials are more than good enough for the A3 Saloon to stand up to more established and more expensive competition. Throw in rock-solid resale values, attractive PCP rates, and efficient engines that bring down company car tax rates, and you have a serious contender in the executive class.
In fact, if you don’t need the extra rear-seat space and the slightly larger boots of the BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class, then the A3 Saloon merits serious consideration as an alternative. It could also save you a packet as a company car. Low-mileage private buyers should go for the 1.4 TFSI 150 petrol engine, which has enough power for most needs and is pretty efficient.
Company car drivers should look towards the diesels, though; the 1.6 TDI has the lowest CO2 emissions, but we’d edge towards the 148bhp 2.0-litre unit for its punchier performance.
Whichever engine you go for, though, Sport trim offers the best combination of equipment and price.
Read on over the next few pages to get our in depth impressions, along with our recommendations for trim levels and engines.