No one should have a problem getting comfortable behind the wheel of the A3. The steering wheel has a wide range of adjustment, and the seat can be moved up and down, as well as back and forth. The seatback angle is adjusted via a dial controller, too, so it’s possible to make small changes easily. It’s disappointing you have to pay extra for adjustable lumbar support on every trim, though.
Sport and S line editions have more supportive sports seats with chunkier side bolsters to hold you in place better through the corners. Fortunately, long distance comfort is still extremely good.
The A3’s dashboard looks sparse, but that means it's wonderfully simple to use, with all the major switches and dials – such as those for adjust the interior temperature – clearly marked and easy to reach from the driver’s seat.
Audi A3 Hatchback visibility
There’s little to complain about if you’re looking straight ahead; slim front pillars and large windows mean visibility is actually very good. However, the A3's thick rear pillars and a relatively slim rear window mean your over-the-shoulder view isn't so impressive.
Rear parking sensors are standard across the range, while front sensors, a reversing camera and even a self-parking system are on the options list.
SE Technik and Sport versions of the A3 have relatively powerful xenon headlights. However, S line and S3 models get even brighter LED headlights as standard.
Audi A3 Hatchback infotainment
Most cars in this class have a touchscreen infotainment system – a relatively cheap interface but one that can be quite distracting to use while you're driving. The A3 has a better solution: a big dial positioned between the front seats that you simply twist to scroll through the on-screen menus and press down to make a selection. It's far less distracting than a touchscreen and there are even some handy shortcut buttons to allow you to quickly hop between functions.
The 7.0in display rises from the top of the dashboard when you switch on the infotainment system and slides out of sight when you power it down again. It's also bright and easy to read, and the fact that it's so high up means you don't need to divert your eyes far from the road to look at it. All versions of the A3 come with sat-nav, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
The optional Technology Package brings a built-in hard drive, live traffic updates and MMI Touch. The latter turns the top of the dial into a touchpad that you can use to scrawl letters on when you’re selecting a destination. This pack also adds Virtual Cockpit, a digital 12.3in display that replaces the conventional instrument dials behind the steering wheel and which you can configure to show sat-nav directions, music information or trip computer information.
Whichever system you go for, the A3 has one of the best infotainment systems in its class. In fact, only BMW’s brilliant iDrive system is marginally better.
Audi A3 Hatchback build quality
The A3’s interior is the benchmark for how a family hatchback's should look and feel; everything is built from the sort of high-grade materials you’d usually expect to find in an executive saloon. You’ll struggle to find unappealing plastics anywhere, even lower down on the dashboard, and the materials in your direct line of sight are a tactile treat, with classy metal flourishes adding to the seriously premium feel.
Everything feels really well screwed together, too, while the well weighted, nicely damped switches and super-slim infotainment screen add to the impression that no expense has been spared.