The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The A3 provides a very good driving position, with enough adjustment available most drivers to get comfortable. All the buttons, dials and screens you need most frequently are within easy reach, helped by the centre of the dashboard being angled slightly towards the driver, with a row of easy-to-use buttons to control the air-conditioning.
Audi’s outstanding Virtual Cockpit digital driver display comes as standard and shows vital driving information on a crisp 10.3in screen with a few different view modes to choose from. One demerit, though, is that the touch-sensitive volume ‘button’ next to the gear stick seems unnecessarily fiddly compared to a traditional physical dial.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Slim pillars and large windows ensure the A3 provides a good all-round view out. Rear parking sensors come as standard, while ascending the trim hierarchy or ticking some option boxes can give you a full 360deg birds-eye view camera, front sensors, and even a system that can park the car itself.
Sat nav and infotainment
Audi’s 10.1in fully touchscreen infotainment system comes as standard, but it’s a more difficult setup to use on the move than rival systems in the 1 Series and A-Class. That’s because there are no physical controls on hand; you’re left prodding hopefully at the touchscreen when the car’s in motion, or relying on the hit-and-miss voice command function. Still, it’s quick to respond to touch inputs and is packed with features – including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
The A3 compares well with the 1 Series and A-Class here. Its materials are good and quality is generally excellent. But – unlike the old A3 – it isn’t faultless inside.
The dashboard’s design features a prominent plastic ledge, and curious fingers will find that this isn’t as rigid as it could be. There are also some cheaper-feeling materials around the centre console if you go hunting for them. The A3 is still sleek and impressive inside, but no longer the class leader in this regard; it doesn’t have the bullet-proof build quality of the BMW 1 Series, nor the visual pizzazz of the Mercedes A-Class.