The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The A3 provides a great driving position, with a standard front armrest and loads of steering wheel and seat adjustment. The only quibble is that, unless you go for the range-topping Vorsprung trim, four-way powered lumbar adjustment is an option. We'd recommend adding it because it can really make a difference on long journeys and it's not drastically expensive.
All of the controls and screens you use frequently are clear and within easy reach, helped by the central section of the dashboard that's angled towards the driver. Unlike a Volkswagen Golf, the A3 has simple physical switches to operate the climate controls, which helps greatly with ease of use.
Sat nav and infotainment
That’s because there are no physical controls. Instead of being able to keep most of your attention on the road while you scroll down a list and make selections using the rotary controller in the 1 Series (or the touchpad in the A-Class), in the A3 you have to look directly at the touchscreen to find and hit the icon you need.
On the plus side, the screen is sharp with good graphics and the menus respond quickly. It's also packed with features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration plus in-built navigation. The standard stereo has six speakers but the Vorsprung trim adds a 15-speaker, 680-watt Bang & Olufsen surround-sound stereo and wireless phone charging.