No one should have a problem getting comfortable behind the wheel of the A3 Saloon. The steering wheel can be moved in and out as well as up and down, and there’s a wide range of adjustment to the seat. The seatback angle is adjusted via a dial controller, too, so it’s possible to make small changes easily. It’s disappointing that adjustable lumbar support – which is electrically operated - is an option on all models, but at least the seat’s chunky side bolsters give good support in corners.
The dashboard looks sparse, but in fact it’s brilliantly simple to use, with all of the major switches clearly marked and easy to reach from the driver’s seat.
Audi A3 Saloon visibility
There’s little to worry about if you’re trying to look ahead or to the side from the driver’s seat; slim front pillars and large windows mean that visibility is perfectly acceptable. The rear window is pretty shallow, but it’s still easier to see out of the back than it is in, say, a Mercedes-Benz CLA.
Audi offers a number of parking assistants, including rear sensors, front and rear sensors, a reversing camera and an assist system that will identify a suitable space alongside the vehicle and reverse the car into it. All of these upgrades cost extra, though; it’s disappointing that even rear sensors aren’t standard, even on the expensive S3 Saloon.
Audi A3 Saloon infotainment
Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) lets you operate most of the A3 Saloon’s major functions via a control dial and a small collection of buttons by the gearlever. It’s a pretty simple system, and some of the shortcut keys are raised, allowing you to find the one you want by touch.
The system’s display is a 7.0in unit mounted high up in the centre of the dashboard, which slides down into the fascia out of sight when you want it to.
Audi offers a variety of upgrades, including a Technology package that brings satellite navigation, a higher-resolution screen and MMI Touch, which turns the top of the MMI dial into a touchpad that you can use to scrawl characters when entering destinations into the sat-nav. Other key items, including a DAB radio, USB socket, Bluetooth and Audi Smartphone Interface – which lets you mirror and operate your phone’s apps via the cars screen - are standard across the range.
Upgraded sound systems are available as optional extras, including a Bang & Olufsen surround-sound set-up. You can also opt for a 12.3in digital display to replace the analogue instruments in front of the driver. This is configurable and can show sat-nav, music and other data.
Audi A3 Saloon build quality
The A3 Saloon’s cabin is the benchmark for how a small saloon’s should look and feel; the whole interior is built from the sort of high-grade materials you’d expect to find in a far more expensive executive car. You’ll really struggle to find harsh plastics anywhere, including low down by knee level, and the materials in your direct line of sight are a tactile treat, with lots of plush plastics and aluminium flourishes.
Everything feels wonderfully screwed together, while the switches are beautifully weighted and the super-slim infotainment screen adds to the impression that no expense has been spared.