Audi brings new meaning to the term entry-level with its A3 sedan, the least expensive model in its product line. With a starting price of $31,200, the 2017 Audi A3 sedan offers more technology features than ever before in a refreshed exterior package.
The updated design includes a new front fascia with a wider single-frame grille and new headlights, giving it a sportier look. The interior styling is punctuated by standard leather upholstery and aluminum trim. Standard features, including a power sunroof and 10 speaker 180-watt sound system, give all trims a luxury feeling. Available features include the Audi virtual cockpit (which utilizes a huge 12.3-inch display, making it easy to see the infotainment options at a glance and navigating a snap), a smartphone interface with Connect Plus service that allows up to eight devices, and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
While all this luxury is impressive, where Audi really shines is in its driver assistance technology. A rearview camera and Audi’s Pre-Sense system is standard on all models. Pre-Sense uses radar to visually and audibly warn the driver of a potential collision, partially applies the brakes if necessary and prepares the car for impact by closing the side windows and sunroof and tightening the seat belts. On the Prestige and Premium trim levels, standard driver assistance features include front and rear acoustic parking sensors, lane-change warnings that vibrate the steering wheel and adaptive cruise control. It also has a rear cross traffic system that alerts the driver of oncoming cars or pedestrians when backing up; it can even jolt the brakes if needed. All trims of the 2017 Audi A3 are powered by a 220-horsepower, 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine, with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with auto-manual shifting capability and standard all-wheel drive.
My test model was the high-performance S3, which starts at $42,900. It’s powered by a 292 horsepower, 2.0-liter, turbocharged transmission. Thanks to the more powerful engine that produces 280 pound-feet of torque and all-wheel-drive technology, the S3 is exceedingly quick whether it be off-the-line (zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds) or when passing at highway speeds. It takes corners as if the wheels are glued to the road.
In addition to top-notch driving performance, all S3 models have a unique styling kit, giving it an even more aggressive experience. Other available features include Audi magnetic ride sport suspension, 19-inch wheesl with summer performance tires and sport seats covered in nappa leather — all options on my test car.
My test 2017 Audi S3 was priced at $51,325.