Red is the colour of passion, of blood and of fire. It is also the colour of the Audi A3 1.6TDI that arrived at Flush the Fashion last weekend. ‘Brilliant Red’ to be exact.
This is essentially a regular A3 fitted with Audi’s new(ish) 1.6-litre diesel engine. Emissions wise the A3 produces a tiny 109g/km of CO2, not far away from the very best performer, a Smart car (86g/km of CO2). Incidentally the highest is a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti with a hefty 470g/km of CO2 emmissions.
My first impressions of the A3 were good, the car looks pretty slick on the outside and once into the drivers seat, it doesn’t disappoint expectations. The A3 feels like a car that has been considered as a whole in the design process and quality of the finish is very solid throughout.
The main talking points here are Audi’s new ‘Stop-Start system‘ and ‘Braking Energy Recuperation Technology‘. The idea behind the stop-start system is this, when you are in neutral and take your foot off the clutch, the engine cuts out, saving on fuel and emissions while you are not moving. Put your foot on the clutch and the engine starts up again.
The idea is great, but it takes a bit of getting used to, at first it feels like you are stalling the car every time you get to a traffic light.
The braking system uses the energy created by the alternator to lower consumption and CO2 emissions. Take it for a spin and in low gears the diesel growl is noticeable, but not too much.. and while the 0-60 speed is a 11.40 seconds the car has more than enough power to prevent this from being an issue in normal use.
So if you like racing people at the lights forget it, but if you want to overtake Sunday drivers you can do so with confidence. Some people have found the steering a touch light on the A3, but I found the handling to be just right.
Traction to the road is superb even when approaching it’s top speed (121mph). Inside the dashboard controls are intuitive and the seats were still comfy after 2 and half hours of driving.
Audi’s figures suggest you can get up to a whopping 68.9 miles per gallon with this car, my figures were slightly less, I did almost exactly 400 miles with £50 in petrol so it worked out at 53.04 MPG although I wasn’t driving the car in an economical way.
The Sat-Nav optional extra in this car was excellent and only a small step away from someone sitting in the passengers side pointing the way to go.
Negatives are hard to find, but if you have a tall driver the back may be a bit small for your family over longer journeys (unless they are one the petite side). Similarly the boot is fine for 2 but some expert packing would be needed for 4 adults to fit all their stuff in.
With Audi’s good re-sale prices, the A3 Diesel is an excellent choice for those looking for a reliable and environmentally conscious car that can be sensible and still turn heads at the same time.
Prices start around the £18,000 mark. For more info visit the Audi Website