New for 2022 the Audi A3 sedan got a significant design freshening inside and out along with an update powertrain, chassis and a list of new info-tech that brings it well in line with most of its competitors.
While it’s not an entirely new car from the ground up given it shares most of the previous model’s underlying architecture, it’s updated enough throughout that it’s considered a new Fourth Generation much like it’s corporate platform cousin the also mostly new Golf MK 8.
Design is freshly presented with new fascias and lighting that all have a look and feel that suggest some of the designers from the Lamborghini studio came over to the A3 team for this makeover. Trapezoidal shapes are more artful, lines are sharper and more daring all around.
Our tester rang in at $44,440 reflecting a base price of $35,500 plus a number of packages and stand alone options including the 18-inch Y-Spoke wheels and the Premium Plus Package which included its full LED headlamps.
The cabin’s redesign too looks like a few cues from Lamborghini made it across the campus, looking rather techno and stylish, definitely modern. With the Premium and Technology packages we enjoy rich leather heated seats and genuine wood trim across the dash.
Seats were very comfortable up front, but the rear compartment this being the entry level Audi was a bit compact for my adult frame. Fittings are nice and well made as I expect from Audi, though there are more hard plastics at the touch than I would like.
The instrument cluster featured the amazing 12.3-inch digital cockpit, fully customizable in a myriad of ways. Love it. The center stack has the latest 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen which delivers crisp graphics, lots of features and excellent sound by way of its Bang and Olufsen audio back end with some 680 watts of sound.
Powering the Audi A3 40 Quattro in North America is only the new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine which features a 48-volt mild hybrid system and is connected up to a 7-speed S-Tronic automatic transmission.
It produces 201 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. The mild-hybrid system allows it to automatically coast with the engine off when conditions allow. It also makes its auto-start-stop function much less annoying than most.
The upshot is excellent fuel efficiency. Audi states a 24% improvement with an EPA-estimated 28 mpg city, 36 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined. In my week with it mostly city driving it achieve 19 mpg which is good. Power delivery from its engine, is commendable though I found it to be rough around the edges and a bit noisy much like VW models equipped with similar Buddack cycle engines which are tuned more for fuel-efficiency and emissions performance than refinement.
Handling and ride are taut and firm as expected with Audi. Steering feel is precise. Suffice it to say it lives up to the German designed and built reputation for road manners. Road noise does come through on rougher surfaces, but overall the car feels solid as even the most expensive from the brand.