Four doors to the fore

Audi’s lat­est A3 could be the pick of the new com­pact sedans

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - PAUL POTTINGER CARS­GUIDE ED­I­TOR paul.pottinger@cars­

THE first price coupe of 2014 goes to, um ... Audi.

Peren­ni­ally crit­i­cised for over­pric­ing, the four ring brand’s A3 sedan — due in Jan­uary — starts from an un­ex­pected $39,800. Cars­guide tips the sleek four-door sib­ling of the Volk­swa­gen Golf-based A3 as one of the com­ing year’s suc­cess sto­ries. For a cer­tain buyer, down­siz­ing into a hatch is just a bit de­classe — le­git­i­macy comes only in four door form.

While from 50 me­tres the A3 sedan is barely dis­tin­guish­able from the big­ger A4 (the new car’s in­te­rior is about the size of a 2005 A4), Audi’s fa­mil­iar de­sign gam­bits are more ef­fec­tive on the smaller, cheaper car.

The en­try At­trac­tion model kicks off with the full cream 103kW take on VW’s 1.4-litre turbo four with cylin­der on de­mand tech­nol­ogy, some­what jus­ti­fy­ing its pre­mium over the en­try $34,600 hatch which gets “only” the 90 TSI.

Of the three vari­ants in the Am­bi­tion model line-up, we wouldn’t bother with the diesel. That leaves the crack­ing 1.8 turbo petrol four (132kW/250Nm) in ei­ther fron­tor all-wheel-drive form. No non­sense about a to­ken man­ual; all ver­sions drive through an S tronic dual-clutch au­to­matic.

Op­tions packs should be as per the hatch­back, the prices of these be­ing merely in­dica­tive of what a dealer might be pre­pared to do for you.

Plus fours: The Audi A3 sedan, Mazda3 (be­low left), Skoda Oc­tavia (cen­tre) and MercedesBenz CLA 200

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