There are a number of questions the new A3 has to answer. First, was Audi’s decision to skip the luxury hatchback segment in India and go straight to the compact luxury sedan segment a smart one? Well, considering it has the first-mover advantage, and that it managed a starting price that’s on par with the luxury hatches on sale right now, on paper at least, yes it was. It’s more car for the same money; simple. Staying with that launch price – Rs 22.95 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) – is the base model really worth considering, and if not, how far up the range would you have to go to get a proper A3? Can a car at this price and of this size be a proper Audi, and does the A3 have enough substance to justify its costing a bit more than a larger car with a mainstream badge like, say, a Skoda Superb? And finally, the one Audi would probably not want answered – with the top-end diesel priced at Rs 33 lakh, wouldn’t you just be better off with the larger, more spacious A4 instead? Only a comprehensive road test can give us the answers.
Here’s where the compactness comes handy. The A3 isn’t a heavy car, and this helps both versions deliver respectable efficiency figures. The 40 TFSI manages 9.8kpl in the city and 14.2kpl on the highway; though based on past experience with this engine, those figures can drop significantly if you have a heavy right foot. The 35 TDI version is not too bad either, managing 12.3kpl in the city and 17.5kpl out on the highway. Interestingly, the petrol car gets an engine stop-start system as standard, which is not fitted to any of the diesel models.