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Old 9th March 2017, 12:05   #1
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Default Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)

The 2017 Audi A3 Facelift has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 30.50 - 32.30 lakhs (ex-Delhi). This report will only focus on changes made to the 2017 model.

Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-1.jpg

Click here to read the full official review.

Last edited by Aditya : 7th April 2017 at 07:52.
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Old 9th March 2017, 12:05   #2
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The facelift of the A3 was revealed in April 2016. Coincidentally, 2016 was also the 20th year for the A3 moniker. The A3 facelift received some design upgrades and a list of features were added as well (though the A3 facelift when brought to India will miss out on some of these features). Prominent features that have been skipped are the Virtual Cockpit (available in the Indian A4) and a start/stop button.

The German manufacturer also said that they would be introducing the petrol models of all the cars in its line-up for the Indian market. This step was in accordance with the shift in preference of the Indian customers. In line with this plan, the A4 was introduced in the country with a downsized 1.4L engine. Now with the 1.8L petrol engine being retired internationally, the A3 also gets the 1.4L engine as a replacement to the earlier 1.8L petrol. Bummer for enthusiasts, I can tell you that.

So, what's new on the outside?

The front design. The headlamps have been revamped and the front grille is broader:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-2.jpg

The rear looks more or less the same as the outgoing A3, except for the taillight design:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-3.jpg

The hexagonal single frame grille has a chrome border, and is now broader than the previous model. Also notice the double slats instead of the single ones:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-6.jpg

Audi's dynamic turn indicators making it to the A3:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-5.jpg

The headlamp design has been changed, and these are now jagged at the bottom, similar to what we have seen in the recent Audi cars (the A4). These are full-LED Matrix headlights:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-72.jpg

The redesigned bumper houses these slats on either side of the air dam. Check out the use of chrome on the bottom slat:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-8.jpg

5 spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels are standard, and these are shod with 205/55 R16 Bridgestones:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-10.jpg

A look at the new LED tail-lamps which also have dynamic turn indicators:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-11.jpg

The rear bumper has been slightly redesigned and gets a diffuser at the bottom:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-12.jpg

The 40 TFSI badging is now replaced by this!!!
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-13.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 9th March 2017 at 12:08.
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Old 9th March 2017, 12:05   #3
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So, what's new on the inside?

The cabin of the A3 is largely similar to the outgoing model with some minor changes. It continues to be offered in both dark and beige interiors and has dual-zone climate control (something that is missing in the CLA). The ICE display has the same retractable function from the top portion of the dashboard but now, the screen size is a standard 7" for all variants (against the 5.8" and 7" in the previous model). It's still not a touchscreen unit and needs to be controlled by a dial that acts as the command center for the user.

Speaking of how to operate the ICE, it has gone through an overhaul and now, the buttons have been reduced with an input and exit button that is located behind the gear shifter (akin to a computer mouse - an example given by Audi themselves). It feels easier to use than the outgoing model. In the earlier model, there was only voice activation enabled for calling. Now, they have included an updated search function into the ICE system through a natural voice system. Irrespective of the screen that you are in, if you speak in your natural voice and give out a query, the ICE picks up that query and shifts the screen to the navigation screen + shares the possible results. For instance, when you call out I'm hungry and you are on the media screen, the ICE jumps to the navigation screen and lists out a bunch of restaurants in that vicinity as possible options.
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-1.jpg

Three-spoke steering wheel (instead of the four spokes) feels absolutely fantastic to grip. It is adjustable for both - rake and reach, and finding a good driving position is easy. The A3 internationally gets the virtual cockpit wherein the entire instrument console becomes a navigation screen. but this feature didn't make it to Indian shores:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-2.jpg

Another USP that Audi claims will be interesting for their buyers is the wireless charging port ("Audi Phone Box"). It is a simple induction charging mechanism that will charge mobile phones which have QI technology enabled (most of the high-end Samsung phones come with this feature) and for iPhone users, Audi has a mobile cover (to be bought separately from their showroom) priced around Rs. 1,500-2,000 which will help charge the phone wirelessly. When the phone is placed in this wireless charging box, the reception and voice clarity are better as it uses the car's antenna for picking up signals:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-7.jpg

You also get two USB ports and an AUX-input above the wireless charging platform:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-8.jpg

A wider, frameless IRVM replaces the oval-shaped one:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-9.jpg

An Audi badge on the dashboard:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-10.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 9th March 2017 at 12:08.
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Old 9th March 2017, 12:07   #4
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Engine & Transmission

1.4L, 4-cylinder engine churns out 148 BHP @ 5,000-6,000 rpm and 250 Nm @ 1,500-3,500 rpm:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-_dsc4631.jpg

The most significant change to the Audi A3 facelift is its new petrol engine which also does duty on the A4 (click here to read). The downsized engine was bound to come in the A3 as the earlier 1.8L petrol has been retired internationally. Petrol-heads will be disappointed as the performance has gone from 'explosive' to 'adequate'.

Enter the cabin and you expect a start/stop button (which is available internationally) at this price. You will be sorely disappointed when you have to start the car using a conventional key fob (like the previous A3). Start the engine and the 1.4L feels refined as there is hardly any sound seeping into the cabin. When you revv it, there is a nice whine of the petrol engine and you can immediately make out its free revving nature. It's smooth & sounds nice.

The "35 TFSI" (badging downgraded from 40 TFSI) power plant has sufficient torque to move the li'l sedan. The 1.4L is mated to a 7-Speed DSG gearbox which is coined as 'S-Tronic' in Audi terms and is the same gearbox (of course, with some tweaks to ratios, spacing etc.) that does duty in many other VAG cars. When in "D" mode, there is some lag / delay and the gearbox hesitates initially. Once in the correct revv range, power is delivered instantly in a linear and smooth fashion. Driving in the city is easy. The car is easy to manoeuvre and the tranny is responsive enough to close in on gaps. With a gentle twitch to the gearbox shifter, move to S mode & this is where the actual fun starts. The gearbox holds onto revvs much longer and the A3 picks up speed quickly enough (although you can't compare it to the erstwhile 1.8L). The transmission works flawlessly. In S and Tiptronic modes, the shifts are fast and clean. For most of the drive, I was shifting between "S" mode and "Tiptronic" as "D" wasn't really to my liking and is meant for relaxed cruising. According to me, Tiptronic mode is the most fun as you are in control of the gears and revv levels which is perfect for overtaking on highways. Keep in mind though that this 7-speed DSG has a notorious reputation. It is prone to breakdowns and is known as the most unreliable automatic transmission around. I also wish Audi offered paddle shifters like they do for the international version.

The power output of 148 BHP is adequate and the car feels peppy enough. The 1.4L TFSI has shed almost 100 kg from the previous 1.8L TFSI engine and that difference is evident as the car feels a lot lighter at the front. The A3 can sprint from 0-100 km/h in 8.2 seconds, which is 0.9 seconds slower than the outgoing 1.8L car. Let me put it this way - the facelifted A3 is 'quick' where the older car was 'fast'. The 1.4L doesn't provide that 'premium' experience you'd expect after cutting such a fat cheque, although it is certainly not slow either.

A noteworthy feature of this 1.4L TFSI engine is the cylinder on demand (COD) mode. When you are driving with a light foot or coasting, the ECU deactivates 2 cylinders to extract the maximum fuel efficiency. What is impressive is that the switch from 4 cylinders <-> 2 cylinders is absolutely seamless. However, while testing the car at various speeds, it was hard to come across the "2 Cylinder Mode" display on the instrument console; the engine goes into this mode using specific parameters and replicating it was not easy. Also, not sure in the real world how much it will contribute to the overall efficiency gain, yet this feature is definitely a talking point. The smaller engine will obviously deliver a bit more economy than the 1.8L. Its ARAI rating is 19.20 km/l.

The 2.0L diesel engine has been carried forward from the old A3. Click here to read the report:
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-_dsc4637.jpg

Disclaimer: Audi invited Team-BHP for the A3 test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by Aditya : 9th March 2017 at 12:09.
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Old 9th March 2017, 12:11   #5
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Default Re: Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Test-Drives Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th March 2017, 13:11   #6
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Default Re: Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)

We have not seen the market for an A3 considering that people might as well go the whole hog and buy an 'A4' being a a proper sedan. Wish they would've actually made the 1.8 engine part of their line up in India to provide the enthusiasts community some succor.

Although A3 was always missing the LED Tail lights Matrix in its earlier avatar, this facelift has actually made the car more desirable.
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Old 9th March 2017, 13:32   #7
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Default Re: Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)

awesome report Avi with great attention to detail.

As for the car, I am still sceptical why anyone should buy an A3 over the Octavia TSI.
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Old 9th March 2017, 16:34   #8
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Default Re: Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raulspace999 View Post
We have not seen the market for an A3 considering that people might as well go the whole hog and buy an 'A4' being a a proper sedan. Wish they would've actually made the 1.8 engine part of their line up in India to provide the enthusiasts community some succor.
Actually, What I heard from Audi during the drive is that A3 is doing really well in terms of sales (contrary to my personal observation of not seeing many of them on road) and they wanted to bring in more features and oomph to increase that sales momentum

In my office, I have personally seen 4 A3's in the parking lot and I know 2 of them who are mid-level managers so I think that's the target segment for this class of Audi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raulspace999 View Post
Although A3 was always missing the LED Tail lights Matrix in its earlier avatar, this facelift has actually made the car more desirable.
In flesh, A3 looks quite nice except for it's Vento sized length and new features are not really head-turning but, the Matrix lights are something that will attract new customers

However, they should have brought in a few more features available in international version of refreshed A3 such as the Paddle Shifter, Virtual Cockpit etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by himanshugoswami View Post
As for the car, I am still sceptical why anyone should buy an A3 over the Octavia TSI.
Thanks Himanshu! The difference between a TSI vs. A3 is not much maybe around 7-8 lakhs and for that you join the elite league of Audi bandwagon

There was one anecdote that I heard during the drive recited by Audi person is that one gentleman currently driving a hatchback car had a budget of maximum 20 lakhs and upon someone's recommendation came in to check the preowned A3. But, guess what happened after a test drive?

He ended up buying a brand new A3 instead

Predicting customer behavior is becoming increasingly difficult these days as its hard to tell who has the real money and who doesn't !
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Old 9th March 2017, 16:42   #9
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Default Re: Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)

The 1.4 TSi is better suited to the A3 as compared to the A4.

However, I would rather buy an Octy and spend the change on some nice mods.
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Old 9th March 2017, 18:01   #10
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Default Re: Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nair.V8 View Post
The 1.4 TSi is better suited to the A3 as compared to the A4.
+1. The A3 is 100kgs lighter than A4 and due to that it does not feel heavy or cumbersome even with a lower powered (150bhp) engine

It felt light, agile and quite nimble....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nair.V8 View Post
However, I would rather buy an Octy and spend the change on some nice mods.
Different strokes for different folks

People these days have lot of disposable income or their lifestyle is such that savings are not important. Such folks blindly go for the Audi brand
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Old 9th March 2017, 18:47   #11
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Default Re: Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)

It is a coincidence that I just came back after TD of A3 1.4TFSI 150ps.

The engine is more than adequate, it reaches high speeds in a jiffy. 1.8 will be phased out pretty soon, I guess only Skoda has it still.

However, it beats me that why they have not plonked the new 1.5 engine that is 10% more efficient. Maybe in good time.

Last edited by GTO : 10th March 2017 at 11:06. Reason: Strictly no mention of illegally high speeds please
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Old 9th March 2017, 19:33   #12
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Default Re: Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)

Do I see that A3 does not have fog lamps? is it possible that expensive car does not come with fog lamps as standard? or am i missing something?
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Old 9th March 2017, 20:13   #13
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Default Re: Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)

I own a Polo 1.2 petrol 3 Cyl.

Rats once chewed away at the wire going into the injector of the left most cylinder in my car.
As a result, when I started the car, the sound it produced, immediately reminded me of the celerio 2cylinder diesel.
I drove it comfortably like this (on 2 cylinders) to the service facility and changed the wire.

Will the Audi also sound the same with 2 of it's cylinders de-activated?
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Old 9th March 2017, 20:29   #14
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Default Re: Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Audi's dynamic turn indicators making it to the A3:
Attachment 1615874
Is it only me seeing a slimmer tyre on the passenger side? Or is it an illusion? Even the pattern looks different.
Attached Thumbnails
Driven: Audi A3 1.4L Petrol (2017 Facelift)-5.jpg  

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Old 9th March 2017, 22:08   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinu2506 View Post
Is it only me seeing a slimmer tyre on the passenger side? Or is it an illusion? Even the pattern looks different.
It looks different to me as well.
The one of the driver side has 4 grooves, the one on the passenger side has 3.
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