Audi A3 30 TDI: what is the smallest diesel engine worth?


4th generation

Premium compact sedan

From 29,200 €

Appeared in 1996, theAudi A3 has become a key player in the premium market in the space of 24 years. Since its creation, more than 5 million copies have been sold. Today we are in the fourth generation and over the years the competition has only increased. So much so that the compact with rings considered as the benchmark of the segment was exceeded last year on the French market by the Mercedes Class A and the superiority of the sedan to the star was confirmed over the first ten months of 2020. Internally, the A3 is also a victim of fashion since it is dethroned by the compact SUV of the brand the Q3, as the brand’s best-selling product, which generates greater enthusiasm.

For this fourth of the name, the Ingolstadt builder has remained true to his habits: change but no revolution, just not to destabilize customers. Thus, the new A3 is recognizable at first glance: the front features an enlarged grille surrounded by projectors marked with a very accentuated indentation than on the previous generation. The profile is classic and the increase in dimensions reasonable since they progress by only 3 cm with a length of 4.34 m.

The dashboard is completely new. The presentation is original for Audi.

Inside, the changes are more notable since the dashboard has been completely revised and the design chosen is surprising. Thus, the main originalities are at the level of the completely digital instrumentation with rectangular aerators and no longer round as before which are now glued to the cap like ears on a face. Original and surprising at Audi. Air vents facing the front passenger. The multimedia screen is now slightly oriented towards the driver. This novel organization may be surprising but it benefits from good ergonomics with, for example, air conditioning controls separate from the multimedia screen. The results are positive. The quality of the materials is generally good apart from some hard plastic details that are not very attractive for this level of the range.

Test - Audi A3 30 TDI: what is the smallest diesel engine worth?
Test - Audi A3 30 TDI: what is the smallest diesel engine worth?

Rear roominess and cargo volume are average for the category.

In terms of livability, as often in the category, one should not expect miracles. Thus, the rear passenger compartment and the load volume with 380 liters – the same capacity as the previous generation – are simply average for the category. Nothing more, nothing less.

A 30 TDI with interesting benefits.

Pending the plug-in hybrid version which will be marketed in early 2021, the Audi A3 is available in gasoline and diesel. On the program for each three and four cylinder carburetion, developing 110 and 150 hp in gasoline and 116 and 150 hp in diesel.

Test - Audi A3 30 TDI: what is the smallest diesel engine worth?

After a first test behind the wheel of the last one, it is now up to the entry level diesel, the 30 TDI, that is to say the 116 hp. Power very common in the segment, whether it is among generalist or premium manufacturers. With its 300 Nm of torque – a traditional value for this type of engine, it shows good health with energetic pickups and decent acceleration. Features that eliminate the need for regular gearbox play. A good thing. Pleasant to use in most situations, it is a real shame that the sound of this four-cylinder is also present especially during acceleration phases. An evil that we had already reported when testing version 35 TDI. Therefore, this is a more global problem. This defect is however compensated by the sobriety of this block. During our test, we found an average of 5.9 l / 100 km. Not bad at all.

The performance of the 30 TDI is matched by convincing handling. As is often the case with the models of the brand with the rings, the A3 shows a beautiful homogeneity which gives its driver a feeling of safety and efficiency. This is also accompanied by good comfort with an excellent compromise between pleasure and efficiency. The picture is almost perfect except that this A3 is sorely lacking in life or emotion. Understand by this that her behavior is very good but it must be admitted that she is less joyful and fun to drive than the last one. Series 1 for example, which has yet abandoned propulsion with its new generation.

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