Here is my A3 SportBack S-Line 1.8T S-Tronic mini review having now racked up some miles. I haven’t listed every feature or option, but observations and comments on those features and quirks that have jumped out at me in the early days that may help others.
Build quality: Amazing. Great attention to design detail.
Drive Select: Great concept to adapt power and responsiveness. If you ever need full power, just press the accelerator to the floor (past the initial resistance till you hear a click) and it’ll put you straight into Dynamic mode for max performance regardless of the mode you are currently in. On S-Tronic the coasting function which keeps the engine running but disengages the clutch when off-throttle is superb but sadly its only available in Efficiency mode (though wouldn’t expect it in Dynamic). If you are coasting and need engine braking, just touch either the brake pedal or the down-shift gear paddle and it re-engages smoothly. I don’t plan to use Efficiency mode as my default, so a great feature will be lost.
1.8TFSI S-Tronic and “awful lag” at junctions [separate thread with that title]. I have noticed this but workaround is to just touch the accelerator first before pressing to proceed. If you know you will need to come out of a junction quickly then there is less lag if handbrake released manually first. In other situations, S-Tronic is smooooth. Manual flappy paddle mode – just getting into this but nice that it does still change down itself to prevent you coming into a junction in 7th gear if you forget to do it yourself.
Stop/Start: Still spooks me. A bit concerned with S-Tronic as engine starts on accelerator pedal pressure (rather than clutch on manual box) so starter motor then power in less than 1 second. Workaround is when engine stopped, just touch the accelerator pedal momentarily a couple of seconds before you need power so the engine starts without releasing the handbrake, allowing smoother pull-away when you are ready.
Hold Assist: Brilliant, Simply Brilliant. No need to use the handbrake buttons ever again! However, it and the electronic handbrake do get really upset if your seatbelt isn’t on and they refuse to release automatically in protest. Oh, and expect the car behind you in the queue to get a bit narked as your brake lights stay on when it is working.
Fuel gauge & tank. I expect some data smoothing but only time will tell how accurate it is. One quirk is that it has a habit of dropping an LED between switch-off and switch-on. I would never expect advertised mpg and knew what I was getting into, but c’mon – a 1.8T would benefit from a 55L tank like the 1.8T Quattro (which manages it and also has a rear diff to accommodate). Even with a 55L tank those S3 300PS speed demons won’t be getting far between fill-ups……..
Tyres & Tyre noise: Continental 225/40/18: Extremely dependent upon road surface. On a good surface as smooth as glass they are extremely quiet, but get on harder/more abrasive UK tarmac or concrete and it is really intrusive at motorway speeds as documented elsewhere. Perhaps this is just a consequence of the engine and wind noise being so well controlled in the car. GALA needs to be set close to max to cover the increased tyre roar at speed. Tyre pressures are correct. Really hoping next tyres will be the just launched quieter Contis with damping foam or something else, but grip level in the wet will be the primary purchasing decision.
Ride: Sport suspension forgiving in places but firm in others. Now I have racked up more miles, I think I would have preferred S-Line sports suspension given the seats used (see seats review below) even with UK pot-holed roads.
Sport Seats in S-line: They aren’t really Sports seats as they have only token additional bulking in the side bolsters and overall seem a little bouncy for sports seats. They are supportive but certainly don’t hold you in as sports seats should. I don’t have a major issue with the comfort or design, but the Sports label is overstating it a bit compared with Sports seats I have had on other cars (including Audis).
Electric Lumbar support: Took me a while to set this up as it adjusts for height of bulge as well as degree of bulge. Great that it is height adjustable.
Foot rest for left foot (S-Tronic). Seems to be juuust too far forward for me, and I can’t seem to adjust my driving position so my foot naturally rests on it; I always seem to have some pressure on it. Could do with being recessed an inch or two further into the footwell compared with the pedals. Will continue to try to refine my driving position to improve this. Got to fit my Ali pedal caps soon and that may help too. Great that the pedals are not off-set compared with the seat (A5 & A4 – very noticeable).
Xenon Adaptive lights: Brilliant and the cornering side to side adaptation is a little spooky to start with, but after 5 mins driving a car without it, I really noticed its absence and missed it.
Cornering light (single fog light): Why does that need to still come on at such high speeds given that the light comes out sideways? Surely limiting it to 10mph and for sharp bends & junctions (or indicators) is sufficient. If you need the benefit of that light at that angle and speed to go around a corner with significant steering angle then you also need a g-suit. Nice idea but I’ll stick with the adaptive Xenons that steer with the car thanks (if I can ever work out how to switch the cornering fog lights off).
MMI [Non-Tech Pack but with DAB]: Works well but still learning the menus. May be user error but random/shuffle from SD card source seems to shuffle from all tracks on the card, not just current folder. When listening to a DAB station, it never remembers the DAB “additional text” option which is a pain. AMI & iPhone integration – Brilliant. One feature that I miss is TP Memo that can be preset to record traffic bulletins whilst driving or at set times, even if the car is switched off. It was listed in the 8V brochures up to MY14 v3.2 July-2013 but disappeared in brochure v4.0 Aug-2013 and isn’t on the car itself.
Audi Sound System: Bought this option blind and plenty for me - far better than any car music system I have had before..
Front seat storage/cubby holes. A bit limited. Under the armrest or a shallow one under (only) the drivers seat and yes I have the Storage pack as part of S-Line trim. I don’t have storage compartment under the front passenger seat (maybe that’s available in SE only?) – anyone? Glove box is OK but as it also holds the MMI electronics, then has less space than it looks when open.
Black Upholstery / Black headlining: The Brochure emphasises the black headlining, but its actually all dark grey and absolutely fine. Nowhere near as dark as they seem.
Folding/dipping mirrors: A really nice evolution of the function, especially when reversing. Also helps my OCD/ new car neurosis confirming the car is locked as have set them to fold when locked.
Oil dipstick. A welcome return to the metal design dipsticks and dipstick tube. Previous Audi owners will know the past issues with the crumbling yellow/orange plastic dipsticks and tubes. Note: it does have to be “clicked home” to seat properly.
Oh, and given the behaviour of other drivers on the road, mine seems to have a big (but invisible to me) sticker on the back that says “race me”. Anyone else noticed this?
Some minor quirks and still things for me to adapt to but overall extremely pleased with it.