All-new for 2022, the Ibis White Audi A3 I drove struck a gorgeous pose against the snow and cluster of Pines. Audi had just flown us out to Colorado to test the 2022 A3 in the breathtaking Colorado Rockies and I pulled over to grab a few photos in the cool 9’000 feet mountain air. The third generation A3 sedan has grown in every dimension. It is now 1.4 inches longer, 0.8” wider, and 0.5” taller. It all adds up to a rather handsome, well-proportioned sedan that is perfectly at home in the mountains.
I started my drive in the 2022 A3 Quattro, at a small hip coffee shop in Lyons, Colorado, eager to experience Audi’s “entry” into the Audi Brand. The A3 is the less sporty brother of the all-new A3/S3 platform. I had just driven the 2022 S3 up the mountains and now it was my turn to drive the A3. As I was leaving, the Audi rep offered to pre-program the car’s nav for the shortest route back to the hotel, as it had been a long day and some journalists wanted to head straight back. I declined as I loved the insanely curvy back roads, whose route was roughly twice as long back. Plus, I wanted the most time I could get with the cars.
I started off easily, not pushing hard and just coasting through the Rockies enjoying the beautiful crystal blue sky coming through the panoramic sunroof. My plan was just to kick back, enjoy the drive down the mountain with its gentle back and forth of the Colorado state highway. However, the further I got into my route, the more I found myself carrying more and more speed through the tight switchbacks and flowing corners of the mountain because the A3’s chassis is just so composed. The A3 I was driving was equipped with the Black Optic Sport Package and 18” wheels with all-season tires. In addition to different dampers and roll bars, the Sport Suspension does lower the chassis 1.5.”
I wasn’t trying to extract max performance in the A3, like I was in my trip up the mountain in the S3. I would just gently tip my foot into the A3’s throttle to accelerate. I instantly noted a much different character of the A3’s 2.0 liter four-cylinder. It had so much more available torque on tip-in. It probably took four or five times of this for me to realize that this is a result of the 48-volt mild-hybrid system seamlessly adding torque fill.
Powering Audi’s 2022 A3 is a four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbo that produces 201 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, which also comes with an mild hybrid (MHEV) system. The new A3 is capable of 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds in Quattro form. At first, I suspected the 48-volt mild hybrid system was going to be a system I never really noticed. What I found though was that it totally changed the character of the car’s driving experience. Where one would normally expect a bit of turbo lag, there was none. During a nice tip-in of the throttle, the A3 would have a large amount of torque, as if it were a much larger engine.
Coasting down the mountain while keeping the air conditioning and all the accessories running normally, I barely noticed the 48V MHEV system, which is the point really. The net result is a boost to the fuel economy without being apparent to the driver. In fact, I had to look on the dash where there is a small section at the very bottom of the RPM gauge that would confirm the engine is indeed off.
The cabin was very tech oriented, with a 12.3” optional Virtual Cockpit Plus, Audi MMI Navigation plus, and an excellent optional Bang and Olufsen sound system. The seats were comfortable but not as bolstered as the ones in the S3. Front seats are heated but not the rears or the steering wheel. I asked Audi about this and they said that the take rate for the rear heated seats on other models did not justify the costs in the A3. The A3 does have folding rear seats in a 40/20/40 style making for a very practical sedan.
Remarkably, Audi’s entry into the wears a base MSRP of $34,945. Well equipped like the one I tested; with the Premium Plus Quattro S Tronic, Tech Package, Black Optic Sport Package, 18” wheels and shipping; rings in at a very reasonable $44,145. The EPA rating is 28 city/36 highway and the 2022 Audi A3 is on sale now.
A3 Premium base fwd starts at MSRP $33,900
A3 Premium plus fwd starts at MSRP $37,200
A3 Prestige fwd starts at MSRP $41,200
- Quattro AWD addds $2,000
$1045 destination charge is added to all models
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