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Audi A3 1.0 Mild Hybrid Review Singapore 2022 - Sportback & Sedan

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

The newest Audi A3 1.0 mild hybrid is available in both Sportback and Sedan variants, and produces 109 bhp with 200nm of torque through a 7 speed dual clutch. With a smaller engine, the Audi A3 now fetches a road tax bill of just $390 a year. Equipped with standard features such as cruise control, Audi Virtual Cockpit, and a 10.1" Audi MMI touchscreen infotainment unit, the A3 also comes with wireless Apple Carplay & Android Auto. Aside from the engine size, one key difference between the A3 1.0 and the A3 1.5 would have to be the rear suspension, where the 1.0 utilises a torsion beam instead of the 1.5's multi link rear suspension.

When Category B COEs in Singapore surged in the first half of this year, the very capable 1.5L mild hybrid variant of the Audi A3 suffered, as elevated COE prices pushing the A3’s purchase price beyond the reach of some of the A3’s target demographic. Luckily, Audi has been quick to respond given the circumstances, and has now come up with a 1.0L, 3 cylinder mild hybrid version of the A3 Sportback and Sedan - bringing the A3 family back into the Category A COE bracket. With its new setup, the A3 is now smoother, more economical, and cheaper to own and run.

While many were skeptical about the performance capabilities of the new drivetrain, it took all of 30 seconds into my test drive to realise that any skepticism toward this new A3 was unwarranted. Pulling out of the car park and accelerating onto the main road, the A3 felt swift and light on its feet - feeling faster than the car’s stated 0-100km/h time of 10.6 seconds. Aside from some mild clattering at lower speeds and gears, the A3 generally feels very refined for an entry level car, and the mild hybrid system seems to smoothen out the gear changes. The end result is a car that feels like it is sort of gliding through its paces - admittedly, this means it's not the most engaging car to drive, but it also means that the A3 is impeccably smooth and effortless in the way it moves. Generally, I found that the Sportback to be a little more lively to drive over the Sedan, but that could just be in my head as the Sportback only has a 5kg weight advantage over the Sedan.

The big party trick of the new A3 1.0 has to be the way the cylinder deactivation works on the car when coasting, allowing the car to glide on with minimal engine resistance, giving the driver superb fuel economy. While this technology has been around on a few cars now, the A3 does it like no other as it is super easy to activate in the A3. Simply take your foot off the accelerator for approximately 1.5 seconds, and the car automatically enters its coast mode. In fact, it is so easy to utilise this fuel saving feature that it not only kicks in during expressway driving, but also during city driving - which is amazing. Exercise a little bit of control and judgement during your drive, and it isn't difficult to have this cylinder deactivation work in your favour for large portions of your drive.

Inside, the A3 is extremely well built, and the doors open and shut with the weight and composure of a more premium vehicle. For a compact vehicle, use of space is commendable and you'll find a competitive amount of legroom is the rear. As with most Audis, material use isn't exactly the most premium, but whatever you can lay your hands on is very well put together, resembling the build quality of a more expensive car. While not the most modern looking interior, Audi's MMI infotainment unit and updated Virtual Cockpit still remain one of the better systems on the market. Personally, I have also found that Audi's MMI system offers one of the quickest, easiest, and most reliable wireless smartphone connectivity interfaces currently available in market.

Overall, the A3 1.0 is a very good car, and offers an extremely good balance of power and economy. Build quality is also top notch whether you are opting for the Sportback or the Sedan - though I do think that the Sedan will be the more popular variant in Singapore. Offering a difference in image, the Sportback definitely feels more youthful and lively, while the Sedan feels more matured and down to earth. Whichever variant you choose though, we have a sneaky feeling that the A3 1.0 may be one of the best cars we've tested all year - and one of our favourites too.


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