First Drive Review: 2017 Audi A3 Facelift

2017 Audi A3 Facelift Front Profile

Remember being in school and wanting a fit and perfect body? For which you were all ready to make those trips to the gym and work out? Well, with this facelift of the A3 sedan, Audi has worked its (you know what) off to make it look desirable, youthful and even muscular. The youngest member from the Audi stable reminds me of that age and that’s because it has got some new attributes and a new face. So, yes, it’s spent some hours on the tread mill which is why it looks taut and muscular. Before I tell you about the changes I must tell you that it’s one of the facelifts I’m excited to look at and drive.

While the excitement was partly because I was about drive on the Autobahn and the Bavarian countryside, majority of the excitement was because Audi has introduced new engines on its entire A3 range. But, yeah it’s more like a kill joy because India will not be getting most of those engine options on the A3 or any other models.

Yes, globally the A3 is available in different body types but India only gets the sedan and cabriolet avatar. Globally Audi has also introduced a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder engine on the A3 shedding out 115 horses, but we won’t see it in India. We will continue to get the 2.0-litre TDI diesel variant with 150bhp and 250 Nm of torque. Interestingly we will get an updated and much more powerful petrol variant. Audi has decided to get over its existing 1.8L TFSI engine and has replaced it with the 2.0-litre petrol engine which is a smart and excitable move.

The car was launched in India in September 2014 and it’s about time we got the facelift. Now let’s admit it, even though the Audi A3 was the World car of the year and also has the NDTV Car of the Year titles under its belt, it still did not look as pretty as the Mercedes-Benz CLA. So the folks at Audi decided to give it a new face. To be honest the car looks no different than the new generation A4, it looks more muscular and if you own an A3 you can instantly tell the difference.

Up front, there are revised headlights with the option of LED matrix headlights which we have already seen in many of the Audi cars including in the Q7, TT and A6. Complementing the smart headlamps are the dynamic turn indicators. Now you may regard this as a mid-life styling change and there is no major change to the platform or has any change in the metal work of the car. The rear gets a revised taillight and a slight modification to the bumper.

The cabin too doesn’t see major changes but things start to look up when you get behind the wheel. Audi has introduced its virtual cockpit system which puts everything that a traditional infotainment system would have on a central display screen on the instrument panel right in front of you. The 7-inch display screen on the centre is now standard and also has the option to connect with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The car will be launched in the European market in July this year, we expect the car to come to India by the festive season. To me it will be an important launch in the market as the premium sedan space in India is being contested like never before. India will also see the cabriolet coming, though much later, however we will miss out on the 306bhp churning S3 and that one is a big miss.