The A3’s interior isn’t very different from other Audis, but there are a few things that will make you sit up and take notice. The first thing is the MMI screen – it pops up out of a slot at the top of the centre console, which is very impressive. Paired to this is the rotary knob on the centre console which has a touchpad on the top. This is much like a laptop computer’s mousepad, and you can write on it with a finger and it will recognise the letters, no matter how bad the handwriting. (We tried it, it works.) The second is the new design of the air vents. Audi says they’re modelled on a jet fighter’s turbines. Claims of turbofan resemblance aside, they are very pretty things, and the bezels have to be rotated to cut airflow. The crowning glory is the central circle – pull to focus airflow, and push for a diffused effect. This should help in cooling all of you equally rather than just one ear or your fingers.
All the usual bells and whistles are present – leather upholstery with contrasting stitching, a very nice four-spoke steering wheel, a multi-function display, a CD player with different multimedia options and a 20 GB hard drive, and dual zone climate control. The AC is effective and has a rear blower as well. Sat nav is an optional extra for some variants but is standard for the top-spec variant.
The seats are comfortable, of course, but tall people should stick to the front. The rear is surprisingly roomy for the car’s size (and roofline), with just enough headroom and knee room for a six-footer. Three abreast is going to be a big ask, though. Two at the rear will be comfortable, what with the armrest and dual cupholders and even a 12V socket exclusively for the rear seat. The A3 gets access via the central armrest recess at the rear to the 425 litre boot, which is a lot larger than that figure suggests. If it isn’t large enough for you, the rear seats split and fold flat for greater convenience.