Audi has recently given its smallest sedan (saloon in UK-speak) a refresh for 2016. With that came some new engines, new headlights, new taillights and some new interior bits. Overall, it’s a much better car than the pre-refresh model and most enthusiasts are happy with the results. But one of the cars that gets overlooked in the Audi A3 line is the 1.4 TFSI sedan.
In America, we don’t get the option for the 1.4 TFSI engine in the A3. We get the 1.8T and 2.0T engine options, but no 1.4T. It’s a shame, too, because Top Gear has just driven the new Audi A3 1.4 TFSI sedan and come away with great things to say about the little motor.
Packing just 148 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, the little 1.4 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine sounds underpowered. However, it’s more impressive than its figures on paper would suggest. In fact, it’s actually probably the better choice of engine than the 1.8T. With a 0-60 mph time of 8.2 seconds, the A3 1.4T is actually not all that slow. It isn’t going to light anyone’s hair on fire, but it’s punchy enough to be enjoyable and never feel sluggish. Plus, in-gear punch and responsiveness are both more important than raw 0-60 mph numbers, anyway.
Mated to a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch gearbox, the A3 1.4T is capable of over 40 mph, by the EU cycle. The gearbox even has some interesting functions, like de-coupling from the engine on the highway when you lift off the throttle. This allows less engine friction and aids in fuel economy. It can even deactivate two cylinders under the right highway cruising conditions.
In a world where small diesel hatchbacks dominate UK roads, thanks to heavy regulations and tax incentives for efficient cars, the Audi A3 1.4T is a refreshing car. It’s more enjoyable and entertaining than diesels to drive and it delivers similar fuel economy. While it might not be as cheap to run or own as a TDI variant, it’s certainly the nicer one to drive.