Audi A3 2018 2.0 tfsi s tronic sport le

Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Sport long-term review: Infotainment and tech

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Audi's motto is 'Vorsprung durch Technik', which means 'Being Ahead through Technology'. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at the features available in our Audi A3 long-termer.

Being the 2.0 TFSI Sport, the Limited Edition more specifically, there's a substantial amount of high-end technologies included both as standard and optionally on Audi's smallest sedan.

As noted in our introduction piece, the Sport Limited Edition gains the Technik and Assistance packages as standard, equating to $4400 of extra value – and it's worth its weight in gold.

Those inclusions bring stuff like the beautiful 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display, MMI Navigation Plus with touch pad and live traffic updates, adaptive cruise control (0–200km/h) with traffic jam assist, high-speed autonomous emergency braking, auto high-beam, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert with reverse AEB, along with hill hold assist.

A few years ago, you had to shell out six figures for vehicles with those types of features, and now you can get them on a sub-$50K small car – although many mainstream brands offer similar features for even less nowadays.

Let's talk about the assistance kit, given Audi is billed as the technology leader within the Volkswagen Group.

As standard, you get city-speed AEB with pedestrian detection, which has been bolstered with the aforementioned Assistance Package in the case of our tester.

The adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist really works a treat. I've done a lot of peak-hour commuting to and from the CarAdvice Melbourne office in the months since collecting 'Aldo', and the capability of the system is nothing short of impressive.

Not all these systems are made equal, mind you. Some cars have a habit of not detecting slowing vehicles ahead or being really jerky with their stop&go functions – the Audi has none of that. Given it works up to 200km/h, the A3 is quick to recognise even stopped vehicles in its path and can come to a complete stop almost as smoothly as a human driver can.

In stop-start traffic, the Audi rarely jolts on the accelerator or slams on the brakes unexpectedly when following a slow-moving vehicle, meaning it can basically drive itself.

The intuitiveness of Aldo's ACC technology makes some of Volkswagen's products seem a generation old, though it would be nice to adjust the set speeds in 1km/h increments rather than 5 or 10 – a small complaint in the big scheme of things.

Moving on from the nifty cruise control, the Audi's blind-spot, cross-traffic and auto high-beam systems all work well without being annoying, too.

The lights built into the mirror shells flash without making annoying bell sounds like you might find in vehicles from other manufacturers, and also doesn't require you to be nearly a suburb in front of the vehicle in the lane beside you for the light to switch off.

We've noticed the rear cross-traffic alert system works pretty well, too, though the reverse AEB function has been set off a few times when pulling out of a steep driveway, which can be a little bit of a shock for someone who doesn't realise the system is fitted.

One feature that could be a little better is the lane-keep assist system. Personally, I tend to turn this function off in most cars because it can get a little intrusive just in general. The Audi's implementation is one of the better ones, and occasionally I leave it on when driving on the freeway at night, but it tends to tug on the steering wheel unnecessarily, which doesn't really inspire confidence at higher speeds.

Beyond the driver-assistance technology, the array of infotainment displays and functions is a cut above most vehicles at this end of the market.

The A3's Virtual Cockpit remains one of the best in the business, despite having been superseded by a newer version used in the company's latest models (think A6, A7, A8 and Q8), but it still offers crisp graphics, plenty of functionality, and a classy touch.

It's also pretty easy to toggle the menus using the buttons on the steering wheel, with the left and right arrows switching the menus and the 'View' button changing the dials from large to small and vice versa.

Additionally, there are two side buttons that allow you to add supplementary widgets like an instant fuel readout and more.

Meanwhile, the 7.0-inch MMI Navigation Plus system may be 'small' by today's standards (many brands are starting to include 8.0-inch displays as a minimum), but it's much like the Virtual Cockpit in the sense it's attractive to look at and rather easy to use.

The rotary dial with touch pad is easy to figure out, and you can hand-write letters into the navigation search if you can't be bothered scrolling through characters with the wheel. The volume and skip functions can be toggled via the supplementary knob on the centre console or via the steering wheel controls.

Audi's in-built navigation system works well, though I've pretty much only used Apple CarPlay when driving – but using Apple Maps or Google Maps means you can't access the navigation menu on the Virtual Cockpit. Annoying.

One glaring omission is DAB+ digital radio, which for some reason is an extra $500. Audi, why?!

Speaking of missing features, there's also no fitment of an automated parking assistant, either. It's not listed as an option for the Limited Edition, nor is it included in the Assistance Package, oddly. It is, however, normally listed as a $500 cost option. Again, why?

Despite this, I only listen to Spotify in the car, so I haven't really missed digital radio – though I know a lot of people would use it – while the auto park assist is something that would be nice to have rather than something the vehicle really needs.

All up, though, the A3 Sport Limited Edition offers a comprehensive technology package that not only ticks a lot of boxes on the spec sheet, but also brings high-end functionality to what is an attainable model.

Got any questions? Leave us a comment below!

Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Sport Limited Edition

  • Kilometres since previous update: 2013km
  • Fuel consumption (indicated): 7.1L/100km
  • Fuel cost since previous update: $220.54