I’m gradually getting to grips with my A3, and comments in last monthís ëhelloí report about the MMI (Multi Media Interface) being awkward to fathom out and taking up far too much concentration away from eyes on the road is, Iím pleased to report, subsiding. Whereas in the first three days of A3 ownership, the navigation system remained switched off, destinations are now added in a matter of moments. Once you get to the right menu to input a destination, users have three options to do just that. Firstly thereís the traditional ëQWERTYí on-screen keyboard operated by a rotary dial, voice control ñ though I donít appear to have the ability to talk properly and be understood, so thatís a write off ñ and finally, on top of the rotary dial thereís a touchpad fitted as part of the Advanced Technology Pack, where you can actually write instructions with a stroke of a finger, be it a postcode, address, Point of Interest or a contact in your phone book. This is the best option out of the three, but I think I still prefer a touchscreen, found on the other Volkswagen Group cars, even if you do have to contend with greasy fingermarks on the screen.
I drove past a petrol station the other day and something caught my eye ñ the tyre pressure machine ñ which then reminded me that a checkup was long overdue. No, the pressure monitoring sensor wasnít shouting for air, despite the crater-like pothole the car crashed into near Studley Castle, I just had an inkling that things werenít quite as inflated as they should be. The ride was pleasingly smooth and forgiving, but at certain speeds and surfaces, the car was jittery and twitchy, yet a bit sloppy too, and cornering wasnít quite living up to expectations. Suitable petrol station located, and a chase across the forecourt to retrieve a dust cap that made a break for it in the gale force winds, and normal service was restored. The difference was startling, with the car becoming taut and precise when cornering, resulting in a long, lingering smile across my face. While I would never describe the steering particularly engaging, and it is somewhat numb in the way that it feels, the response levels to the inputs is now a whole lot better.
Back to the Advanced Technology Pack, which not only includes the stunningly beautiful Virtual Cockpit and uprated navigation system, it also includes Audi Phone Box, which wirelessly charges mobile phones. That is providing youíve got a compatible mobile phone, which mine appears not to be. Said box is positioned in the front centre armrest and annoyingly removes a large chunk of storage, leaving just a small area for essential items. Mine is currently filled with receipts and a pen. One addition to the equipment pack is three-yearís subscription to 4G in-car WiFi, which helps to avoid incurring excess data charges.
Date arrived: 20th December 2016
Fuel economy: 65.7mpg (combined) 46.2mpg (on test)
The rimless rear view mirror is awesome. All cars should have this.
The reversing camera is a little small and gives an odd perspective.