The A3 never forgot that it represented the intertwined rings of Audi and, therefore, it had to be serious. Despite its size or price. The withdrawal of its rivals from Mercedes and BMW represents a favorable opportunity for this luxury compact to grow, but also to fight against automobiles from “popular” brands that aspire to move upmarket.

The A3 doesn’t grow, it doesn’t get heavier. It does not consume more fuel. And it shouldn’t cost much more than a Honda Civic or a Mazda 3 for anyone who doesn’t check off the options (always so numerous and expensive) listed in their catalog.

Rather superficial, the exterior alterations can be seen almost mainly in the look of this sedan. The daytime running headlights adopt new LED diodes which allow you to modify their light signature as you wish. The silhouette remains athletic, and this conservatism of shapes corresponds to the desire to slow down the obsolescence of models and maintain their market value.

The reduced size of its trunk makes this Audi a more chic compact than a family car. The split and foldable bench seat is narrow compared to other cars of comparable size. On the other hand, the interior presentation is well above the standards of the category. Strict, but elegant, equipped with beautifully crafted coverings, the dashboard has for some time now been able to break the information codes by housing a screen behind the steering wheel that you can compose yourself. That is to say, it brings together all the data required or desired by the person in charge. This arrangement provides a welcome feeling of space in a fairly confined environment. The standard equipment is enriched with new multimedia applications.

On a technical level, the “new” A3 expected during the summer season will not make anyone want to interrupt their vacation. No changes have been made. True to its post, the turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder still produces the same number of horsepower and the same amount of torque. Flexible, this mechanism delivers the best of itself with the help of a double-clutch automatic transmission capable of shifting its seven gears without interruption.

This criticism, however, does not apply to the S3, the most “excited” version of the range. More powerful (see the “Technical sheet” tab), this version is lowered by 10 or 15 mm, depending on the options chosen, compared to the “everyday” A3.

In addition, the brand’s engineers revised the geometry of the front axle, modified the shock absorbers and reworked the steering. As a bonus, the S3 adopts an all-new torque vectoring mounted on the rear differential. More sophisticated than the previous model (it has two clutches instead of just one), this driving aid from the RS3 (not sold in Canada) controls the power transition between the running gear. But it also modifies the torque force of the outer wheel in curves. At the wheel, the S3 gains in stability and liveliness and noticeably reduces understeer (tendency to pull straight into a corner when it is negotiated too quickly).

The sum of these refinements provides a more satisfying driving experience behind the wheel of the S3. This appears more neutral when changing direction, more tenacious in tight turns and more reassuring when stopping. Previously a little cheesy, this time the S3 really makes you want to spend a few thousand dollars more to afford it.

La Presse will soon publish reviews of the following vehicles: Chevrolet Blazer EV, Nissan Kicks, Subaru Forester and Toyota Camry. If you own one of these vehicles or are awaiting delivery, we would love to hear from you.