2018 Audi A3 Driving Impressions

The VW/Audi 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is a winner, flexible and refined, either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The paddle-shifting 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission shift sharply, although you might hear a clunk at low speed.

Because the chassis (from the VW Golf) is rigid, the A3 gets away with a fairly soft suspension without ruining the handling. The electric power steering is light but direct. Road noise is high.

The suspension in the Sport Package can be stiff over expansion strips, but the seats have more bolstering to comfortable ride it out.

The heavier Cabriolet is a bit less zippy, and there’s some slight shake over bad roads, but it’s still nicely composed.

The battery pack in the Sportback e-tron is mounted low, which helps bring down the center of gravity thus improving the handling, to go with its quickness. An EV mode selects electric power for slow speed.

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