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The 2025 Audi A3 Allstreet Is a Baby Allroad for Europe

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The SUV has evolved toward the ordinary car and spawned the crossover. But the regular hatchback has also moved in the other direction. The Audi A3 only comes to the United States as a dinky, slow-selling sedan. But in Europe a mid-cycle facelift is being accompanied by the launch of the A3 Allstreet, a four-door wagon with raised ride height and crossover-inspired plastic body cladding. Audi says it is designed to deliver an “SUV-like driving experience combined with high functionality”—a claim that, frankly, sounds closer to a threat than a promise. It’s also one we were curious to examine, naturally.

Audi says that the A3 Allstreet will not come to the States, so this is definitely forbidden-fruit territory. We can also report that the Allstreet does indeed deliver a slightly taller and marginally less precise driving experience than that of the regular A3.

The Allstreet’s name and chunky design cues are clearly inspired by Audi’s long-running A4 Allroad and A6 Allroad dynasties. But as the Allstreet moniker hints, this is designed for the urban jungle rather than the actual wilderness. A suspension lift of a mere 0.6 inch, paired with larger wheels, grants the Audi a not-exactly-Jeep-worthy 1.2 inches of ground clearance over the standard A3 hatchback, and it only comes with front-wheel drive. Two powertrains are available in Europe: a gasoline-fed turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four and a 2.0-liter inline-four turbodiesel, both rated at an identical 148 horsepower. A six-speed manual is standard with the gas engine, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic optional. The diesel is automatic only.

We drove the 1.5-liter equipped with the dual-clutch automatic, its power output earning it 35 TFSI branding, on a route around Munich that included country roads, a dirt track, and also a stretch of derestricted autobahn.

American buyers definitely should not feel sad that they’re missing the chance to buy the smaller gasoline engine. Refinement is limited, with a level of vibration at idle that made the Allstreet feel as if it had three cylinders rather than four. Despite what Audi claims to be smarter gearbox software, the automatic often felt hesitant when starting off from rest, something we’ve noticed in other Volkswagen Group dual-clutch products, although shifts once on the move are smooth and rapid. The 1.5-liter engine’s low-end torque is strong, helped by a 48-volt hybrid system using a starter-generator that can add up to 12 horsepower and 36 pound-feet of assistance, with the claimed peak of 184 pound-feet coming at just 1500 rpm. This is good, because the engine quickly becomes loud and gruff when pushed toward its 6000-rpm redline. We didn’t confirm Audi’s claimed 8.4-second 62-mph time, nor did the Allstreet encourage us to.

Other parts of the dynamic experience impressed more. The Allstreet’s higher suspension features softer springs and dampers than the regular A3, changes that have taken the edge off the standard car’s busy ride over rougher surfaces. Over the few really big bumps we could find on Bavaria’s generally smooth road network, the Allstreet felt a little underdamped, especially if asked to change direction at the same time. But it coped well with urban speed bumps and also a dirt track, and cruising refinement felt pretty much identical to that of the regular A3, even when legally pushing past 100 mph on the autobahn. Some steering precision has been lost with the raised suspension, but response is still keen and grip levels are more than suited for the performance on offer.

The Allstreet also previews some changes we can expect to be applied to the U.S.-market A3. Digital instruments are now standard on all European versions, along with a 10.1-inch touchscreen. Audi has responded to criticism of the grayness and gloominess of the A3’s cabin with a colorful makeover that brings adjustable cabin lighting with 30-color LED strips on the doors and across the top of the dashboard, plus the option of matching backlit door panels. It certainly feels more cheerful, although there are still some hard, cheap-feeling plastics lower down in the cabin.

The A3’s center console has also been redesigned with a new gear selector for the automatic gearbox—an EV-style direction switch—along with what will be, in Europe, a standard wireless charging pad with two USB-C charging ports. There are two more USB-Cs in back, where space still feels tight for adults.

The A3 also marks a new departure for Audi in Europe, with the arrival of what are described as “function on demand” subscription options. Cars are built to one hardware specification, with owners then able to pay extra to unlock functionality, either for a limited period or permanently. Controversially, one of these will be smartphone integration to allow for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay to run on the Audi’s operating system, a function that—in Europe as in the States—is pretty much universal on every car with a touchscreen display. Audi will charge $12 to unlock this for a month or $114 for a year—Audi wouldn’t give a price for permanent activation. Other functions kept under a digital lock include Audi’s built-in navigation system, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, and two-zone climate control (with single zone standard for misers).

Another strange option, one that doesn’t appear to cost extra, is a configurable pattern for the A3’s daytime running lights. The 24 LED panels above the headlights can be switched between four different configurations, reducing the risk of the social embarrassment that would come from turning up at an event to find another A3 owner wearing the same pattern. We were delighted to see that one of these makes the A3 look as if it is wearing a set of evil cartoon eyebrows, something we are taking as proof of the existence of the German sense of humor.

The A3 Allstreet starts at $29,750 before sales tax in Germany—with the need to pay more, of course, if you want it to talk to your phone. We’ll find out which revisions will make it to the U.S.-market A3 and S3 sedans later in the year—here’s hoping the pay-as-you-go features aren’t among them.

Our man on the other side of the pond, Mike Duff lives in Britain but reports from across Europe, sometimes beyond. He has previously held staff roles on U.K. titles including CAR, Autocar, and evo, but his own automotive tastes tend toward the Germanic: he owns both a troublesome 987-generation Porsche Cayman S and a Mercedes 190E 2.5-16.


Source: Reviews - aranddriver.com


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