by Richard Kilpatrick

Audi A3 Sportback Review

The Audi A3 Sportback is a premium hatchback that covers all the bases, from economical 1.0 TFSI to powerful S3 and RS3 versions. Although based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf, it offers an upmarket alternative to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and BMW 1 Series.

Secure front-wheel drive handling meets an involving and sporty chassis that tends towards the firm side on S Line models, but can be specified with dynamic or magnetic ride if more flexibility is required. Power outputs start at 116hp for the 30 TFSI 1.0-litre petrol or 30 TDI 1.6-litre diesel, both of which offer competitive economy and emissions with either six-speed manual or S tronic automatic gearboxes. Move up to the 1.5-litre EVO engine, and the 35 TFSI produces 150hp for brisk progress, reaching 62mph in around 8 seconds depending on transmission. Long-distance drivers will appreciate the torque and economy of the 35 TDI’s 2.0-litre diesel, which returns a combined 62.8mpg, emissions of 117g/km and 62mph in 8.1 seconds.

For the ultimate in A3 Sportback performance, the 300hp S3 TFSI Quattro’s 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and all-wheel drive offer plenty of power and grip in a relatively subtle package, particularly with Black Edition trim. 62mph is achieved in just 4.7 seconds, yet combined economy is still over 40mpg.

Following Audi’s family look of bold grille and subtle arches with crisp details, shying away from the deep creases and visually challenging curves of many rivals, the A3 Sportback’s exterior is resolved and elegant, with a large glass area for good visibility. Step inside, and the interior combines elements of the TT and A5 for an unfussy yet sporty feel, dominated by high quality materials throughout. A retractable 7.0-inch display hosts Audi’s acclaimed MMI infotainment and navigation, which can be upgraded to a fully connected system with the Technology Pack; this also includes the 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit in place of traditional instruments.

Adding to the technology and design, the A3 Sportback includes a sensible dose of practicality. A generous 380-litre boot is one of the best in this class, and with the seats folded that rises to 1,220 litres.


Zen motoring: Space doesn’t have to be uninspiring


Hiding class-leading practicality inside a crisp, attractive body, the Audi A3 Sportback is a stealthily sensible choice with plenty of inspiring details and a sporty attitude. Even if practicality is your first consideration, you can have a car that offers great interior design and a good experience behind the wheel. In the A3 Sportback Audi has succeeded in creating a car with few real-world compromises, and a lot of appeal.

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