Audi A3 Sportback
Aggregated reviews, user reviews, videos, photos and stats
- Excellent interior
- Great diesel engines
- Looks like the old model
- Quite pricey
- 1.8 TFSI criticisms
With the exception of a couple of extra doors and some extra space, the Sportback’s cabin is much like the regular A3. That is to say, the absolute highest standards have been used in the car’s build quality and materials, with a subtle, tasteful interior design.
Rear head and legroom has been improved, one tester commenting that one six-footer can now happily sit behind another. An increased wheelbase has also helped improve boot volume, up from 350 to 380 litres.
Testers find the seats and interior comfortable, though comfort is reduced if you go for the larger wheel options, which harms the ride quality.
“All remarkably familiar” is how one expert sums up the A3’s driving characteristics, being near-identical to the 3-door model. Indeed, it’s not a great deal different from any other Audi either, which is either a blessing or a curse depending on how much interaction you’d like.
Testers say steering response and weighting is just about spot-on, but feel is completely absent. Handling is described as “confidence inspiring” and very safe, but lacking in enjoyment.
Some testers note that the Sportback rides better than the three-door, as it’s set up a little softer - though again if you want a truly comfortable ride, avoid larger wheel options.
Naturally, quattro all-wheel-drive is an option, providing all-weather security and great traction.
A range of engines, from a 1.2-litre TFSI petrol to a potent 2.0-litre TDI are available in the Sportback range. Of these it's the 2.0 TDI and 1.4 TFSI that shine brightest - both for their mix of economy and performance.
Criticisms of the 1.8 petrol range from its uninspiring engine note, to an oddly slow dual-clutch transmission. It has plenty of power, but then so does the 2.0 TDI, recommended by many testers. “Gruff but powerful” is how one reviewer puts it, while almost 70 mpg is on the cards.
The 1.6 TDI may be even better for some - not as quick, but gets over 70 mpg and free road tax.
Value for money
Of all the vehicles on VW’s new light-weight MQB platform, the Audi A3 Sportback is the most expensive. For those not seduced by the badge, that alone reduces its value for money, as you’ll get much the same economy, performance and driving characteristics in a cheaper VW Golf or SEAT Leon.
Next to premium rivals its value varies. It’s quite a lot more expensive than equivalent BMW 1-Series, particularly with the 1.8-litre TFSI engine, and the entry level to A3 Sportback ownership starts at more than the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Even so, the pricing doesn’t seem to put off many testers.
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The models to go for are the diesels here, though that may change when more petrol models fall into reviewers’ hands. The 2.0 TDI should be the best-seller overall, though those wanting to dodge road tax and congestion charging should look at the 1.6 TDI. A more powerful 2.0 TDI has been confirmed, and it’d be surprising if a super-quick S3 model wasn’t in the works either…
There’s a lot to like about the Audi A3, and reviewers are overwhelmingly positive about it. It’s essentially everything you’d expect from an Audi - excellent build quality, understated style, practicality, comfort and prestige.
Provided you aren’t too interested in having fun - in which case, you’d be better off with a BMW 1-Series - then the Audi A3 Sportback is, as reviewers suggest, an excellent all-rounder.
- Price range:
- £18,900 - £32,740
- 40 - 74
- Safety rating (NCAP):
- Date released:
- Replacement due:
- Not for many years
- Model history:
- This is the 3rd generation A3, codenamed the 8V.
The super-economical 1.2 TFSI engine was launched in March 2013
- Engine to go for:
- The 2.0 TDI is expected to be the best seller, but lower-mileage drivers may find the frugal 1.4 TFSI petrol a better option - it's cheaper too.
- Engine to avoid:
- The 1.8 TFSI reviews aren't great
- Options to go for:
- Unsure which colour to choose, our A3 colour guide may help!
- Options to avoid:
- The 'Exclusive' paint options, they cost over £2,000!
- Other variants:
- There's also the smaller 3 door Audi A3. Look out for the Audi A3 Saloon, first deliveries of which will be in September 2013.
- Engine naming:
- TDI engines are diesels, TFSI are petrols
WhatCar Magazine named the A3 Sportback their 2013 Car of the Year. In this video they explain why it won.
AutoExpress test the new A3 Sportback and give their view on the engines, how it drives and the ride comfort.
Which? Magazine give us a tour round the A3 Sportback at the Paris Motor Show, where it was launched.