Audi A3 Sportback Review
The Audi A3 Sportback has one of the best looking interiors of its kind. It has advanced tech and is well made. It’s also a bit more expensive than alternatives.
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- Striking design inside and out
- Every version gets great tech
- Generally good materials, well put together
What's not so good
- 1 Series or A-Class cost a bit less
- Rear headroom a bit restricted
- Lower powered models less comfy
Audi A3 Sportback: what would you like to read next?
Lamborghini-inspired design, super-advanced tech, and a luxury interior… the big guns have definitely been rolled out to tempt you into the new Audi A3.
Its traditional alternatives are fellow posh Germans the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class, but the A3 actually shares plenty of parts with the new VW Golf, SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia. As a result, these brands’ family hatchbacks are a bit like four children who all turned out very differently.
If the Skoda Octavia is the sensible one, the Seat Leon the sporty one and the Volkswagen Golf the easiest to get on with, the Audi A3 is the one who took a job in the city, likes expensive clothes and has a designer watch on the wrist.
In fact, the new A3 comes with the sportiest Audi interior you’ll see this side of the R8 supercar. It looks absolutely fantastic thanks to its sweeping horizontal lines, wraparound design and hexagonal air vents that look like they’ve been pinched off an unsuspecting Lamborghini. Sure, the materials don’t quite feel supercar-posh in places, but overall the Audi A3 is a pretty premium place to sit.
It’s especially up-market if you go for a high-spec model with the larger widescreen digital driver’s display and built-in sat-nav. Thankfully, it’s all dead easy to use and even entry-level cars get a cool 10-inch touchscreen and all the smartphone mirroring features you could want as standard.
It isn’t just more tech that sets the new A3 apart from the old car – it feels sportier to sit in too. You sit lower than before and the sports seats you get in S Line models come with plenty of support and some lovely Alcantara trim.
Space in the back isn’t quite so good, so tall adults might find their heads touching the roof, but at least there’s plenty of knee room to go round. The dark headlining you get in S Line models can make it feel a bit dark and dingy back there, but there’s always the option of a panoramic glass roof if you want to let a little more light in.
There’s a decent amount of space in the Audi A3’s 380-litre boot – that’s the same size as the boot in a 1 Series – and it’s easy enough to flip down the back seats to carry very large stuff.
The Audi A3's interior has always won people over in the showroom. It looks like this new one might do the same on the test drive too.
You can have your Audi A3 with a range of engines, including a 1.0-litre petrol with 110hp and a 1.5-litre petrol with 150hp. There’s also a 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid model that’s both faster and more efficient than the standard petrol models – although it’s quite a bit more expensive, too.
If you do lots of long drives, you’ll want to consider a diesel engine instead. There are two to choose from; a 2.0-litre 115hp engine and a 2.0-litre 150hp model that’ll make a great motorway cruiser.
If you want even more sportiness, you can opt for an S3 model. It comes with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that produces more than 330hp. It feels stronger than the old car yet it’s every bit as smooth and comes complete with a characterful exhaust note. Tap the video below to watch our full review on the S3.
Generally, the A3 is quiet and comfortable to drive, though S Line cars have a lower suspension set-up than the rest of the range – to make them feel more sporty – so these will feel firmer over potholes and rough roads. Also, versions with more than 148hp get a more advanced rear suspension set up which should make them better over bumps than the lower-powered cars. A BMW 1 Series is sportiest posh hatchback to drive, but the A3 isn’t that far behind should you want to have fun down a twisty road.
Take a look at the latest Audi A3 deals…
… Or if you’ve not quite made up your mind yet, see how the Audi A3 compares with its likely alternatives – the BMW 1 Series, Mercedes A-Class and the VW Golf – in our video review.
The A3 interior looks great and the very best tech Audi has to offer, but if you look hard enough though, some of the materials feel a bit cheap.
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