Audi A3 Sportback Review & Prices

The Audi A3 Sportback has a neatly styled interior with advanced tech, although some of the trims feel a bit cheap. It’s also a little more expensive than alternatives

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RRP £28,085 - £52,410 Avg. Carwow saving £2,835 off RRP
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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Striking design inside and out
  • Every version gets great tech
  • Nice materials, well put together

What's not so good

  • 1 Series or Golf cost a bit less
  • Rear headroom a bit restricted
  • Lower powered models less comfy

Find out more about the Audi A3 Sportback

Is the Audi A3 Sportback a good car?

Lamborghini-inspired design, super-advanced tech, and a luxury interior – the big guns have definitely been rolled out to tempt you into the new premium hatchback 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. But it’s not all show and no go. The Audi A3 is so good, it won Best Family Car in the 2021 carwow Car of the Year Awards.

In fact, the new A3 comes with the sportiest Audi interior you’ll see this side of the R8 supercar. It looks striking, and has been inspired by the one in the Lamborghini Urus, but while it feels decent for the most part, some of the materials don’t quite feel supercar-posh in places.

It comes across as decently upmarket 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.

Group test: Audi A3 v BMW 1 Series v Mercedes A-Class v Volkswagen Golf

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. Unfortunately, if you set the steering wheel into its lowest setting, the rim obscures part of the instrument display.

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.

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.

Most people will love the 1.5 petrol with 150hp and everybody will love S line trim. Head to our deals page for the best prices!

If you do lots of long drives, you’ll want to consider the 150hp diesel engine instead, which makes 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. Watch our full video review on the S3.

Generally, the A3 is quiet and comfortable to drive, although 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.

Check out the new Audi A3 deals at carwow, or if you're interested in a used Audi A3 you can find plenty of examples at our used page. You can also get new deals on other Audi models and if you want to change your car, you can sell your car through carwow, where our trusted dealers will bid on your car to get you the best price.

How much is the Audi A3 Sportback?

The Audi A3 has a RRP range of £28,085 to £52,410. However, with Carwow you can save on average £2,835. Prices start at £26,691 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £322. The price of a used Audi A3 on Carwow starts at £14,157.

Our most popular versions of the Audi A3 are:

Model version Carwow price from
40 TFSI e Sport 5dr S Tronic £33,555 Compare offers

A3 Sportback alternatives include the BMW 1 Series and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class

While the A3’s alternatives look pricy on paper, their entry-level models offer more power than the basic 110hp Audi A3 Sportback petrol – the BMW 118i and the Mercedes A180 both offer 136hp and feel nippier as a result. On the other hand, the A3’s standard infotainment system looks light years ahead of the basic system fitted to the Mercedes.

Performance and drive comfort

The Audi A3 Sportback is comfortable, quiet and easy to drive although it’s not the best choice if you like your car to be fun to drive

In town

The Audi A3 Sportback gets the basics of town driving spot on.

You get a perfect driving position with loads of adjustment and large windows that give excellent visibility. Navigating through town is easy thanks to the car’s digital instrument display that transforms at the touch of a button into a massive map behind the steering wheel.

Get underway and you’ll find the A3’s suspension soaks up inner-city bumps and poor surfaces well for a car of this price, S line models are a tad stiffer but not uncomfortable. The A3’s tight turning circle – tighter than a BMW 1 Series offers – is also a big help when you’re negotiating streets crammed with traffic.

Parking’s another A3 strong point. Light controls make it effortless to manoeuvre at low speeds and its progressive steering means you can get from lock to lock in just two turns. You also get standard rear parking sensors that you can swap – free of charge – for a reversing camera that’s crystal clear. Even the wing mirrors fold away to prevent damage when you’re parked up.

If you loath parking, consider the £995 Comfort and Sound Pack. It adds a long list of equipment (more on that to come) including auto-park which means the A3 can select a space and steer itself into it, autonomously. It works in both bay and perpendicular parking spaces.

On the motorway

The Audi A3 is one of the best cars of its type on the motorway. Road, wind and engine noise are all well contained and you’ll also love the standard auto-dimming rearview mirror, which cuts out the glare of other cars' headlights at night. All models offer reasonable acceleration, but the 35 TDI diesel is worth considering if you do lots of long drives thanks to its good combination of performance and economy.

The sport seats are particularly comfortable that you get on S Line. It's not got the punchiest engines around - unless you pick the RS3 - but you get decent acceleration that help you overtake or get out of slip roads.

On a twisty road

Out on country roads, the Audi A3 Sportback doesn’t prove to be as much fun as a BMW 1 Series, which offers an extra level of driver engagement and enjoyment. S Line models feel a touch sportier than lesser versions, their sports suspension 15mm lower so you get less body roll and a sportier stance, but not at the expense of comfort.

It's not the most exciting car when you tackle a twisty road, but it's sharp enough. The A3 isn't that exciting compared to a Ford Focus or Seat Leon, though it's certainly better than a Skoda Octavia or VW Golf.

Space and practicality

Decent space for four and good boot space, but glovebox and cup holders aren’t the most useful

The Audi A3 Sportback gives you a decent seating position and its cabin is well designed with space for four people, a square shaped-boot and a plethora of smaller storage spaces.

Getting comfortable behind the wheel is easy. You get loads of adjustment for you and your passenger’s seat and the steering wheel also offers plenty of movement, which is lucky because it can block your view of the instruments, depending on your driving position. The only thing you’ll miss is lumbar adjustment, which is a £260 option.

Interior storage is mixed. The glovebox is only an average size and the cup holders don’t do a great job of holding your 330ml fizzy drinks upright – smooth driving is a must if you want to avoid a sticky mess. Also, the cubby under the centre armrest is next to useless for storing anything.

Better news comes in the forms of a centre console tray that’ll accommodate big phones as well as small ones, two USB plugs in the front and large pockets in all four doors. You also get a hidden cubby under the steering wheel that’s ideal for hiding small valuables.

Space in the back seats

Headroom and legroom in the back of the Audi A3 Sportback are impressive – you’ll fit comfortably even if you’re more than six feet tall, although three adults sitting across the back seat will feel crushed for hip and elbow room. While we’re having a moan, the centre armrest’s recessed cupholders mean it’s not a comfortable place to lean your elbow, which is something of a design flaw.

Fitting a child seat is easy thanks to the Isofix mounting points in the outer seats and, although you’ll have to move the front seats forward to squeeze in a bulky rear-facing child seat, the same is true on all cars like this.

Features like a rear-seat air vent and 12V power socket separate the Audi from cheaper alternatives like the Ford Focus.

Boot space

The Audi A3 Sportback’s boot has a large opening and a 380-litre capacity, which is bang on average for the class. In real terms, it can swallow up to five carry-on suitcases. That space is the same as the BMW 1 Series, while the Mercedes A-Class falls behind a little with 355 litres. Although they're less premium, the Ford Focus does offer 391 litres, while the Skoda Octavia has a cavernous 600-litre space.

Setting the adjustable boot floor as high as it goes means you can slide heavy luggage into place, the space below the floor serves as an ideal place to store the parcel shelf and you get a completely flat floor with the rear seats folded down. Total luggage capacity sits at 1,200 litres in this configuration.

Handy features? There’s no shortage of those – you get hooks to secure your luggage and your shopping, as well as a 12V socket for powering electricals.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The Audi A3 Sportback doesn’t have the classy design or premium feel you might expect, although the infotainment system is great to look at and slick to use

Sitting behind the steering wheel, the Audi A3 Sportback feels modern, although its angular design isn’t as understatedly pleasant as the old model’s dashboard and interior quality isn’t as consistent, either.

Okay, so the tops of the front doors and the dashboard get soft-touch plastics, but below eye level, there’s plenty of scratchy stuff to grumble about and the fake stitching on the dash top is, well – odd. The BMW 1 Series’ consistently high-quality cabin feels like a level up.

The BMW’s infotainment is also slightly better thanks to its brighter graphics and more logical menus. In fairness, Audi's system is still pretty good. A large processor means you can swipe through menus quickly and you get physical buttons for the ventilation so there’s no need to dive into menus just to turn up the heater.

As you’d expect, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard so it’s easy to mirror your phone’s apps and use its display on the car’s big screen. Two USB ports mean you can charge two phones at once.

Along with the 10.1-inch screen in the centre of the dashboard, you get a 10.25-inch screen behind the steering wheel which looks much better than the tiny screen you get in standard versions of the Mercedes A-Class.

The basic stereo is fine if you're an avid Radio 4 listener but if you like your tunes with a bit more get-up-and-go, the £1,195 Comfort Pack is, again, worth considering. It adds a Bang & Olufsen stereo with a thumping 680W output, 15 speakers and 3D sound.

MPG, emissions and tax

The Audi A3 Sportback is available with two petrol engines and one diesel. Petrol models come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, with the option to swap it for a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. The diesel is automatic as standard. 

The 30 TFSI petrol is the range entry-point producing 110hp from a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine. Performance is adequate rather than startling – 0-60mph takes 10.6 seconds – but it can return a fuel economy of about 50mpg and costs £190 to tax in its first year. An entry-level BMW 118i is slightly quicker but also slightly less economical. 

To compete with the BMW’s performance, you’ll need to upgrade to the A3’s 35 TFSI petrol engine which has a 1.5-litre capacity and 150hp. It’ll get from 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds, returns fuel economy of around 45mpg and costs £230 to tax. 

The 2.0-litre 150hp 35 TDI diesel gets the best fuel economy. It can return 60mpg, costs £190 to tax and gets from 0-60mph in 8.3 seconds – its mid-range punch makes it ideal for A-road and motorway overtakes.

Safety and security

The Audi A3 Sportback was awarded a five-star rating when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP and it comes fitted with features such as automatic emergency brakes, hill-hold assist, lane-departure warning and a distance sensor that warns when you’re too close to the car in front. You also get a car alarm as standard. 

Reliability and problems

Audi generally scores well for reliability so you can expect the A3 Sportback to be well-built and reliable. The old model’s automatic gearbox could cause trouble but that should be sorted in this new model, while the 1.5-litre 35 TFSI petrol engine, which could be hesitant in the old A3, should have had its issues ironed out by now.  

Audi’s come with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty with the option to extend it to five years/90,000 miles.

Buy or lease the Audi A3 Sportback at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £28,085 - £52,410 Avg. Carwow saving £2,835 off RRP
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