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Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
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Audi's compact hatch is classy and refined

Audi A3 Sportback (13 on) - rated 4.2 out of 5
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PROS

  • Wide range of excellent engines available
  • Good to drive with smooth ride on most models
  • Practical and roomy interior, plus excellent quality

CONS

  • Higher-spec models can be pricey, as can options
  • Some features feel dated next to rivals
  • S Line models have a firm ride

PROS

  • Wide range of excellent engines available
  • Good to drive with smooth ride on most models
  • Practical and roomy interior, plus excellent quality

CONS

  • Higher-spec models can be pricey, as can options
  • Some features feel dated next to rivals
  • S Line models have a firm ride

Verdict

The Audi A3 Sportback is a premium hatchback rivalling the BMW 1 Series, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Volvo V40, as well as the Volkswagen Golf (which it shares its underpinnings with) and the leftfield hybrid-only Lexus CT.

The A3 is also available as a three-door (which has been dropped from the range), this five-door A3 Sportback and the A3 Saloon, the latter two of which are available in sportier S3 and RS 3 editions.

There’s a comprehensive engine line-up (detailed below) including a plug-in hybrid A3 e-tron version, as well as the hotter versions already mentioned. A choice of slick manual and smooth S Tronic automatic gearboxes are available across the range, while Quattro all-wheel drive is also an option on particular models.

Badge appeal aside, one of the A3’s biggest strengths is its simple, classy, high-quality interior with slick dashboard and ergonomic design. It still feels bang up to date despite debuting in 2012. 

Audi A3 Sportback engine line-up 

Audi offers a wide selection of engine options for the A3, consisting of petrol and diesel, as well as a plug-in hybrid. 

Providing petrol power is a choice of 1.0-litre TFSI three-cylinder, 1.5-litre TFSI four-cylinder and 2.0-litre TFSI petrols, all of which are turbocharged with the choice of manual and automatic transmissions. 

Then there are S3 and RS 3 performance versions if you want a more potent A3 Sportback. 

Diesel power is provided by a familiar choice of 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDI units, with 116, 150 and 184hp respectively. Again, Quattro all-wheel drive and a choice of transmissions are available. 

Audi A3 e-tron hybrid: potential 166mpg

In 2015 the range was be augmented by the plug-in hybrid e-tron model, combining a 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine and electric motor to offer up to 176mpg and just 37g/km of CO2 output - perfect for company car users.

Audi A3 Sportback trim levels and equipment

Equipment levels are familiar, spanning SE Technik, Sport, S Line and Black Edition, with distinct S3, RS 3 and e-tron models.

Highlights include alloy wheels, air-con, an MMI infotainment system with its electrically deploying screen, Bluetooth with voice control and a multi-function steering wheel.

Cloth seats are standard for SE Technik and Sport models, while S Line versions upgrade to a mixture of cloth and leather. Move up to top spec Black Edition trim and unique 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, black styling additions and an upgraded Audi sound system are added to the standard kit list.  

Audi A3 Sportback interior

Audi S3 model details

If you fancy more power, there is of course the Audi S3. Available in two trim levels, S3 bags you lowered sports suspension, sportier progressive steering, an upgraded sound system and heated fine Nappa leather seats.

The S3 Black Edition, meanwhile, adds unique 18-inch alloy wheels, black styling pack, privacy glass and a top-end Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Like the S3, the RS 3 is a model in its own right with its own equipment specification.

The Parkers Verdict

You can't go far wrong with the Audi A3 Sportback. Yes, it doesn't look as good as the three-door A3 Hatchback, but it's more practical and has more room inside. As befitting its premium status, it's expensive to buy, but PCP finance costs are competitive, due to its strong residual values.

It's not the last word in driver's car appeal, but the A3 is a great motorway-demolishing tool and pleasant to drive, which is all you can ask of it. A diesel version needn't be the default option these days, as Audi offers a number of very efficient petrol and hybrid alternatives.

You can't go a lot wrong with the Audi A3 Sportback. Yes, it doesn't look as good as the three-door Hatchback, but it's more practical and has more room inside.

Read the full Audi A3 Sportback review to see if this version suits your lifestyle.

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