Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • 10.1-inch touchscreen as standard
  • All versions get digital instrument display
  • Class-leading design and material quality

The cabin features that rewarding Audi quality - everything feels really well made and you can tell you’re in something a cut above more mundane hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus. The choice of materials and precision of surfaces is mostly top-notch.

There are a couple of disappointing oversights, though. The attractive slab of metallic material in front of the front passenger seat is in fact hollow-feeling cheap plastic, and the speaker grilles are similarly scratchy and nasty - unfortunately, they're right where your hand rests if you're opening the door. Shame, as the rest of the door card is covered in high-quality material.

In the front of the cabin, the new A3 range is roomy and even the tallest drivers will quickly get comfortable.

Every model now has a generous 10.25-inch touchscreen, which is a nice detail; too often base cars make do without, but Audi is now baking lots of features into its digital displays. The infotainment system is bang-up-to-date and will even remember the profiles of up to six drivers, so the car will store your preferred sat-nav destinations, seat position and even air-con preferences. Buyers can also choose to upgrade to a larger 12.3-inch screen.

Overall, the A3's cabin not quite as impressive looking as the A-Class inside, perhaps, but easily trumps the 1 Series, and is by far one of the best interiors that Audi has turned out for some time. Multiple storage spaces add to the practical nature of the design.

Audi A3 Sportback digital instrumentation

All models feature a 10.1-inch touchscreen display that runs Audi’s latest infotainment system and includes smartphone mirroring for Android and Apple devices. There are USB-A and USB-C connections too, along with the option of a wireless charging pad.

If you like the sound of a posher hatchback, the new Audi A3 Sportback is definitely worth considering. Parkers has pored all over the new car and been impressed by its build quality, its features and the practical touches that litter the cabin.

S3 adds smarter looking seats

Quilted leather sports seats grip well and we found them comfy even on long journeys. Two quite tall passengers will fit in the back seats, but those moulded, one-piece front seats standard in the sporty S3 mean they’ll find it hard to see out, owing to the integrated headrests blocking rear passengers’ view. There’s also a pronounced transmission tunnel taking drive to the back wheels and this restricts foot space for a middle-seat passenger on the rear bench.

How comfortable is the Audi A3 Sportback?

  • Optional adaptive suspension worth considering
  • Improved sound insulation and acoustic glass reduce noise
  • Good amounts of adjustability

With so much adjustability from the driver’s seat there’s plenty of comfort to be found once you have it set up to your liking. The seats are quite supportive and can be specified with heating.

There’s a good amount of comfort from the standard suspension, with plenty of composure from the chassis in bends and over broken surfaces. A benefit of choosing one of the more powerful engines is that they come with a more advanced multi-link rear suspension setup. The sportier S Line specification, meanwhile, comes with a 15mm ride height reduction due to a different suspension setup. That means a lower centre of gravity for even more capability in fast corners.

If you fancy even more comfort, go for the adaptive suspension, as it provides a broader spectrum of variance between comfort for bump absorption and firmness during more enthusiastic driving. It also brings the ride height down by 10mm over the standard setup. The entire A3 range gets acoustically optimised windscreens that help to reduce wind noise, and better improved sound insulation over the previous A3 keeps road roar to a minimum.

S3 offers a broad spread of talents

Choosing the S3 spec means you get a clever new suspension system with adaptive dampers - this is a comfy car to drive or be driven in. That all sounds rather complicated, but it means you can adjust the chassis for a greater bias to comfort or sportiness - by making the dampers and springs softer or firmer at the push of a button.

Simply press the Audi Drive Select switch on the dashboard to select your preferred choice and the car does everything else for you. In Comfort mode, it serves up a softer ride which soaks up the worst lumps and bumps you’ll find on a typical British road. Click into Dynamic, and everything firms up - you’ll be jiggled more, but the car handles in a more sport as you carve along your favourite back roads.