Should you buy an Audi A3?
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 in cash terms, 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 - the 35 TFSI being a particularly competent all-rounder.
If you want the A3 with the lowest running costs (at least on paper), the 30 TDI will be the most appealing thanks to impressive claimed fuel economy figures of well over 60mpg. In reality, you might be able to get close to these figures with one of the petrols – which will also be cheaper to buy in the first place – so think about what your priorities are before you buy. If you’re a company car driver, the 1.0 30 TFSI offers the lowest BIK costs in SE Technik trim. If you do need more punch than that, the 1.5-litre 35 TFSI isn’t too far behind in the same trim.
And if it’s the other end of the performance scale you’re interested in – and have the budget for it – you won’t be disappointed by the RS 3. With a howling engine, relentless acceleration and the assured footing of Quattro all-wheel drive, it makes an excellent straight-line, all-weather performance car that you can still take the family out in.
That's the beauty of the A3 range - you can really have whatever you want, but with few compromises. All models are high-quality, available with plenty of modern technology and there's a strong air of desirability about it in any specification. But with impressive rivals in the form of the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class, not to mention a raft of popular crossovers and SUVs, the A3 doesn't have it completely sewn up.