The Audi A3 is one of the best premium hatchbacks on the market. Its smart, understated design and superior build quality add desirability and help improve resale values. It's offered in three-door hatchback, five-door Sportback, saloon, cabriolet and sportier S bodystyles. There's a wide choice of engines, plus manual and automatic gearboxes - all of which are tough and reliable.
- Stylish, quality cabin
- Comfortable ride
- Wide range of efficient engines
- BMW 1 Series is better to drive
- Tight in the back
- Looks too similar to other cars from Audi
The latest Audi A3 is a more stylish, economical and practical version of the popular premium hatch and has moved the game on to compete with the current BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class. It weighs less, less than its predecessor, yet provides more interior space. The inside has received a major overhaul, too, with higher quality materials and a new pop-up screen that slides neatly into the dash. Buyers can choose from a range of TFSI petrol and TDI diesel engines, including a 1.6 TDI that is capable of 74mpg and 99g/km, as well the usual SE, Sport and S line equipment levels. There's a range-topping S3 hot hatchback version, too, which will do 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds.
- High quality interior
- Massive boot
- Very comfortable
- Less stylish than three-door A3
- BMW 1 Series is more fun to drive
- Quite expensive
The Audi A3 Sportback is, in simplest terms, a five-door version of the A3. Look a little bit closer, however, and you'll realise that it's actually much more than that. Audi has changed the shape of the body to create extra headroom, stretched the distance between the front and rear wheels to allow more legroom and added roof rails as standard to boost practicality. The result is a car that's just as luxurious and good to drive as the three-door but with the kind of family friendly appeal that the standard A3 is missing.
- Economical engines
- High quality interior
- Very stylish
- Ride is a little firm
- Not as fun to drive as a BMW 1 Series
- Boot access not as good as the hatchback
The Audi A3 saloon sits alongside the three-door hatchback and five door Sportback hatchback models in the A3 range, offering saloon car looks combined with the price and practicality of a smaller car. There's more room inside than its hatchback siblings and it comes with a range of economical petrol and diesel engines.
- Excellent interior
- Frugal diesel engines
- Quick folding roof
- High price-tag
- BMW 1-Series is more fun
- Cramped rear seats
At this price, drop tops don’t come any more desirable than the A3 Cabriolet. It's a style seeker's dream, with a snug-fitting, electrically-operated canvas top, and a neatly judged design. It's not the most rewarding car to drive – there is too much body shake over rough roads – but it does offer decent value for money and you won’t lose as much as some rivals when you come to sell it on. Rear visibility is poor and it's not terribly practical, either, with a tiny boot and small rear seats.