The Audi A3 is an upmarket hatchback, with a subtle and classy design and an exceptionally attractive and well-finished cabin. It goes head-to-head with the BMW 1 Series and Lexus CT200h and is available in three-door hatchback, five-door Sportback, saloon and cabriolet bodystyles. A wide range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines can be fitted, with manual and automatic gearboxes.
- 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.
- Impressive economy
- Cabin quality
- Stylish design
- Ride can be firm
- BMW 1 Series handles better
- Limited boot access
The Audi A3 saloon has now joined the hatchback and cabriolet, offering a roomy cabin and sharp looks as well as a boot 60-litres larger than you’ll find in the hatchback. Available in Sport, S line and S3 trim levels only, it also benefits from Audi's best petrol and diesel engines as well as the option of grip-enhancing quattro four-wheel drive and an excellent S tronic automatic gearbox.
- Economical engines
- More space than the old model
- Quick folding roof
- Less fun than a BMW 1 Series
- Cramped rear seats
- Expensive to buy
The Audi A3 Cabriolet has a quick folding roof that can be operated at speeds of up to 31mph. With the roof up, the interior is quiet, while the trim quality is a match for anything at the price. The new Cabriolet is bigger than the car it replaces and now offers a larger boot. However, the Audi still isn’t as fun to drive as the BMW 1 Series.