Audi A3

The Audi A3 shares its basic components with the Volkswagen Golf, but with a little bit of Audi flair and luxury thrown in for good measure. It majors on comfort and ease of driving, with plenty of hi-tech options and a really high- quality interior among its selling points. Okay, the looks may be a little bit safe, but at least it's not as controversial as the Mercedes A-Class or the BMW 1 Series, with which it competes. As well as the standard A3, which is a three-door hatchback, there's also the five-door Audi A3 Sportback, Audi A3 saloon and Audi A3 cabriolet versions, too.

Audi A3 hatchback

£18,615 - £32,460
3 Doors
4 / 5
  • Great engines
  • Fantastic interior
  • Quiet on the motorway
  • High list prices
  • Rear seats are tight
  • BMW 1 Series is more fun to drive

The Audi A3 is a three-door-only hatchback for those who want their family motor to have a little more luxury and technology than the usual Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus or VW Golf. The engines are seriously impressive, with a clever 1.4-litre petrol being the pick of the bunch. It has clever technology to give diesel-like fuel economy without the roughness that you normally get with a diesel. The interior is a real highlight, too, with a very stylish design, plenty of high-quality materials and technology such as on-board wi-fi.

Audi A3 Sportback hatchback

£19,235 - £35,340
5 Doors
4.2 / 5
  • Additional space over hatchback
  • Powerful yet economical engines
  • Impressive interior quality
  • Some high prices
  • S line suspension too firm
  • Some versions have less boot space

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.

Audi A3 saloon

£23,335 - £35,060
4 Doors
4 / 5
  • Impressive economy
  • Cabin quality
  • Stylish design
  • Ride can be firm
  • BMW 1 Series handles better
  • Limited boot access

The Audi A3 saloon has joined hatchback, Sportback and cabriolet models, 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.

Audi A3 Cabriolet

£26,125 - £39,245
2 Doors
4.4 / 5
  • Fast folding roof
  • Economical engines
  • More space than old model
  • 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 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 much fun to drive as a BMW 1 Series.

Audi RS3 Sportback hatchback

5 Doors
4 / 5
  • Powerful engine
  • Great-sounding exhaust
  • Quite practical
  • Expensive
  • No manual gearbox
  • Not very nimble in fast corners

The Audi RS3 Sportback is based on the standard Audi A3 but it has a hugely powerful 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine that produces 362bhp and an aggressive but understated bodykit. Despite the performance on offer, the car is still very practical and has a beautiful, high-quality interior. The car is seriously quick from point to point, but some purists will still find it a little too safe and conservative when driven quickly.