Audi A3 Sportback hatchback (2004-2012)
- Excellent build quality throughout
- Cabin comfort
- Spacious interior
- Pricey compared to rivals
- Unexciting to drive
- Cramped in back
"The Audi A3 Sportback is a desirable five-door model that adds a dose of practicality to Audi's compact hatchback range."
The five-door Audi A3 Sportback has a longer wheelbase than the three-door A3 hatch, and it's the most spacious and practical member of the A3 family. It's very comfortable and quiet at motorway cruising speeds, but crucially, it still offers Audi's sporting image – particularly in S line trim. Like the three-door A3, it's as well built as every other car to roll off the company's production lines, so quality is first-rate. A new A3 was revealed earlier this year, so expect big dealer discounts on this outgoing version.
MPG, running costs & CO2
1.6 TDI diesels manage 68.9mpg
We’d recommend that you pick a diesel engine for the best running costs. The 1.6 TDI diesel versions manage an impressive 68.9mpg on average, and cost only £35 a year in road tax. If you’re after more performance, it's worth bearing in mind that even some of the more powerful 2.0 TDI diesels fall into this low tax bracket.
Interior & comfort
The A3 Sportback glides over bumps
The A3 Sportback is longer than the three-door model, sothere's more room inside. It's more comfortable on the move, too. The supple suspension ensures it glides over bumps and potholes. What's more, the seats are supportive and there's plenty of adjustment, so finding a suitable driving position is easy. However, the small windows and dark cabin materials mean passengers in the back can feel a bit claustrophobic.
Practicality & boot space
Boot space is bigger than in three-door A3
There's 370 litres of boot space, compared to 350 litres in the three-door A3. Fold down the split-fold rear seats, and you’re left with a stepped area, which isn’t so useful for loading in bulky items. The turning circle is impressive though, which makes parking less of a chore.
Reliability & safety
Mechanical parts are tried and tested
You pay extra for an A3 Sportback compared to a VW Golf, for example, but in this case, the extra investmentis worth it. Audi build quality is always excellent, and the Sportback is no exception. The fit, finish and reliability are second to none. What's more, all the engines are familiar from other cars in the Volkswagen Group (of which Audi is a member), so parts are widely available and the mechanicals are tried and tested across a wide range of cars – including the Volkswagen Golf and SEAT Leon family hatchbacks.
Engines, drive & performance
Choose the TFSI petrol engine for best performance
Whether you are out on the motorway or on a bumpy back road, the A3 Sportback is comfortable. Even so, some of the smaller engines – like the 1.6-litre petrol version – can become quite noisy at speed. The 1.4 TFSI petrol engine is a better bet – it's smaller, but as it has a supercharger and a turbocharger, it has more power and is more frugal, too. Audi's optional DSG automated manual box offers slick changes and extra economy.
Price, value for money & options
Audi’s premium image is a cut above
The A3 costs significantly more than its VW Group sister models, including the VW Golf and Skoda Octavia. But Audi's premium image and attention to luxury detailing means that the A3 really is a cut above. What's more, its family-oriented design means it has incredibly strong resale values, so you’ll get more of your money back when you come to sell the car.
What the others say
Inside, it's a similar story, but what the A3 lacks in outright visual flair, it more than makes up for in quality. Not many cars feel as solid in any class.
Quality feel from behind the wheel, more practical and spacious than the standard A3, impressive choice of engines including excellent TFSI turbocharged petrols. Standard equipment on entry-level models not especially generous.
It's not easy to justify the A3's high prices when a Golf with the same engine costs a lot less, but few rivals can match the A3 for cabin quality, desirability and resale values. It's a fine all-rounder.
The A3 has some great engines, drives extremely well and is admirably practical. With it's new deep grille its an imposing sight too. You won't be disappointed.
Last updated: 28 Jun 2013