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Car trim reviews

Audi A3 Sport

"Audi’s VW Golf-based hatch has a terrific image and huge desirability. The Sport model is sharper to drive than the SE, but can't match a BMW 1 Series."

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One step above SE trim in the A3 range is Sport, and as you would expect, this version gets a sportier look. It costs around £1,200 more than an SE, for which you get 17-inch alloy wheels instead of 16-inch wheels, lower suspension for improved handling, a better stereo, sports seats, aluminium highlights in the cabin, a three-spoke steering wheel and dual-zone climate control.

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Unfortunately, you also get a harder, more uncomfortable suspension with only a slight improvement in the car’s responsiveness in corners. At least the Sport is tolerable on most British roads, unlike the S line, which is even more uncomfortable. The same 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrol engines and the 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesels found in the SE are also available in the Sport, with the diesels being offered with quattro four-wheel-drive. There are three-door and five-door Sportback versions.

Good points

The A3 Sport looks a bit more dramatic than the SE. The suspension is firm, as you’ll realise every time you hit a pothole, but it’s bearable, although there’s not a big improvement in handling in return.The engines are all terrific, delivering plenty of power while using the minimum of fuel, and the quality of the interior trim is unmatched by any rival. Audi’s meticulous image-building ensures the A3 remains hugely desirable, and this keeps resale values strong.

Bad points

If you can’t live with firm suspension, you’re better off sticking with the SE, especially as you’ll be paying a four-figure sum to upgrade to Sport trim.The A3 is quite expensive compared to the Volkswagen Golf it’s based on, and if you want the convenience of five doors you’ll have to pay more to get the A3 Sportback. Space is plentiful inside the cabin, but access to the rear in the three-door can be difficult.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Alarm
  • Tyre pressure sensors
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Curtain airbags
  • Front fog lights
  • Auto climate control
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Front electric windows
  • Single CD player
  • AUX stereo input
  • DAB Radio
  • Stop/Start
  • Sports suspension
  • Part leather seats
  • Sports seats
  • Rear electric windows
  • Bluetooth

Our choice

The 148bhp turbocharged 1.4 TFSI is the best choice. It delivers plenty of power, but with the aid of fuel-saving measures like cylinder deactivation, it's efficient too.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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