Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI

14 Nov, 2012 9:45am Luke Madden

The Audi A3 Sportback adds a dose of practicality to the A3 line-up, but is it worth the extra £620?

Verdict

5
The A3 Sportback really is a lot more than just a five-door version of the A3. The extra length in the wheelbase has freed up more space for rear passengers and the boot is huge, too. Thankfully, it’s just as luxurious and grown-up as the standard A3, too, and it even feels more comfortable over bumps. If you can sacrifice the extra £620 and the added style of the three-door then do, because the Sportback is one of the most rounded and capable family cars on sale.

The Audi A3 Sportback has always been a bit more than just a five-door A3, featuring bespoke styling and added practicality. But the new Sportback is more different than ever.

For the first time, Audi has extended the wheelbase of the Sportback to make it 35mm longer than the three-door A3 and 58mm longer than the old A3 Sportback. That frees up a whole lot more space in the rear seats and increases the size of the boot, too.

While the extra length in the wheelbase is difficult to spot from the outside, there are a few key Sportback giveaways. Most obvious is the rear set of doors but you can also tell the two models apart by the third rear window, the standard fit roof rails and the rear spoiler.

Step in to the back seats and you’ll be even more aware of the Sportback’s differences. Even for someone over six feet tall there was plenty of leg and headroom, and that’s sitting behind a six-footer driving position, too.

Space in the boot is up from 350 litres in the three-door to 380 litres, while folding the seats down boosts that up to 1220 litres. That's more than what’s on offer in the Volvo V40, a five-door BMW 1 Series and the Mercedes A-Class.

Our car was powered by a 1.6-litre TDI engine with 104bhp, and the good news is it feels just as smooth, refined and punchy as in the three-door. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 10.9 seconds but more impressive than that are the CO2 emissions of just 99g/km and fuel economy of 74.3mpg.

Out on the road the A3 Sportback feels almost exactly like the three-door, but it is better in one particular area. While the three-door’s standard suspension feels firm, the Sportback’s was far better at tackling bumpy, flowing roads. Models with Sport or S-line suspension may still be a bit too stiff but we didn’t get the chance to try any.

There’s no need to opt for it, either, because the Sportback handles well on its standard springs. There’s a bit of body roll through the bends but the chassis always feels like it has loads of grip. This car only weighs as much as the first-generation five-door A3, so it feels quite agile, too.

The only criticisms you might be able to level at the Sportback is that it doesn’t look quite as good as the three-door A3, and it does cost £620 more. But, it is a far more family-friendly proposition than the three-door and with its fantastic blend of talents, it can claim to be one of the best all-round models Audi sells.

Disqus - noscript

Before the blind followers have a go I have had 2 audi A3 Mk1 good Mk2 not so felt wooden with square wheels and the image has gone down the pan with the Russian doll approach to styling and Jimmy Hill grill. The new 3 door looks like the old one and the sportback looks very upright and dull VW group already do this in the form of the golf. Any way with no regrets off to pick up my new Volvo V40 !
Buyers beware if the march of ther VW group goes on some day there will be little choice other than blan functionality

Looks OK, though I'll be pleased when (if) Audi decides to leave the giant-jaw look and return to the calmer and neater nose of earlier versions.

Alfa Giulietta all the way!!!

PHOTOCOPY BLAND NOT A NEW CAR AT ALL JUST A FEW NEW BITS ON IT.

The A3 sport is a smart car for those who want to make a smart choice. Awesome quality car. I ve owned Audi's since 2003 after my Mercedes packed up... I've never looked anywhere else. I ve found Audis reliable, easy to drive and the build quality is fantastic.

Too many trolls on AE saying 'VW this and that'-thats all rubbish. It might be part of the VW group but so is Bugatti, Bentley, and Lamborghini. Audi has developed and risen so much in the past 5 years...sales speak volumes.

"I ve found Audis reliable, easy to drive and the build quality is fantastic"
Why not save your self a huge amount of money and buy a Skoda or a Seat as it sounds like you want a white good not a car with character and ability ! Ps my last car was a Mazda 6 which was fantastic after my A3 2.0TDI se with its cement mixer engine and terrible suspension. The blind followers have obviously spoken !
Ps my new Volvo V40 is fantastic dont let habit be your guide !

@CaptS unfortunately my experience with my A4 Avant was awful, it developed an ignition problem that the dealership never managed to fix in the 4 yrs I had the car. I thought this was a one off until my boss' 2 month old A4 started throwing up all manner of dashboard error messages this week. Just because Audis marketing team do a good job of communicating quality it doesn't mean you get a reliable car.

Absolute crap

Key specs

  • Price: £20,755
  • Engine: 1.6-litre turbodiesel, 4-cyl
  • Power: 104bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 10.9 seconds
  • Top speed: 121mph
  • Economy: 74.3mpg
  • CO2: 99g/km
  • Equipment: Front and rear electric windows, 7-inch screen, air-con, cruise control
  • On sale: May 2013
AEX 1,338
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