Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI
The Audi A3 Sportback adds a dose of practicality to the A3 line-up, but is it worth the extra £620?
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.
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.
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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.