Audi A3 Sport review

The Audi A3 Sport sits in the middle of the range, between SE and S-Line trims

Audi A3 front cornering
Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The A3 Sport has a class-leading interior and plenty of equipment. There's a comprehensive range of refined engines available and the A3 is nice to drive - with strong cornering ability, good steering feel and a slick gearbox. Avoid the firmer suspension and you'll be getting a well-rounded car.

The Audi A3 has a fairly simple range, consisting of the SE, Sport and S-Line trim levels. The Sport sits bang in the middle above the entry-level SE offering a more dynamic look for less than you’d pay for an S-Line. The usual Audi line-up of TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines are offered at prices starting from under £20,000.

In terms of looks, there is little to differentiate the Sport from the SE, apart from a mildly different front apron, integrated fog lamps and pieces of chrome brightwork around the fog lights and windows. There are 17-inch alloys as standard, with 18-inch wheels available as an option.

On the inside, it’s the typical A3 setup, with great attention to detail and class-leading quality. There’s a standard 5.8-inch screen, which folds neatly away into the dash – controlled via the central MMI system on the centre console. Dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and full smartphone connectivity are standard, and the aluminum inlays and sports seats help contribute to the high-end interior.

Audi A3 rear tracking

The A3 Sport is available in all bodystyles of the A3, that means 3-door hatchback, 5-door SportbackCabriolet and Saloon. There should be an engine for everyone, with the petrol range consisting of a 1.2-litre TFSI with 108bhp, a 1.4 TFSI, in either 120bhp or 138bhp forms, and a 1.8 TFSI with 178bhp.

Diesel-wise, there’s a 1.6 TDI with 103bhp, and two 2.0-litre TDI units – one with 148bhp and the other with 181bhp. Higher-powered engines are available with Quattro four-wheel drive and a six-speed S Tronic automatic gearbox as an option.

Prices for the A3 Sport models kick off at just under £20,000 for the 1.2 TFSI Sport, with the range topping out at just under £25,000 for a 2.0 TDI with 181bhp in 3-door hatch form.

Audi A3 interior

On the road, the A3 Sport has a firmer setup than the SE, thanks to sports suspension – fortunately this can be deselected to avoid an overly firm ride. The Sport also features Audi Drive Select, which alters driving characteristics in one of three modes – comfort, auto or dynamic.

The driving experience in the A3 is spec-sensitive, so to ensure the best setup possible, it’s advisable to steer clear of larger wheels and sports suspension. In standard setup, the A3 is much less jittery and susceptible to crashing into ruts and potholes. 

The A3 corners confidently, has good steering feel and a slick manual gearchange. When you want a more serene drive, the A3 is impressively refined and all the engines – taken straight from the VW Group stable – are strong and efficient.

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