Audi A3 SportBack broadens appeal of new A3 range

Audi A3 SportBack
It would seem that buyers of premium brand cars like what Audi are producing these days and Irish buyers are voting with their wallets as more and more choose an Audi over a BMW, Mercedes or Volvo.

It would seem that buyers of premium brand cars like what Audi are producing these days and Irish buyers are voting with their wallets as more and more choose an Audi over a BMW, Mercedes or Volvo.

Road Tested By Hugh Maguire.

So with this in mind I have been road testing the all new Audi A3 Sportback.

The new Sportback is essentially the 5 door hatchback version of the new A3 which was launched last year. But its not just an A3 with two extra doors. Its longer and has better rear legroom as a result and a bigger boot. The arrival of an A3 with 5 doors will no doubt now broaden its appeal.

Audi are not known for changing models very often. Indeed they seem to have quite a long model cycle with most of their cars and that for the buyer can be a good thing as the car you buy is not suddenly the “old” model in 3 years time when its replacement arrives.

Interestingly the current A3 shape was penned by an Irish car designer David Caffrey.

The 5 door Sportback range includes 1.4 TFSI petrol, a 1.8 TFSi petrol, a 1.6 TDi diesel and a 2.0 TDi diesel, as well as a 1.2 TFSi petrol.

Prices for the new Audi A3 Sportback start at €29,300 for the 1.4 TFSi petrol

First Impressions.

As always with Audi the styling is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but it works with that distinctive Audi family face with deep set front grille and LED daytime running lights. It certainly looks a premium product and has a very appealing style in an understated sort of way.

Behind The Wheel.

The all new cabin looks and feels very good indeed. The quality of everything immediately impresses. It is so good you could be sitting in an A6 or A8, Audi did not cut corners where quality is concerned unlike some rivals whose small cars do not feel up to the quality of their larger stablemates.

Specification is up in the new cars with enhancements such as new generation Bluetooth, a driver information system, a retractable screen for audio (and optional sat nav functions where fitted), 16 inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, a leather multifunction steering wheel, and the usual electric windows, mirrors and so forth. Safety is to the fore as well with a host of passive and active safety features a fact recognised by the new A3 being recently awarded a full 5 Star Euro NCAP crash test award.

Audi have also simplified the specification upgrades. For example pay €1,000 more on the base model and you add interior lighting pack, front centre armrest, cruise control, park assist, fog lights, Audi music interface, colour driver info system, half leather upholstery, and heated mirrors. I can see many opting for this pack as it offers tremendous value.

Performance.

My test car was powered by the punchy 2.0 litre TDi diesel which is mated to a lovely 6-speed gearbox.

I found overall performance to be excellent. This a a refined and powerful diesel, and burned just 6.2 litres of diesel per 100km over my road test while its super low emissions means it is also inexpensive to tax.

Road Behaviour.

The new A3 Sportback feels like a much larger car around you than its external dimensions would suggest. It handles very well and rides our roads with an impressive degree of comfort and refinement. In fact one of the big things that impressed me most was really just how quiet and refined the new A3 Sportback proved to be. Its roomy enough inside for four adults and has a decent boot which is slightly larger than in the outgoing model. Accomadation is good with easy access to the rear via the two wide opening rear doors.

Verdict.

The new Audi A3 has truly evolved into an excellent premium quality compact hatchback.

It does cost a little more than a similarly sized VW Golf, Volvo V40 or Ford Focus, but you are getting a beautifully crafted car with a good specification, that also proves rewarding to drive.

The new A3 Sportback will win you over with the depth of its quality, and that really is what sets it apart from rivals. It feels just as good as an Audi A6 yet costs so much less.

Entry to the diesel range starts at €29,650 for the 1.6 TDI. The 2.0 Tdi costs €31,450.