THE NEW Audi A3 Sportback is longer and more athletic than ever.

The design with the three side windows is crisp and concentrated. The unique element at the front of the car is the distinctive, stone grey single-frame grille with its angled upper corners. The lower edges of the headlights taper off and on S line models they are equipped with xenon  headlights and LED daytime running lights.

At the back, the split rear lights underscore the width of the Sportback. The adaptive brake light, which pulses at high frequency during hard braking, is stock. A razor-sharp crease sets off the diffuser and, depending on the engine, the exhaust system which projects from it ends in one or two tailpipes on the left side of the motor.

The Audi A3 Sportback is quiet, thanks to components such as a noise-insulating windscreen that helps to mute interior noise levels. The cabin is marked by a clean and light design with an arch running below the windscreen, reminiscent of larger Audi models. The orderly ergonomics are a classic Audi strength, and are characterised by a multi-media operating system with its power-retractable monitor. Its terminal is located on the console of the centre tunnel, which is flanked by high knee pads. A button for the electro-mechanical parking brake replaces the handbrake lever – another adoption from the bigger Audis.

In the driver’s seat you sit behind an elegant steering wheel which, depending on the version of car, has three or four spokes, a flat-bottomed rim, multifunction buttons and shift paddles. The sizeable dial instruments can be easily read and the recently developed front seats offer superior support. Thanks to a 58 millimetre increase in wheelbase length, the A3 Sportback has good rear seat space too, with easy access for three adults. It also offers more head room than its precursor.

SE and Sport models, come with cloth seats while S line versions upgrade to a mixture of Biathlon cloth and leather. Equipment levels mirror the three-door A3 across the three SE, Sport and S line specification levels, but the more family-oriented Sportback also adds rear electric windows and child locks in each case. Highlights common to all include alloy wheels, air conditioning, Audi Music Interface iPod connection, a Driver Information System, a Bluetooth mobile phone interface with voice control and a multi-function steering wheel.

The boot offers 380 litres of space in the basic configuration – 10 litres more than its predecessor. This expands to 1,220 litres with the seats folded. The load floor is flat and the opening between the wheel wells measures 100 centimetres. The base can be inserted on two levels, and the supports on which it rests are marked with small LED lights. The rear seat can be folded down in a 60:40 split or as a whole. Handy hooks for bags and tie-down rings are also standard.

Audi is offering the new A3 Sportback with a choice of TDI and TFSI engines. They combine multiple efficiency technologies – direct injection, turbocharging, innovative thermal management and a start-stop system. Fuel consumption has been reduced on average by around 10 per cent compared with the previous model.The newly developed 2.0 TDI 150PS version  can reach 62mph from rest in 8.4 seconds and continues to a top speed of 133mph. Combined fuel economy is 67.3mpg, corresponding to CO2 emissions of 108 g/km. The 1.4 TFSI accelerates from zero to 62mph in 9.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 126mph. Combined economy is 53.3mpg, which corresponds to 123 grams of CO2/km.

The majority of engines in the new Audi A3 Sportback are mated to a smooth manual six-speed gearbox whilst steering is aided by sensitive and highly efficient electro-mechanical power steering. Strong brakes provide the stopping power and electronic stabilisation control gadgetry includes electronic limited slip differential, which helps you when cornering. If a wheel on one of the axles spins, the electronic limited slip differential brakes it slightly, causing the car to turn slightly into the corner. Reassuring stuff.

The new Audi A3 Sportback is a quality piece of kit, no matter which version you choose. It’s available now priced from 19,825 on the road.


Follow the links below to read published reviews:

Quay Pages – June 2013

Fine City Magazine, May 2013


By Motoring Editor Tim Barnes-Clay – Tweet him @carwriteups and visit

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