The Audi A3 has been a staple in the Audi range since it's launch in 1996. Now in its fourth generation it continues to be one of the most popular models available on the market. For fans of previous generations you'll be delighted to know that Audi have kept the award winning formula of the Audi A3 Sportback and simply given it a refresh.
Our Audi A3 review will guide you through the fourth generation model to help you decide which specification will be the best for you and your needs.
The current Audi A3 design was unveiled in 2020 with its design heavily inspired by Lamborghini, including the LED headlights and taillights with the option of matrix and laser LED headlights.
It's built on the MQB evo platform from the Volkswagen Group that other Audi models, such as the Q2 and the TT, and others from within the VW Group such as the SEAT Leon and the VW Golf. When compared with the previous generation of Audi A3 it's 3 centimetres longer and wider although the actual wheelbase is the same length.
The small detail choices are what really sets the Audi A3 apart from tis rivals. An acoustic windscreen keeps noise reduced on motorways, certain trim levels offer sport suspension, and the new infotainment system continues to deliver the premium feel of an Audi.
The other big design change from previous models is the discontinuation of the three door model to provide only a five door Audi A3 sportback. This makes it much more accessible for families, easier to access the rear seats and adjust them for boot space, and utilise the rear seats for a full car of passengers.
The current Audi A3 has had an upgrade from its previous generation. Audi has ditched the infotainment screen that stood atop the dashboard in place of the integrated 10.1 touchscreen. It's angled slightly towards the driver for ease of use and pulls the cabin together much better than the previous system.
In particular it works in tandem with the 10.25 virtual cockpit that the driver uses by displaying information about media and built in sat nav. This display directly in front of the driver's eyeline makes it much easier to use the leisure functions of the A3 without losing focus from the road ahead.
From the S Line onwards you're treated to sports seats which are more ergonomic and designed to give you fuller support as you drive. All seats come with manual adjustment which is matched with a height and reach adjustable steering column to really tailor the car to your needs.
Further up the trim lines you can also expect leather trimmed seats, electrically adjustable lumbar support, and heating functionality to really enhance your experience within this superb interior.
The Audi A3 is a fairly spacious five door sportback model. Those in the front seats will have 1028mm of headroom whilst those in the back will have 955mm. Other similar sized cars, such as the Volkswagen Golf or the Mercedes A Class have a few millimetres variation so the A3 is comparable.
There's not a huge amount of additional storage space in the rear seats, you can add more by adding on the optional Storage Pack. This adds map pockets, rear cupholders, and a 12 volt socket, which isn't a lot but definitely adds some practicality for rear seat passengers.
The Audi A3 has 380 litres of boot space with all five seats in use, only 1 litre less than the Volkswagen Golf but 25 litres more than the Mercedes A Class. Folding the rear seats down opens the space up to a full 1200 litres, or you can configure them in a way that suits you with a 60:40 split in the Technik trim or 40:20:40 in all other models.
There are three engines available for the Audi A3: 30 TFSI, 35 TFSI, and 35 TDI. Whilst there is still a diesel engine, it's likely that it will be phased out over the next few years. A separate plug in hybrid model, the Audi A3 Sportback TFSI e is also available.
The entry engine for the Audi A3 is the 30 TFSI, a 1.0 litre with a six speed manual gearbox and 110PS. At an additional cost it is also available with automatic transmission, marketed as S Tronic by Audi. You can expect good fuel economy from this, with the combined mpg coming out at 51.4 with CO2 emissions of just 125 g/km.
The larger and more power petrol engine is the 35 TFSI. This is a 1.5 litre 150PS engine that is available as either a six speed petrol manual or automatic gearbox. It falls to the bottom of the group in terms of economy with a combined mpg of 50.4 and CO2 emissions of128g/km, making it the highest of the options available,
As you would probably expect, the best fuel economy comes from the 35 TDI, a 2.0 litre diesel engine with an output of 150PS. It's combined mpg is 61.4, much higher than its petrol counterparts, and has CO2 emissions of 119g/km. Obviously opting for an Audi from the diesel range does mean that there will be more fine particles released which includes NOx and NO2. This is only available as a six speed automatic gearbox.
If you're looking for a greener option with plug in hybrid power then the Audi A3 Sportback TFSI e will be the correct model choice for you.
The entry level Technik has 16 inch alloy wheels, automatic start-stop system, LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, matt black radiator grille and side air inlets, electrically adjustable and folding heated door mirrors, windscreen in acoustic glass, black cloth interior, manually adjustable front seats, 3 spoke multifunction leather steering wheel, height and reach adjustable steering column, front and rear floormats, cruise control, rear parking sensors, and i-size child fixtures in the outer rear seats.
In terms of technology, the Audi A3 is well equipped. The centre console houses a 10.1 touch screen for the infotainment system with integrated sat nav, Audi Connect with Amazon Alexa integration, and Audi Smartphone Interface which allows you to take advantage of Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
This is paired with Audi Virtual Cockpit, a fully digital 10.25 inch interface behind the steering wheel for the driver. It displays information such as speed, media, fuel economy, and navigation. The view button allows you to change the size of the instrument clusters and provides additional functions over a traditional display.
Upgrading to the Sport trim level gives 17 inch alloy wheels, front grille and side air inlets in black with a chrome trim, rear diffuser and grills in matt black, aluminium window trims, seats in twin leather, dual zone climate control, and aluminium interior trims.
The S Line trim offers 18 inch alloy wheels, sport suspension, LED rear lights, dynamic indicators, dynamic headlights, front sport seats in a leather and artificial leather mix with S line emblems and contrast stitching, illuminated vanity mirrors, black cloth headlining, illuminated door sills with the S logo, and stainless steel pedals.
It also has S Line styling which gives you a front radiator grille in black with a chrome frame, front and rear side air inlets in black with a grey frame, a front spoiler blade, front implied air inlet slit above the bonnet, S line emblems on the front wings, chrome tail pipes, a rear diffuser and grill in black, S roof spoiler, S line bumpers, and privacy glass on the rear windows.
The top Edition 1 trim gives 19 inch alloy wheels, sport suspension, Audi matrix LED headlights, sports seats in Dinamica microfibre and an artificial leather mix, electrically adjustable front seats with a memory function for the driver's seat, electric 4 way lumbar support for the front seats, heated front seats, a flat-bottomed leather sport steering wheel, and Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus. This upgrades the digital display to 12.3 inches with full HD resolution, and a new dynamic instrument display.
Finally, the Edition 1 also offers a black styling pack as part of the trim level. This gives black accents in the front grille, frame, window trims, front and rear bumpers, and air inlets, black door mirrors, and a memory feature for the door mirrors.
The Audi A3 Sportback has a five star safety rating from Euro NCAP which places it on par with similar sized models such as the Volkswagen Golf, the Ford Focus, or the Mercedes A Class. It outperforms the Kia Stonic with standard equipment and the Vauxhall Astra.
This excellent rating comes from a strong set of safety equipment in the standard setup. All the models in the Audi A3 Sportback range will have front side airbags and a head airbag system which has front side airbags integrated into the seat backrests, electronic stability control with ABS, ASR, and EDL, light and rain sensors, seat belt monitoring, collision avoidance assistance, lane departure warning, ill-hold assist, and Audi pre sense.
Your Audi A3 Sportback will also come with a 3 year or 60,000 mile manufacturing warranty to cover any issues that are deemed manufacturing faults. You can also then choose to extend this further to cover you for as much as five years or 90,000 miles to put your mind at ease.
The Audi A3 Sportback is well priced as a premium car, especially when compared to similar models.
The entry level Technik road retail price starts at £25,140 which is £7110 cheaper than an entry level Mercedes A Class and £470 cheaper than an entry level VW Golf. Stepping up to the Sport costs £26,540 and S Line models start at £28,440. The only model to break the £30,000 threshold is the Edition 1 which starts at £33,255.
Opting to upgrade your engine, switch to an automatic transmission, or adding additional equipment to your Audi A3 Sportback then you'll see these initials prices rise further.
The Audi A3 is a great offering in the Audi range thanks to it's great technical equipment and recognisable Audi design.
It's contemporary interior and integrated technology, as well as there now being an option for a plug in hybrid model with the Audi A3 TSFI e, keeps it at the top of recommendation lists and ever popular with regular Audi buyers.