How to choose your Audi A3 Sportback
The Audi A3 Sportback has trumpeted its arrival by winning the 2013 What Car? Car of the Year, with the 1.4 TFSI 122 petrol engine as the cherry on the cake. In fact, it's hard to go wrong when picking which version to go for in the A3 range, be it the three-door model or the five-door Sportback. On the standard suspension, the A3 strikes an excellent balance between comfort and control, the cabin is beautifully built and there's plenty of space for four with a good-sized boot. And if you're a brand snob, there's also that Audi badge.
However, which version of the Audi A3 Sportback to choose can depend on your needs. There's also the matter of which trim to go for, and an options list to choose from, so here's our guide to deciding which version best suits your needs.
Which engine should you go for?
The 1.4 TFSI 122 petrol Audi A3 Sportback was the winning engine in our 2013 Car of the Year, and we reckon this is the best all-round engine in the range. Private buyers will especially appreciate the mix of pace and economy (it has an official average of 53.3mpg) and competitively low emissions (123g/km, so annual road tax is £100).
However, there are plenty of other engines worth considering. Company buyers will be drawn by the lower CO2 ratings of the diesels. The 1.6 TDI is the headline-grabber for economy, with a 99g/km and an official average economy of 74.3mpg, but our preferred diesel is the 148bhp 2.0 TDI 150. Its emissions are still an impressive 106g/km, and fuel economy is 68.9mpg. However, it's a touch quicker and this engine is wonderfully quiet.
Which trim should you choose?
As with most of the Audi range, trims are called SE, Sport and S-line.
The SE trim comes with everything that we feel is necessary on a premium hatchback, including Bluetooth, a USB socket, voice control and manual air-conditioning. Sport adds dual-zone climate control, sports seats and sports suspension, while S-line brings a host of styling enhancements, such as larger alloy wheels and a bespoke front bumper plus other sporty details. It also comes with firmer suspension.
We’d stick with the SE. However, if you want the looks of the Sport or S-line, you can order either with the more supple SE suspension. This is a no-cost option and greatly improves the ride.
Which options should you choose?
If you stick with SE trim, there are few options that we feel the A3 needs, but a couple that you might want.
Top of the list is dual-zone climate control, because the SE comes only with manual air-conditioning. The upgrade costs £390.
Another option worth considering is the Technology package, which brings sat-nav, a seven-inch colour display and a touch-sensitive panel on the central controller dial for the system. At £1000 it's not cheap, but it lends a real touch of class to the cabin.
Metallic paint will also help make the most of the A3's looks. It costs £525.
Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TSI 122 SE
Metallic paint (£525)
Dual-zone climate control (£390)
Total price £20,740
What should you pay?
This price isn't what you should pay, however – it's just the manufacturer's official list price. It might be early in the latest A3's life, but there are already discounts available on the list price. For example, What Car?'s Target Price at dealerships is around £700-£800 less than the list price.
Car broker websites are offering even bigger savings,
with Drivethedeal.com currently offering a 1.4 TFSI 122 SE at £1700 below the list price.