Audi A3 Sportback review

We drove the fourth-generation A3 Sportback on Irish roads

Pros: Sharp looks, fun to drive, high-quality technology

Cons: Not as cheap as rivals, interior space

Rivals: Mercedes-Benz A-Class, BMW 1 Series, Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon, Mazda3, Ford Focus

The eagerly anticipated new Audi A3 Sportback has arrived at Audi dealerships nationwide. We drove the fourth-generation A3 Sportback on Irish roads to see what updates have been made to Audi’s popular hatchback.

On the outside, the A3 Sportback looks seriously impressive. Audi has managed to keep the familiar profile of the A3 we all know and love and added bold looking, modern detailing throughout the exterior. Although it looked elegant, Audi has decided that the three-door A3 model just wasn’t practical enough. Therefore, the new A3 is only available with five-doors.

At the front, you notice the larger ventilation areas and horizontal slats between the top of the grille and the bonnet. The new hexagonal radiator grille is flanked by Audi’s unique looking LED headlights which give the A3 Sportback a powerful profile as you approach from the front.

Stepping inside the cabin of the new A3 is where you get a real sense of Audi’s premium comfort and impressive driver-focused design. The S-line leather sport seats in our test car were extremely comfortable with a diamond quilting effect all the way up the back to the headrests.

All versions of the A3 Sportback come with a 10.1-inch touchscreen, which is now integrated into the dash instead of mounted on top. This gives the dash of the A3 a much more polished look and allows the driver a better view of the road. The system is extremely easy to use and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via USB.  

In the rear, there is 3mm more elbow room thanks to the increase in the width of the car. Like most hatchbacks, the middle seat is a squeeze and legroom is eaten by the high floor tunnel. But would fit three children easily enough. The boot capacity of the A3 remains the same as in the previous model, at 380 litres.

So, what’s it like to drive? As with its predecessor, the new A3 Sportback proves to be as responsive as ever.  It offers precise, crisp steering and feels extremely agile taking tight corners. Driver Select modes allow you to switch between five driving profiles via the button in the centre console. There are notable differences between the driving modes, especially in Dynamic, where steering becomes even more responsive.

The 150hp in our 1.5-litre petrol engine felt punchy taking off. It's economical too, achieving between 45 – 50 mpg depending on how you are driving. When driving at normal speeds engine noise and the vibration is minimal, creating a relaxed, quiet environment for the driver.

There are two petrol engines available, a 1.0-litre 116Hp and the 1.5-litre 150Hp we drove. For those seeking Diesel, there is a 1.6-litre 30 TDI 116Hp engine available. There are three trim lines available, the entry-level ‘Attraction’ trim which features LED headlights, digital instrument cluster and 10.1-inch touch display all as standard. The ‘SE’ line features 17-inch alloys and cruise control as standard. And the ‘S Line’ that we drove features leather sport seats, 19-inch alloys, sport suspension and an array of S Line interior and exterior styling elements. Going for the S line trim really gives you much more bang for your buck for little over €4,000 extra.

Pricing for the new A3 Sportback starts at €30,515. The 1.5-litre S Line 35 TFSI test car we drove starts at €40,450. This car also included optional extras costing €2,482 which includes privacy glass, park assist, Audi sound system, ambient lighting and black styling.  It also included Tango red metallic paint for an additional €996.

Verdict 4.5/5

The Audi a4 Sportback is a well-rounded premium hatchback. It offers impressive handling and sporty driving performance. Littered with high-quality interior materials as well as the latest state of the art Audi technology, this car is worth investing in.


Model: A3 Sportback S line 35 TFSI

Starting Price: €30,515

Price of Test Car: €43,928

Motor Tax: €270

Engine: 1.5-litre Petrol

Transmission: S Tronic Automatic

Power: 150hp

0-100kms: 8.4 seconds

Colour: Tango Red

Boot Space: 380-litres


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