Audi A3 30 TFSI Sport 5dr S Tronic

  • Automatic
  • Petrol
  • 53.3 mpg
  • 5 door hatchback
  • 122 g/km CO2
  • 122 g/km CO2 emissions
  • 53.3 mpg Fuel efficiency
  • 9.9 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 116 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

The premium compact car. If that concept means anything to you, then it's the car we look at here, Audi's A3 Sportback, that might well come to mind. True to the brand's Vorsprung durch Technik philosophy, this model has always aimed to set fresh standards in its fourth generation form and the updated version of that model continues that quest with greater connectivity and a sharper look inside and out. The result is a car that should show you just how far things have recently progressed in this segment.

Background

These days of course, this Audi faces strong competition, but back in 1996 when we first saw the A3 model line, the idea of being able to move a car up-market in class and appeal without increasing its size was new and rather different. Cynics dismissed it as a way of dressing up ordinary family hatches and charging a lot more for them. Customers though, loved the idea and by the time the second generation A3 arrived in 2003, BMW and Mercedes rivals had also arrived to swell the market. Initially, those two brands struggled to produce products good enough to overtake Audi and the result was that nearly a quarter of a million MK2 A3s were pounding global roads by the time the third generation model arrived in the Autumn of 2012. It sold for nearly eight years until this more cutting-edge MK4 model arrived in 2020, which four years on was improved to create the car we're going to look at here.

Driving Experience

There are no engineering to handling changes to this updated A3. As before, everything about this car is designed to deliver on the concept of a Volkswagen Golf with just a touch more polish - and the driving experience it offers is no exception. If you're an A3 regular - or a graduate from a Golf - you'll find that this Audi has even more of the mature drive dynamics you'll be looking for, helped by a fully digital at-the-wheel experience and the optional embellishment of self-driving tech. The original version of this MK4 model got a little more involving to drive thanks to slightly sharper steering, a wider track and the introduction of a 'modular dynamic handling control system' that, based on steering movements, predictively co-ordinates interplay between all the car's dynamic systems - like a conductor with an orchestra - so the car can always be one step ahead of the drive inputs you want to make. The core engine options here are familiar for mainstream customers - the 30 TFSI (116PS) and 35 TFSI (150PS) petrol units and the 35 TDI diesel (also with 150PS). Only the 30 TFSI can be ordered without Audi's familiar 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch auto transmission. There's supple multi-link rear suspension and with the 35 TFSI petrol model, the engine comes with an integrated 48-volt 'BAS' belt alternator starter-generator that powers a 12-volt main electrical set-up in which a 48-volt compact lithium-ion battery in the boot stores energy harvested via a 'KERS' kinetic energy recovery system. You can talk to your dealer about a highly-efficient 45 TFSI e plug-in hybrid version too. If you've more to spend on a more sophisticated kind of A3 Sportback, you can also talk to your dealer about the 2.0-litre petrol turbo S3 variant, which gets a power hike to 333PS and the addition of the torque-splitter system previously reserved for the RS 3.

Design and Build

As before, there 's a choice of Sportback hatch or Saloon versions of this fourth generation A3. Audi's given the improved versions of both models large, angular air intakes and a flatter grille design that now features the two-dimensional four-ring logo we first saw on the brand's Q8 e-tron luxury EV. The daytime running lights now feature up to four different illuminating signatures that owners can switch between to individualise their car's appearance. Inside, there's a redesigned centre console with an armrest, restyled air vents, a smaller (compact, flatter) auto gear selector and smarter ambient lighting (which now gives you back-lit doors and contour lights around both the centre console and cup holders). The 'Virtual Cockpit plus' instrument screen is standard and the 10.1-inch central MMI monitor has been updated in various ways, allowing it to be customised with a wider range of applications, including Amazon Alexa. This MMI system is permanently connected to the internet, with high speed access via an embedded eSIM, which means you can create in the car a WiFi hotspot and access things like online music streaming, online traffic information and hybrid radio. This central screen's also your access to an audio upgrade that's now provided by Sonos, a 3D system. As before, much effort has gone in to visually emphasise the width and spaciousness of this cabin, most notably with precise horizontal lines and surfaces. Not all of it's smoke and mirrors; the seats have been set quite low to improve headroom, plus there's plenty of shoulder room. This improved interior can also offer a wider range of more sustainable trimming and upholstery materials. As previously, on the rear seat a six-footer can sit behind an equally lanky driver, but it's a fairly snug fit and, as you'd expect from this class of car, three across the back here only really works if the people concerned are of school-going age. Out back, the boot is much as before, offering a capacity of between 380 and 1,200-litres. The loading floor can be adjusted to different heights, and the rear shelf can be stored underneath it to save space.

Market and Model

Expect pricing starting from around £29,000, with a premium of £535 for the Saloon version. There are the usual familiar trim levels - 'Sport', 'S line' and 'Black Edition'. All the usual executive equipment items feature and this improved A3 is even more digital and connected, thanks to numerous connect services, functions on demand, and an app store. Standard equipment features DAB+ digital radio and a 10.1-inch central MMI touch display, along with the 'Audi virtual cockpit plus' instrument screen and an inductive smartphone charger. In addition to the two USB-C charging ports in the centre console in the front, two additional ports in the rear also come standard. Other features include MMI navigation plus, along with the complete connect portfolio and access to the app store, which allows the driver to use a wide range of applications via the vehicle's display. By embedding the store, customers can directly and intuitively access popular third-party apps on the MMI touch display by means of a data link in the vehicle. For our market, two individual infotainment and comfort functions can be added online via the myAudi app, even after the vehicle has been purchased. Functions include adaptive cruise control and high-beam assist. They can be booked for one month, six months, one year, three years, or permanently, depending on the customer's individual needs. If, for example, a long holiday is planned with the A3, adaptive cruise assist may be a useful addition for relaxed travel on long stretches of motorway.

Cost of Ownership

Audi is continuing is electrification strategy in the premium compact class, hence the emphasis on the MHEV mild hybrid 1.5-litre 35 TFSI petrol model in this A3 range. The figures suggest that the base 35 TFSI S tronic variant manages 54.3mpg, with a CO2 return of 119g/km of CO2. The base 30 TFSI model manages up to 50.4mpg and 128g/km in manual form - or up to 53.3mpg and 127g/km as an S tronic auto. For the S3 petrol hot hatch, it's 33.2mpg and 186g/km. Most A3 buyers will want the MHEV auto petrol model which uses the same sort of set-up we've already seen on larger Audi models. A 'BAS' belt alternator starter-generator that with this four cylinder engine, powers a 48-volt main electrical set-up in which a compact lithium-ion battery in the boot stores energy harvested via a 'KERS' kinetic energy recovery system. During braking, the 'BAS' package can recover up to 12kW of power and feed it back into the battery. If the driver takes their foot off the accelerator at speeds between 34 and 99mph, the mild hybrid system will recuperate energy, while the car rolls in idle or coasts with its engine automatically switched off for up to 40 seconds. The belt alternator starter-generator restarts the engine the next time the accelerator is depressed, and does so faster and more gently than a conventional starter. All of this you'll particularly notice at urban speeds where the engine start-stop system is cutting in and out. The start stop range begins at just under 14mph, so you'll often find the car coasting up to the end of a traffic queue, a traffic light or a level crossing.

Summary

In the search for a compact car that's also a premium purchase, there are probably more charismatic choices than this Audi A3. But we think there are few better ones. Light in bulk, heavy in technology, it's a logical evolution of a breed that's long been one of Britain's favourite company cars. This improved version might look little different at first glance but it might feel so once you get to grips with the upgraded interior with its two sophisticated screens. Otherwise, things are much as before - which means that there's lot's to like. If you're one of those still questioning the need for a premium peoples' hatch, then in this Audi, you have your answer. From the outside, it's as home in Belgravia as it is in Brixton. But the interior is where this design really strides apart. You could be in a luxury car. And of course, in many ways, you are. By pioneering the premium compact hatch segment with original versions of this model, Audi has in many ways redefined the meaning of automotive luxury, democratising it without the desirability being diluted. Other brands claim to have done the same of course and many have used a few more visual or dynamic fireworks to grab the attention. Ingolstadt though, doesn't think this A3 needs them and legions of loyal global buyers seem to agree. Cool, class-less and clever, it remains desirably definitive.

  • Automatic start/stop system with recuperation
  • Audi Phonebox light with wireless charging
  • Audi sound system - 10 loudspeakers including centre loudspeaker and subwoofer
  • DAB Digital radio
  • USB ports with charging function in the rear
  • Aluminium window trim
  • Body colour roof spoiler
  • Exterior model badging
  • Front radiator grill in high gloss dark chrome
  • Front side air inlets in grained matt black with silver frame
  • Rear diffuser and grill in grained matt black with silver frame
  • Rear side wing doors
  • 12V socket and storage compartment in front centre console
  • 3 spoke leather multifunction steering wheel with gear shift paddles
  • Front centre armrest
  • Front door sill trims with aluminium inlay
  • Height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • Manual boot compartment lid
  • Routine cloth upholstery with front sports seats
  • Steel grey cloth headlining
  • Aluminium interior elements pack - A3 Sportback
  • LED interior lighting pack - A3 Sportback
  • 3x3 point rear seat belts
  • Driver and front passenger airbag with passenger airbag deactivation
  • First aid kit with warning triangle and 2 safety vests
  • Front side airbags with head airbags and interaction airbag
  • Pre-sense front with pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Seatbelt monitoring
  • Tyre pressure loss indicator
  • Anti theft alarm
  • Anti-theft wheel bolts
  • Electronically operated child locks
  • Immobiliser
  • Remote control central locking
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 122
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEH: 124
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEL: 121
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 1498
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Engine Code: 8YFBNG
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO DIRECT INJECTION
  • Gears: 7 SPEED
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 5.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEH: 5.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEL: 5.3
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 53.3
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEH: 52.3
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEL: 53.3
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: False
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.5
  • Badge Power: 116
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: TFSI
  • Coin Series: Sport
  • Generation Mark: 4
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 9.9
  • Engine Power - BHP: 116
  • Engine Power - KW: 85
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5000
  • Top Speed: 127
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 225/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Rear: 225/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: 5-V-SPOKE
  • Wheel Type: 17" ALLOY
  • Height: N
  • Height (including roof rails): 1466
  • Length: 4354
  • Wheelbase: 2630
  • Width: N
  • Width (including mirrors): 1984
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 45
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1200
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 380
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11.1