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Audi A3 Sportback car review

Brand manager and head honcho at Cardiff Audi, Gavin Cleverly, is confident the new Audi A3 Sportback is set to become the company’s most popular model.

Over the next year his Cardiff, Bristol and Bath showrooms expect to sell more than 700 of the new A3 model, which was only released seven months ago.

At first it may be difficult to spot the differences between the new and old version unless you are a seasoned Audi owner.


Front view of the new A3


But from their marketing it is clear Audi have invested time and effort to live up to their Vorsprung durch Technik (loosely translated as innovation through technology) motto by making the new model one of their most stylish and technologically impressive yet.

Front and side of the new A3

Front and side of the new A3

The clean dashboard has fewer buttons and instead a pop-up colour display screen allows the driver to control radio, music, Bluetooth and telephone as well as 007-style features like voice control and an on-board computer. It even monitors pedal and steering wheel usage to recommend when the driver should take a break.


This Audi A3 is packed with gizmos

But Luxury and Performance Sales Specialist at Cardiff Audi, Joe Barry, was also keen to emphasise the performance of the A3, which is most popular young families or older couples.

On the test drive, the 1.4 TFSI petrol engine was smooth and barely heard while the sensitivity of the steering adapts at different speeds. To park, just one finger is needed to direct the car while on motorways the steering is more touch-resistant.


Audi engineering is definitely aspirational

In terms of fuel economy, Mr Barry said the new A3 works well to minimise waste. “The gear change indicator means the car is fuel efficient. Two out of four of the cylinders shut down when operating at lower levels.”

Where the car might fall down is in its visibility. Both rear windscreen and back passenger windows are small. Mr Barry admitted the A3 has reduced rear visibility but the cleverly angled wing mirrors give a larger view.

The electronic handbrake is also difficult to get used to. With only a red light and tug on the pedals to indicate when it has kicked in, drivers might feel tentative. Mr Cleverly said the new A3, which starts at £18,280, also sells well with the corporate market.

Pitching against rivals Mercedes and BMW, aspirational brand Audi have done well to create a car which fits into so many categories.