Autocar
26 October 2009

What is it?

This is the cheapest way to get your hands on a new car with four rings on its grille, the entry-level Audi A3 1.4 TFSI. The turbocharged 1390cc four-pot gets everywhere these days, and we have been impressed with its ability to punch above its weight.

Stop-start technology, which is being slowly rolled out in various Audis, features and gives an even bigger boost to the unit’s impressive efficiency and emissions.

The 1.4-litre is almost 10bhp more powerful than the larger 1.6-litre FSI unit it replaces in both the A3 and A3 Sportback, and it propels the small Audi to 62mph in 9.4sec, which is respectable. The Co2 figure weighs in at 134g/km, which is also a leap forward over the 1.6.

What’s it like?

Once various levels have been reached, such as cabin and engine temperature, the stop-start comes into play. Unlike some similar systems the car must be taken out of gear and the clutch depressed before the engine dies, but this soon becomes second nature.

Power from the 1.4 TSI is adequate and while the car doesn’t feel as quick as the figures suggest, it has no problem keeping up with other traffic. As with any Audi the budget A3 embarrasses its rivals when it comes to interior quality and it feels as well screwed together as most other Audis in the range. Add to that lashings of understated style and you will feel a cut above other hatchbacks in this bracket.

The biggest bugbear is the ride, which again is similar to other cars in Audi’s range, the car rattling unnecessarily over small scars in the road, especially considering its modest power. The upside is fairly tidy handling, which is probably helped by the lightweight engine up front.

Should I buy one?

This is a fairly cheerful entry into the world of Audi, but sadly it's not that cheap. However, if build quality and looks are high on your priority list then it’s difficult to ignore.

Join the debate

Comments
14

Re: Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback

4 years 44 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
lashings of understated style

Style? This A3 looks so predictable, derivative and boring, I'd hardly use the word 'style' at all.

I'm I the only person who's truly fed up with this horrendous "single frame" design copied in every Audi?

Re: Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback

4 years 44 weeks ago

There is a 1.2 Audi A3 due next year...

Re: Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback

4 years 44 weeks ago

Quattro369 wrote:
There is a 1.2 Audi A3 due next year...

That's the 1.2TSI already in the Yeti and Polo.

Should be good, in the Polo it gives 53MPG and has the same power and more torque than the old NA 1.6.

Re: Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback

4 years 44 weeks ago

This article is wrong, the cheapest A3 (and has been since launch) is the 1.6 102, shortly to be replaced by the 1.2 TFSI as pointed out here.

That aside, why have you people left it so long to do a review of this car? This version has been out for months now, and everywhere else reviewed it a long time ago.

Very misleading and unhelpful.

Re: Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback

4 years 44 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:

The biggest bugbear is the ride

Jeez, how long must this go on?

Re: Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback

4 years 44 weeks ago

yawn !!!!!!!!!!!!!! the A3 is so boring now. It has not flair, no excitment and just looks plain boring. It was pretty slick when the updated shape came out in 03 but even the facelift is boring. Whoever chooses a A3 over MK6 Golf is after more badge, and to be honest threre aint much difference in price now between Golf and A3.

You will get more respect by driving the Golf then the Yawn A3

Re: Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback

4 years 44 weeks ago

Even though the tail is very nice, refined, and seems to be devoid of any unnecessary curves and bends, unfortunately the same can not be said about the front of the car; rather than getting it just right, they have come up with, what appears to be from the photographs, a very bland and simplistic design. Instead of being simple and appealing, it seems to be too simple and boring.

Re: Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback

4 years 44 weeks ago

Is this the same 1.4TSI engine that VW tell you is in short supply (due to overwhelming demand and limited manufacturing capacity) so that you will have to wait 6-7months for it in a new Golf ? So, however good it might be now, I expect the price will have gone up by the time the dealer rings to say "Your new car has arrived......." or you might have gone and bought something else whilst you were waiting.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

Re: Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback

4 years 44 weeks ago

JackB wrote:
Style? This A3 looks so predictable, derivative and boring, I'd hardly use the word 'style' at all.

Unfortunately I have to agree. This is the sort of car that will be chosen by middle management on their company car schemes, rather than by someone who actually wants to buy Audi style.

Even though the 1 series is not a looker, it has a shed load more character then this band Eurobox.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Re: Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback

4 years 44 weeks ago

Its a bargain next to the Astra 1.4 Turbo SRi they just reviewed.

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Our Verdict

The Audi A3 is now in its third-generation and the premium hatchback ups the ante on quality once more

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