Depending on which engine and transmission you choose, the fuel consumption of your A3 can be as poor as 42.8mpg (and there’s a Porsche Panamera that does better than that). Or it can be as good as 74.3mpg (and most Smart ForTwos don’t do that well) meaning your tax disc can cost anything from nothing to £175.

In reality these figures bear little relation to the truth, but don’t blame Audi but the entirely unrealistic way in which the EU requires it to calculate them.

Matt Saunders

Deputy road test editor
The best residual prospects can probably be delivered via S-line trim

What can be said is that relative to its key rivals, the A3 is a frugal car making it cheap to run either as a private or company car. Experience with the core 2-litre TDI suggests owners should routinely expect to return over 50mpg which, given the performance and sophistication of the product is a magnificent result.

However it is to be remembered that Audi offers a mere three year warranty as standard, which can only be extended to four or five years (and still with limited mileages) for hefty additional fees.

Any Hyundai will give you five years for free and with no mileage cap.

Top 5 Premium hatches

  • BMW i3
    Two versions of the BMW i3 are on sale: a pure electric model or a range-extender variant

    BMW i3

    1
  • Audi A3 Sportback
    All Audi A3s feature multi-link rear suspension, denied to some other MQB-based VW Group cars

    Audi A3 Sportback

    2
  • The new Volvo V40 is the Swedish firm's sleek and sporty-looking answer to the VW Golf, A3 Sportback and BMW 1-series

    Volvo V40

    3
  • The BMW 1-series has sold more than two million units globally since it was launched in 2004

    BMW 1-series

    4
  • The Giulietta competes in the biggest segment in Europe - rivals include the VW Golf and Ford Focus

    Alfa Romeo Giulietta

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    2 September 2015
    Kia facelifts its Cee'd and drops its six-speed torque converter in favour of a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox in the process. We drive it for the first time
  • First Drive
    1 September 2015
    Kia has developed a better-mannered, more sophisticated Sportage for 2016
  • First Drive
    31 August 2015
    Thought the 3 Series was losing its edge? Well it's back, with a facelifted version that offers improved performance and dynamics. Does it reclaim its top spot after our drive on UK roads?
  • First Drive
    27 August 2015
    BMW gives its flagship 7 Series an extensive overhaul in a bid to tempt buyers of luxury cars away from the Mercedes S-Class, Audi's A8 and the Jaguar XJ
  • First Drive
    26 August 2015
    New Qashqai rival majors on practicality and usability and benefits from a long warranty, but lower-specification versions are the better bet