If you have the choice and can afford it, the 2.0-litre TDI motor is by far the best engine available for the Audi A3. The petrol engines are smooth and sweet but simply don’t add up when you consider the price paid in fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, range and limited low down torque.

Between the 1.6 and 2-litre diesels, the fact the latter is 44bhp more powerful yet apparently will go just 5.4 fewer miles on every tank of diesel tells you what you need to know. Yet while the 1.6 needs 10.7sec to reach 62mph, the 2-litre is claimed to do it in 8.6sec. Our testing resulted in an 8.9sec run, but that’s still a night and day differential.

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The A3 is capable enough in corners and can hold almost 1g, but there’s little interaction

The 2.0-litre motor is brand new and boasts an excellent spread of refined torque. It’s only noisy right at the top end in that realm around 5000rpm where normal drivers never stray, or if you stand outside the car. For almost all occupants almost all of the time, it is more than sufficiently refined.

The 1.4-litre TFSI and 1.8-litre TFSI petrol engines are very strong performers, offering plenty of flexibility, excellent throttle response and consistent power delivery. The 1.8-litre offers up a claimed 7.1sec 0-62mph time, while the 1.4 covers that measurement in 9.3sec. The 1.2-litre TFSI needs to be worked much harder, and clocks in with a 10.3sec 0-62mph time.

We’d stay with the standard six speed manual gearbox too, which is a typically slick mechanism that makes smooth driving second nature. Choosing the double clutch S-tronic auto will not only cost you a four figure sum, it’ll hit fuel consumption, increase the cost of your tax disc and just occasionally when you use it in manual mode, frustrate you with its less than seamless shifting too.

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