The Sportback is the five-door member of the A3 family and very popular it is, too, with around six times as many of them on the used car market as there are three-door models. The two extra doors make the Sportback’s appeal easy to understand, plus it has a bit more presence about it, being slightly longer and taller.
We’re talking about 2016-reg cars and newer, by the way. The year matters because that’s when this upmarket hatchback, launched in 2013, was facelifted.
The 2016 facelift brought new headlights, a more angular single-frame grille and restyled tail-lights and rear bumper. The engine range gained a couple of new petrol units: a 113bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder and a more conventional 187bhp 2.0-litre turbo. They joined the existing 148bhp 1.4 petrol turbo, which has cylinder-on-demand (CoD) tech for better economy, and two diesels: a 108bhp 1.6 TDI and 148bhp 2.0 TDI. Also carried over were the 296bhp S3 and extreme 395bhp RS3.
Trims range from entry-level SE (16in alloy wheels, standard suspension, xenon lights and the A3’s party trick, a retractable 7.0in infotainment display) through SE Technik (sat-nav, rear parking sensors) and Sport (17in alloys, dual-zone climate control) to S line (stiffer suspension, 18in alloys, a bodykit, LED headlights and sports seats). Oh, and one more: top-spec Black Edition, with black detailing and a premium sound system. Across the board, safety tech includes semi-autonomous traffic jam assist, a smarter lane assist system and a cross-traffic assist function.
Used Sportbacks are split 50:50 between petrol and diesel. Of the two diesel engines, the 1.6 TDI is more numerous but you’re better off with the 2.0 TDI, which is quicker and more relaxed at a cruise but almost as economical. It was more expensive new, of course, but thanks to diesel’s fall from grace, its premium has all but vanished. For example, we found 32,000-mile, 2016/66-reg examples of both engines priced at £12,500 apiece. It pays to shop around.