From £16,755
Cheapest Audi is fine quality but not that cheap

Our Verdict

Audi A3 hero front

Third-gen Audi A3 gets a mild facelift, more equipment, some new engines and a new hot model - but is it the cream of the premium hatch crop?

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26 October 2009
Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback

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.

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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


27 October 2009

[quote Autocar]lashings of understated style[/quote]

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?

27 October 2009

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

27 October 2009

[quote Quattro369]There is a 1.2 Audi A3 due next year...[/quote]

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.

27 October 2009

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.

27 October 2009

[quote Autocar]

The biggest bugbear is the ride

[/quote]Jeez, how long must this go on?

27 October 2009

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

27 October 2009

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.

27 October 2009

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.

28 October 2009

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

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.

28 October 2009

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


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