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, although the new 1.5 TFSI EVO engine hopes to rectify some of those shortfalls.

Between the 1.6 and 2-litre diesels, the fact the latter is 40bhp 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

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 1.0-litre TFSI, 1.5-litre TFSI and 2.0 TFSI petrol engines are all very strong performers, offering plenty of flexibility, excellent throttle response and consistent power delivery. 

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 may cost you a four figure sum and occasionally frustrate when you use it in manual mode, but invariably it’ll improve fuel consumption and reduce the cost of your road tax.

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