The third-generation Audi A3 Sportback may not look different from the old model but it offers more space, better fuel economy, lower emissions and more equipment.
It commands a slight premium over the Audi A3 Hatchback three-door version but it’s the larger loadspace that could tip the balance for buyers needing a spacious hatchback.
The German car maker may have increased the wheelbase by 58mm but the footprint of the car is largely the same as previous model. The A3 Sportback offers ample rear seat space and easy access for three adults with a couple more millimetres of head- and leg-room over its predecessor.
It has, however, had its weight cut by 90kg compared to the previous model and that has helped to keep fuel consumption and CO2 emissions down.
Audi will initially offer the new A3 Sportback with a choice of one diesel and two petrol engines. Fuel consumption has been reduced on average by around 10% compared with the previous model.
The newly developed 2.0 TDI is available in two versions. First to arrive will be the 148bhp version familiar from the three-door model, which produces 320Nm of pulling power.
The front-wheel drive A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI can get from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds and continue on to a top speed of 133mph. Combined fuel economy for this version is 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions are 108g/km.
Buyers looking for the ultimate in fuel economy from a conventionally-powered model should look at the 1.6-litre diesel. It’s claimed to return 74.3mpg and its CO2 emissions are 99g/km.
However in 2015 the range will be augmented by the e-tron model, combining a 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric motor to offer up to 176mpg and just 37g/km of CO2 output – perfect for company car users.
The majority of engines in the new Audi A3 Sportback are paired with a manual six-speed gearbox, with the exception of the 1.8 TFSI which in the UK will initially be equipped exclusively with S tronic transmission. S tronic will be available as an option for all other engines.
Audi A3 Sportback equipment
Equipment levels mirror the three-door A3 with SE, Sport, S line and Black Edition specification levels but the Sportback also adds rear electric windows and rear door child locks in each case. Highlights include alloy wheels, air-con, the MMI system with its 11mm-thick electrically folding screen, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth with voice control and a multi-function steering wheel.
Cloth seats are standard for SE and Sport models, while S line versions upgrade to a mixture of cloth and leather. Move up to top spec Black Edition trim and unique 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, black styling additions and an upgraded Audi sound system are added to the standard kit list.
If you fancy more power, there is of course the Audi S3. Available in two trim levels, S3 bags you lowered sports suspension, sportier progressive steering, an upgraded sound system and heated fine Nappa leather seats. S3 Black Edition, meanwhile, adds unique 18-inch alloy wheels, black styling pack, privacy glass and a top-end Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Will the new and improved mid-sized hatchback it be a hit with UK buyers? Read the full Audi A3 Sportback review to see if this version suits your lifestyle.