Audi A3 Sportback Review logo

Audi A3 Sportback Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2020
      Body type
      Family hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Classy car with superb interior”

Best bits

  • Well equipped for the money with navigation and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit standard on all models
  • High quality cabin with lots of soft-touch materials
  • Good to drive with economical petrol and diesel engines

Not so great

  • More expensive than stuff like the (very similar) Volkswagen Golf
  • Looks very similar to the old model
  • Holds its value well so there aren’t many bargains to be had

Read by

Audi A3 Sportback driving

Overall verdict

Audi A3 Sportback interior

On the inside

Audi A3 Sportback corner

Driving

Audi A3 Sportback profile

How much does it cost to run

Audi A3 Sportback rear

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Audi A3 has a very modern interior and comes well-equipped for the money. It’s good to drive, too - with high refinement and economical engines. Our biggest gripe is whether it’s worth the extra cash over the Volkswagen Golf. But the entire fashion industry suggests people are willing to pay more for a desirable brand name..."

Audi A3 Sportback driving

But it would be doing the Audi A3 Sportback a disservice to describe it as a Golf in a posh frock. The junior Audi is one of the best small premium cars on sale - holding its own against the latest BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class.

Sure, it shares a base (and engines) with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and SEAT Leon, but it has a bang up-to-date interior, plenty of technology and lots of standard equipment on even the cheaper models.

At its launch in 2020, this Audi A3 Sportback came with the choice of just one petrol and one diesel engine - both with the same 150PS power output. The petrol is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, badged 35 TFSI while the 2.0 TDI is called the 35 TDI. Yes, the Audi naming system confuses us, too...

Both engines are powerful yet also economical, while mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and an ultra-efficient 115PS diesel followed later.

The Audi A3 Sportback is really at home on the motorway, where an acoustic windscreen makes for very hushed progress. All the models ride well (avoid the S line with its sports suspension if comfort’s important), with little in the way of wind or road noise.

The A3's interior is ultra-modern and as premium as you’d expect from an Audi. True it may not have the wow factor of the Mercedes A-Class but you won’t be disappointed with the A3. Everything you touch feels is made out of the same high-quality materials you’d find in a bigger Audi.

Talking of bigger, there's marginally more space in this A3 than the old model - we doubt anyone in the front will be left wanting more room. The same can’t be said for those in the back. As you'd expect from a car of this size, rear space is best described as ‘limited’. If you want to regularly carry three or four people, look at something like a Skoda Octavia instead. Oh, and there’s no three-door version of this A3, either.

While the new Audi A3 isn't dramatically different, it remains a classy hatchback that's packed with kit. It's more expensive than alternatives like the Volkswagen Golf and Mazda 3, but with a superb cabin you can see where your money's going. This does mean you’ll have to wait a while before values drop on the second-hand market.


If you're looking for the older version, you need our Audi A3 Sportback (2013-2020) review.

Is the Audi A3 Sportback right for you?

In some ways, it’s difficult to justify the Audi A3 Sportback over the very similar (and very competent) Volkswagen Golf. But if you want something more special than a Golf (or alternatives like the Ford Focus and Mazda 3), the A3’s a perfect choice. Having those four rings on the grille still carries a bit of status.


Like most cars of this size, you’ll struggle to use it as your only family car but it’s ideal for a couple or as a second car. The interior is superb and packed with technology. It feels extremely well built and we’re sure it should last for many years without excessive signs of wear.


What’s the best Audi A3 Sportback model/engine to choose?

When it first went on sale, the Audi A3 Sportback was only offered with three trim levels: Technik, Sport and S line. Even the standard Technik model is well equipped with LED headlights, Virtual Cockpit, a 10.1-inch navigation system, cruise control and rear parking sensors.


It comes as standard with 16-inch wheels which sound small, but provide a smoother ride which we like. Most buyers will find the Technik more than adequate.


The main advantages of the Sport and S line models are various cosmetic upgrades (such as bigger wheels and sportier exterior styling), along with an even more upmarket cabin with leather seats as standard. There’s also the Edition 1 or Vorsprung models, which have 19-inch alloy wheels and LED rear lights with fancy dynamic indicators.


Engine choice is simple. If you cover lots of motorway miles, go for the 2.0-litre diesel badged the 35 TDI. If you don’t, stick to the 1.5-litre petrol. Following this are mild and plug-in hybrid models. The latter will be worth it if your journeys are within 20 miles or so and you can charge a car at home.

What other cars are similar to the Audi A3 Sportback?

The obvious competitors here are the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class. The BMW 1 Series is a practical choice that’s also fun to drive, while the Mercedes A-Class has an interior that wouldn’t feel out of place in a much more expensive car. Both arguably offer bolder looks than the A3 Sportback.


Then you’ve got more mainstream alternatives like the Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon and Mazda 3. All do pretty much the same job as the A3 Sportback, but lack the Audi’s premium feel-good factor. That said, the Golf isn’t that far off...

Learn more

Audi A3 Sportback interior

On the inside

Audi A3 Sportback corner

Driving

Audi A3 Sportback profile

How much does it cost to run

Audi A3 Sportback rear

Prices, versions and specification