Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 122 Sport
Week ending January 24
Driven this week 290 miles
Read the full Audi A3 Sportback review
Another long journey for me in our Audi A3 Sportback, and the second time I handed back the keys thoroughly impressed.
There are plenty of diesels on our fleet that are great for long-distance journeys, but the A3’s petrol engine is easily strong enough to cope on the motorway - and a seriously smooth, quiet performer it is, too. The fact that it has one of the best rides you’ll find on any five-door hatchback also helps.
This time, rather than just listen to the radio, I decided to see how well the A3’s infotainment system got on with streaming music using Bluetooth and my mobile phone’s Spotify app.
Turns out it works brilliantly, displaying the current artist and song clearly and responding well to moving forward and backwards through tracks. It took a while for me to find how to do this, though, as I hadn’t realised the on/off/volume knob can be knocked left and right just like the main MMI rotary control.
Another simple feature than looks and feels fantastic, but more importantly, works well.
By Rory White
Week ending January 17
Driven this week 190 miles
Read the full Audi A3 Sportback review
Ooh, a problem. Well, a warning, at least. The A3 chimed at me on the way into work this morning, prompting me to check the oil level as soon as possible. I did check the levels at around 5000 miles, because the dealer had already had a look at the engine during the car's early visits for its turbo clip rattle.
However, it now appears that the oil level is at the minimum that the A3's systems are prepared to tolerate. Time for a delve into the manual to get the recommended specification of lubricant. In fact, I think I'll pop down to the car park at lunchtime and check this on the electronic manual contained within the Audi's MMI infotainment system; it'll be interesting to see if it contains that sort of information.
By John McIlroy
Week ending January 10
Driven this week 122 miles
All A3 Sportbacks come with an electronic parking brake as standard. When it works as expected it's a great system and frees up space in the cabin.
But I've recently been seeing the 'Please release parking brake' warning in the dashboard display on a few occasions. I wondered what I was doing wrong and so had a flick through the handbook.
It turns out that the parking brake will only release if the driver's seatbelt is done up and the accelerator pedal is touched. That explains why when I try to gently move out of a parking space just by releasing the clutch and controlling the speed with the footbrake I have to release the parking brake manually.
By Matthew Burrow
Week ending January 3
Driven this week 200 miles
So Christmas has been and gone - and with it, some of the worst weather the south of England has seen in many a year. Our neighbours had a major water leak, we lost a couple of fencing panels from the back garden and an unloved and underused mini-greenhouse (perhaps a bit of a blessing, that last one). Oh, and the Audi A3 Sportback didn't emerge unscathed either.
I thought we'd got off lightly in the pre-Christmas storm; apart from a couple of hours without power, the house seemed relatively unscathed. However, when I went out to the driveway on Christmas Eve, I noticed that next door's wheelie bin had been topped over during the gales - right into the front passenger door of the Audi.
The resulting impact hasn't removed any paint, by the looks of it, but it has inflicted a pretty serious ding right in the centre of the main door panel. I've used Dent Wizard's wheel department to repair an alloy early in the A3's time with us, so I'm going to give the firm another bit of work by getting them in to have a look at the door.
That aside, Christmas highlighted the fact that the A3's boot is wide but actually pretty shallow. We wanted to take McIlroy Jnr's high chair set-up with us to a dinner party, and the only way it would fit in was to lower one of the rear seats. I doubt that Mrs Mac's Kia Ceed would have had anything like the same difficulty in coping with it.