Our cars: Audi A3 Sportback - March

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  • Audi A3 Sportback

    Audi A3 Sportback

  • Audi A3 Sportback

    Audi A3 Sportback

  • The A3 is telling us to top up the oil.

    The A3 is telling us to top up the oil.

  • Electronic parking brake won't release unless the accelerator is pressed

    Electronic parking brake won't release unless the accelerator is pressed

  • Audi A3 Sportback

    Audi A3 Sportback

  • Our A3 Sportback comes with the optional widescreen sat-nav system

    Our A3 Sportback comes with the optional widescreen sat-nav system

  • Audi A3 Sportback

    Audi A3 Sportback

  • MMI touch-pad

    MMI touch-pad

  • The A3 Sportback's turbo rattle has been fixed by a £12 part

    The A3 Sportback's turbo rattle has been fixed by a £12 part

  • The A3 Sportback's boot is decent enough with the seats down

    The A3 Sportback's boot is decent enough with the seats down

  • Audi A3 Sportback

    Audi A3 Sportback

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Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 122 Sport

Read the full Audi A3 Sportback review

Week ending March 14
Mileage 10,200
Driven this week 400 miles

I borrowed the editor's A3 last weekend, which gave me time to judge how good our 2013 Car of the Year is. My Mazda 6 left us this week and is due to be replaced with the Saloon version of the Audi A3 with a 2.0-litre diesel engine.

If it's as good as the Sportback I'll be a very happy bunny. The ride is excellent on all surfaces and living with this car is so easy – the interior is a lesson in design and function, with all controls easy to use and operate, while the fit and finish are a league above its rivals'.

I also like the compact nature of the Sportback, although it's not too small for a trip to the local recycling centre; with the seats folded almost flat it easily swallowed a big load of rubbish. The perfect small family car? I'd certainly say so.

Stephen Hopkins


Week ending March 7
Mileage 9800
Driven this week 100 miles

The A3 Sportback's time with us is nearly up; in a couple of weeks we'll be trading in our 2013 Car of the Year for our 2014 Executive Car of the Year: the A3 saloon.

There will be a few differences beyond the fact that the new arrival has a regular boot instead of a hatchback. The main one is the engine, for while our Sportback has the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, our Exec choice is fitted with a 2.0-litre turbodiesel.

The new motor will have to go some to beat the 1.4, I have to say. Over almost 10,000 miles this 120bhp unit has been immensely capable; it has enough torque for you to drive it like a diesel around town, making it an extremely refined companion there, and it fades nicely into the background at motorway speeds to boot.

I guess its only potential weak spot has been B-roads, where it does need a bit of hard revving if you really want to get a move on. Perhaps that's where the 2.0 diesel will have an advantage; it's got a lot more torque, so it should be possible to keep it in a higher gear and still cruise up hills and through tighter corners.

By John McIlroy
John.McIlroy@whatcar.com

Our cars: Audi A3 Sportback - February

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