Our cars: Audi A3 Sportback - October

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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

Week ending October 18
Mileage 6400
Driven this week 160 miles

Read the full Audi A3 Sportback review

A quiet week for the A3, thanks to trips to Sardinia (Hyundai i10) and Amsterdam (BMW i3). However, good though both of the new models were, I did feel a pleasing glow as I came across the A3 in the airport car park each time I returned.

Is it right, I wonder, to be so satisfied with a car which, even I have to admit, does not have looks to set the pulses racing? I guess my feelings are based not on the red A3's external styling but the knowledge that, when I shut the door and drive off, I'll be well insulated from the outside world. Indeed, I even love lowering the sat-nav screen into the fascia so there's even less 'on display' in front of me. There more I drive the Audi, the more I think there's a lot to be said for simplicity.

By John McIlroy
John.Mcilroy@whatcar.com

Week ending October 11
Mileage 6244
Driven this week 200 miles

Mr Editor Hallett and I were called to London to meet a manufacturer the other day - which meant an early-morning meeting in the office car park, then a drive up into central London. When I turned up, Chas was sitting ready to leave, his Range Rover's engine bumbling quietly. I wound down my window, told him to get out of it and jump across to the Audi - and he looked surprised.

Twenty minutes later, as we cruised up through London's still-deserted streets in refined comfort, even Chas had to admit that the A3 was still an excellent choice. Sure, it doesn't have the overall luxury or commanding driving position of the Rangie, but it's a dang sight more manouevrable in narrow streets and in our spec, with sports suspension de-selected, its ride quality is supple enough for potholes and speed bumps.

In fact, the whole day - including an even earlier thrash up the M3 motorway to meet Chas in the first place - proved to me what an excellent vehicle the A3 Sportback really is. With every mile the memory of that early turbo clip rattle fades, and I become more addicted to the refined hush in that minimalist, sophisticated front cabin. It's a stunning all-rounder.

By John McIlroy
John.Mcilroy@whatcar.com

Week ending October 4
Mileage 5929
Driven this week 731 miles

Read the full Audi A3 Sportback review

I usually drive our long-term Volkswagen Up, which happens to be our 2012 Car of the Year.

This was the first time I’d had a chance to drive the A3 - our current Car of the Year – and I came away feeling every bit as impressed with it as I am with the little VW.

Both move the game on in their respective classes, by taking refinement, build quality and comfort to levels not previously seen. The A3 in particular has a superb cabin that looks and feels way beyond its price tag.

One of my favourite parts of the A3’s cabin is its MMI rotary selector, located on the centre console. It took me a while to get the hang of the optional writing pad (part of the £1495 Technology package), especially with my left hand, but the metal construction and soft damping give it the edge over BMW’s i-Drive dial.

The fact it vibrates when you have an incoming call is a nice touch, too.

By Rory White
Rory.White@whatcar.com

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Our cars: Audi A3 Sportback - September

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