The Audi A3 range has been given a facelift for 2016, gaining Audi’s latest grille design and benefiting from some fresh technology, along with new engines. As well as a new 2.0 TFSI petrol, the A3 also gets this new three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which is now the entry-level route into an A3.
For a starting price of just less than £20,000, it offers 104g/km of CO2 emissions and a claimed combined fuel economy figure of 62.8mpg on standard 16in wheels, which isn’t far off matching the more expensive diesel options.
However, the A3 Sportback is no city car; it's a family hatchback rivalling the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, so is its new small 1.0-litre unit powerful enough to make it recommendable?
What's the 2016 Audi A3 1.0 TFSI Sportback like to drive?
The engine may be the least powerful petrol in the range, but around town it’s well suited to the A3, offering punchy acceleration off the line – despite a slightly hesitant throttle response – and strong pull from below 2000rpm. Getting the car up to higher speeds requires more persistence, and therefore generates more engine noise, particularly above 3000rpm and towards the red line, but once it's at a cruise the 1.0-litre triple settles down.
On the run up to motorway speeds you’ll become familiar with the fairly boomy part of the rev band, but it’s still more refined (and quicker) than the 1.6-litre TDI. Otherwise, there's negligible road and wind noise at higher speeds.
Our test car was fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox. A seven-speed automatic transmission is also available but we’d sooner stick with the manual. It’s slick to use and means the car costs around £1500 less than the automatic option.
The A3 also offers a very comfortable ride, and while the car may be more about safety than fun, it’s still good to drive. The steering is light and accurate, and the car feels agile with decent grip through the corners.
Driven hard or sedately, you're likely to be some way from achieving the claimed 62.8mpg. However, you can expect its real-world economy to still be fairly impressive – we saw around 47mpg on the trip computer over a mix of roads, which isn't too far off the diesel options.
What's the 2016 Audi A3 1.0 TFSI Sportback like inside?
The interior is typically plush and one of the A3’s strongest assets. From the driver’s seat, you’re met with a very simple layout with a 7.0in touchscreen on every trim, along with Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth as standard. Upping to Sport brings sat-nav, dual-zone climate control and 17in alloys, but given the price hike of around £1500, we’d stick with SE.
Audi’s fantastic Virtual Cockpit can be added as part of the Advanced Technology Pack, but it costs a pricey £1395 and can only be fitted to Sport models. It’s a great addition, being visually impressive but also clear and easy to navigate, but upping the price as much as it does over the entry-level model makes it less tempting.
This being a Sportback rather than the three-door model, this A3 has better access to the rear seats. It’s spacious inside, with good head and leg room for four adults, although seating a fifth adult in the middle rear seat will prove uncomfortable enough to be annoying on a long journey. The A3's boot is a competitive size and a practical shape compared to its rivals, while the rear seats are easily folded forwards almost flat to create even more space when necessary.
Should I buy one?
If you are a low-mileage private or company car buyer after a plush hatchback, then yes. It does require a bit of enthusiasm to gee it up for motorway journeys, but around town it’s a fine fit.
Company car buyers in particular will be tempted by the low running costs thanks to its low CO2 emissions and price, although the diesel models' better fuel economy might make them the cheaper option for high-mileage motorway users in the long term.
True, this engine isn’t quite as efficient as the similarly priced 1.0-litre unit available in the Volkswagen Golf, which is also marginally quicker, but the A3 excels in other important areas such as quality and infotainment making it the more rounded choice.
Read our full Audi A3 Sportback review HERE
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What Car? says
Audi A3 1.0 TFSI Sportback
Engine size 1.0-litre petrol
Price from £19,985
Torque 148lb ft
Top speed 128mph
Fuel economy 62.8mpg
CO2/tax band 104g/km, 17%