New Audi A3 Sportback vs Alfa Romeo Giulietta vs Infiniti Q30

Alfa Romeo and Audi have given their prestige hatchbacks a refresh. Can these low-CO2 versions fend off the all-new Infiniti Q30?

Words By What Car? team

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Audi A3 Sportback with Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Infiniti Q30

Our verdict

Audi’s makeover of the A3 was a light one, so you need to know what you are looking for to spot the changes. Nevertheless, the pre-facelift A3 Sportback was one of our favourite family cars, so it really didn’t need much tweaking. It’s sharp to drive, combining enjoyable handling with a well-controlled, generally comfortable ride.

Fitted with this frugal 1.6-litre diesel engine, it offers decent performance and CO2 emissions, and the kit you get with SE Technik trim is good enough, even though it’s not as generous as rivals’. Add a relatively roomy, exquisitely finished interior and the A3 is a clear winner.

If you want something a little out of the ordinary, we can see why you might choose the Giulietta. It’s striking to look at, and it backs up that style with some substance, too. The 1.6-litre diesel engine packs a reasonable punch, along with decently low CO2 emissions to keep tax bills palatable. Tecnica trim is also very well equipped, although it needs more modern safety kit.

That leaves the Q30. It’s totally outclassed by the A3, and trails the Giulietta in many areas. The tardy performance and rattly engine are likely to really frustrate drivers, while the stodgy handling, unsettled ride and the fact that it’s the most expensive for company car tax also disappoint.

The Q30 isn’t totally without merit, though. The equipment list on this Premium InTouch model is decent and there’s a vast array of safety features, but overall the Q30 is hard to recommend.

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1st – Audi A3 Sportback

For Best to drive; classy, practical interior; excellent infotainment

Against Higher list price raises BIK tax; important safety kit optional

Verdict A clear winner, it’s the most fun to drive and has reasonable running costs.

Rated 5 out of 5

Read the full Audi A3 review

2nd – Alfa Romeo Giulietta

For Strong engine; standard kit; low BIK tax

Against Latest safety kit not available; driving position

Verdict Stylish and cheap to run, but has its flaws

Rated 3 out of 5

Read the full Alfa Romeo Giulietta review

3rd – Infiniti Q30

For Great standard safety kit; real-world fuel economy

Against Noisy, feeble engine; poor rear space

Verdict Well off the pace in this company

Rated 2 out of 5

Read the full Infiniti Q30 review

Specifications: Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.6 JTDM-2 120 Tecnica

Engine size 1.6-litre diesel

List price Β£20,580

Target Price Β£18,137

Power 118bhp

Torque 236lb ft

0-62mph 9.8sec

Top speed 121mph

Official fuel economy 74.3mpg

True MPG N/A

CO2 emissions 99g/km

Specifications: Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI 110 SE Technik**

Engine size 1.6-litre diesel

List price Β£23,330

Target Price Β£23,190

Power 108bhp

Torque 184lb ft

0-62mph 10.3sec

Top speed 161mph

Official fuel economy 74.3mpg

True MPG 45.5mpg

CO2 emissions 99g/km

Specifications: Infiniti Q30 1.5d Premium InTouch

Engine size 1.5-litre diesel

List price Β£24,090

Target Price Β£21,650

Power 106bhp

Torque 192lb ft

0-62mph 11.3sec

Top speed 118mph

Official fuel economy 68.9mpg

True MPG 49.2mpg

CO2 emissions 108g/km

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