Audi A3 Sportback vs BMW 1 Series vs Infiniti Q30: Verdict

The new Infiniti Q30 is based on the Mercedes A-Class and built in Britain. But is it good enough to beat the Audi A3 Sportback and BMW 1 Series?

Words By What Car? team

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Our verdict

Although this is easily the best Infiniti to date and proof the Japanese brand is moving in the right direction, the Q30 simply isn’t good enough to usurp the established players in this brutally competitive class.

We like the fact it’s more comfortable than the Mercedes A-Class on which it’s based, that it’s relatively quiet and that you get more standard equipment than in both of the German rivals we’ve lined it up against here. That isn’t enough to make up for the fiddly infotainment system, cramped rear seats, steep running costs and so-so handling but, nonetheless, if you want something a lot less ubiquitous than an Audi or a BMW, the Q30 isn’t a bad option.

The BMW 1 Series is a stronger all-round package and the clear runner-up in this contest. It’s more practical and cheaper to run than the Q30 and has the best infotainment system of the trio. However, BMW’s three-cylinder engine is a little lacklustre, and the 1 Series seems slightly confused dynamically, being neither as sporty as the A3 nor as comfortable as the Q30.

So the Audi A3 Sportback is the clear winner. It continues to demonstrate the same sparkling array of talents that made it our overall Car of the Year back in 2013, being great to drive, classy inside and the cheapest of its ilk to own – no matter how you’re buying. The firm low-speed ride is this A3’s only major weak point, but this can be largely cured by deselecting the sports suspension option and resisting the urge to fit bigger alloys.

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Also consider:

1st – Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 125 Sport Nav

Rated 5 out of 5

For Great to drive; spacious; classy cabin; low running costs

Against Firm ride; road noise; equipment levels

Verdict Does so much so well that it takes a clear victory here

Read the full Audi A3 Sportback review

2nd – BMW 1 Series 118i Sport 5dr

Rated 3 out of 5

For Infotainment; supportive seats; quiet engine

Against Jittery ride; wind noise; in-gear performance

Verdict Fails to shine in this form, but still has appeal

Read the full BMW 1 Series review

3rd - Infiniti Q30 1.6t Premium

Rated 3 out of 5

For Supple ride; quiet cabin; safety kit; equipment

Against Costs; rear space; handling; sloppy ride

Verdict Good effort, but falls down in a few key areas

Read the full Infiniti Q30 review

Specifications: Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 125 Sport Nav

Engine size 1.4-litre, petrol, turbo

List price Β£22,185

Target Price Β£20,250

Power 123bhp

Torque 148lb ft

0-62mph 9.0sec

Top speed 128mph

Fuel economy 42.5mpg (True MPG)

CO2 122g/km

Specifications: BMW 1 Series 118i Sport 5dr

Engine size 1.5-litre, petrol, turbol

List price Β£22,460

Target Price Β£20,455

Power 134bhp

Torque 162lb ft

0-62mph 9.3sec

Top speed 130mph

Fuel economy 35.0mpg (True MPG)

CO2 123g/km

Specifications: Infiniti Q30 1.6t Premium

Engine size 1.6-litre, petrol, turbo

List price Β£21,575

Target Price Β£20,875

Power 121bhp

Torque 148lb ft

0-62mph 9.2sec

Top speed 124mph

Fuel economy 35.2mpg (True MPG)

CO2 138g/km

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