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?...
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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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
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
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
Specifications: Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 125 Sport Nav
Engine size 1.4-litre, petrol, turbo
List price £22,185
Target Price £20,250
Torque 148lb ft
Top speed 128mph
Fuel economy 42.5mpg (True MPG)
Specifications: BMW 1 Series 118i Sport 5dr
Engine size 1.5-litre, petrol, turbol
List price £22,460
Target Price £20,455
Torque 162lb ft
Top speed 130mph
Fuel economy 35.0mpg (True MPG)
Specifications: Infiniti Q30 1.6t Premium
Engine size 1.6-litre, petrol, turbo
List price £21,575
Target Price £20,875
Torque 148lb ft
Top speed 124mph
Fuel economy 35.2mpg (True MPG)
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