The Audi A3 Sportback marked its arrival by being named the 2013 What Car? Car of the Year.
We reckon its hard to go wrong when picking which version to go for in the A3 range, be it the three-door model or the five-door Sportback, but some models are more appropriate than others for certain owners.
There is also the matter of which trim to go for, and an options list to choose from, so here is our guide to how to spec the Audi A3 to best suit your needs.
Which engine should you go for?
We named the 1.4 TFSI 122 petrol Audi A3 Sportback as our 2013 Car of the Year, and reckon that this is the best all-round version in the range. Private buyers will especially appreciate the mix of pace (0-60mph takes 9.5 seconds) economy (claimed average fuel economy is 53.3mpg) and competitively low emissions (123g/km).
However, there are plenty of other engines that are worth considering. Company buyers will be drawn by the lower CO2 ratings of the diesels. The 1.6 TDI is the headline-grabber in the range, with a 99g/km and 74.3mpg rating, but we prefer the 148bhp 2.0 TDI 150.
Emissions are still an impressive 106g/km, and fuel economy is 68.9mpg. However, it is more than two seconds faster to 60mph, and it is a wonderfully quiet engine.
Which trim should you choose?
As with most of the Audi range, trims are called SE, Sport and S-line.
The SE trim comes with everything that we feel is necessary on the Audi A3, including Bluetooth, a USB socket, voice control and manual air-conditioning. Sport adds dual-zone climate control, sports seats and sports suspension, while S-line brings a host of styling enhancements, such as larger alloy wheels and a bespoke front bumper, rear diffuser and side sills. It comes with even firmer sports suspension.
Wed stick with the SE. However, if you want the looks of the Sport or S-line, you can choose either with the more supple SE suspension. This is a no-cost option and greatly improves the ride.
Which options should you choose?
If you stick with SE trim, there are few options that we feel the A3 needs, but a couple that you might want.
Top of the list is dual-zone climate control, because the SE comes with manual air-conditioning. The upgrade costs 390.
A more expensive option that is worth considering is the Technology package, which brings satellite-navigation, a seven-inch colour display and a touch-sensitive panel on the MMI controller for the system. At 1000 it is not cheap, but it lends a real touch of class to the cabin.
Metallic paint will also help make the most of the A3s looks, and is a must at 525.
Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TSI 122 SE - 19,825
Metallic paint - 525
Dual-zone climate control - 390
What should you pay?
It might be early in the A3's life, but there are already discounts available on the list price. For example, our Target Price is around 700-800 less than the list price.
Broker sites are offering even bigger savings though, with Drivethedeal.com currently offering a 1.4 TFSI 122 SE at 1700 below the list price.