Autotrader ad desktop

In partnership with Auto Trader

Used test: Audi A3 vs BMW 1 Series interiors

These two premium family cars are fantastic used buys, but is it the Audi A3 or BMW 1 Series that impresses most?...

Audi A3 Sportback vs BMW 1 Series vs Infiniti Q30: What are they like inside?


Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

The BMW 1 Series feels suitably upmarket inside, with plush materials and solid-feeling buttons. The Audi A3, though, is better still. All of the A3's controls operate with a precision absent in its rival, plus the quality of the interior materials is better than those found in most executive cars.

With height-adjustable driver’s seats and fully adjustable steering wheels across our two contenders, each car serves up a decent driving position. Being picky, the 1 Series does suffer with offset pedals that force you to sit at a slightly uncomfortable angle. The sports seats in the 1 Series are more figure-hugging, but the A3’s are pretty supportive, too.

Audi A3 Sportback vs BMW 1 Series vs Infiniti Q30: What are they like inside?

Rear parking sensors were optional from new on the A3 and 1 Series, but fortunately visibility is strong, particularly in the A3 due to its larger rear window.

As well as Bluetooth and a DAB radio, the A3 comes with sat-nav and a 5.8in screen that pops up from the dashboard. Our car had the optional-from-new Technology pack, with a 7.0in screen, 3D maps and a writing pad for entering addresses. It’s easy to search the quick-loading menus with the rotary controller and shortcut buttons, although the layout isn’t quite as intuitive as the BMW’s.

Used Audi A3 boot

BMW’s infotainment also includes sat-nav, a DAB radio and Bluetooth. Our test car had the optional-from-new Professional Media package that adds a bigger screen, real-time traffic data, a concierge service and a writing pad like the Audi’s. Even without the upgrade, the system is quick and simple to use, whether pairing a phone or choosing a radio station. Overall, it's a better system and the sharp graphics look great.

The A3 and 1 Series both have enough space up front for two six feet tall adults, but there are differences, such as the 1 Series having more leg room. Swap to the back seats and there’s just enough space for two tall adults in either car, but, again, the 1 Series has more leg room. 

Used BMW 1 Series boot

On the other hand, the boot of the 1 Series has a smaller and more awkwardly shaped load bay than the A3's. The A3's boot is much more accommodating, because it’s wide, well shaped and has a height-adjustable floor.

<< Previous | Next: How much will they cost to run? >>

Page 2 of 4