Audi A3 Sportback 1.8 TFSI Sport 180PS S Tronic
Audi car review: LUKE MADDEN / Photos: UnitedPictures.com
What is it?
THE Audi A3 Sportback is more than just a five-door version of the A3. For the first time it’s actually got a longer wheelbase than the three-door and, as a result, there’s more space in the back seats and a slightly larger boot.
Until the Audi S3 Sportback arrives in autumn 2013 this 1.8 TFSI is the most powerful Sportback you can buy. It’s powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 180PS and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and still delivers over 50mpg.
Breathless? You should be.
We’re driving it here with front-wheel drive and a seven-speed S-Tronic double-clutch gearbox, but a quattro four-wheel drive version arrives in May 2013. With a P11D value of just under £25k it’s one of the most expensive Audi A3 Sportbacks you can buy too, but for the money the business car buyer is getting a genuine pocket rocket that makes an interesting alternative to more expensive saloons.
Given its performance, CO2 emissions are the highest in the Audi A3 Sportback range. But that’s only relative. At 130g/km company car tax is a middling 17%. That’s around £160 a month for a 40% tax payer so business owners attracted to this top line version might find it more fiscally attractive to own one privately and then claim for business mileage using the 45p per mile AMAP rate.
- The Sportback is a whole lot more practical than the three-door. You really can comfortably fit four six-footers in the cabin comfortably. So it’s ideal for business.
- And the boot is slightly bigger, too, with an additional 30 litres of room.
- This isn’t the company car pick of the range but it is the most fun. You get hot-hatch performance from the 180PS engine, with 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds.
- It’s extremely capable on twisty roads, too. There’s so much grip and the body stays almost completely flat, allowing the Sportback to feel light on its feet.
- And despite all that performance, it actually only emits 130g/km and fuel economy stands at 50.4mpg. As a result road tax and pence-per-mile costs are surprisingly low.
- The A3’s cabin is fantastic, too. Build quality and material quality are both top-notch, and you’ll struggle to find anything you can criticise.
- The driving experience is extremely grown-up, with impeccable refinement and a comfortable ride. If long motorway journeys are a regular occurrence, then the Audi A3 Sportback is the perfect companion.
- One of the major problems the 1.8 TFSI faces is the 2.0 TDI with 184PS that arrives later next spring. It feels even quicker in gear. It’s also capable of 64.2mpg and is almost just as refined as the petrol engine.
- And although the Sportback has huge amounts of grip it’s not as much fun from behind the wheel as you might expect. The steering feels a bit too numb for you to get really in to the driving experience.
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