New Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI review Reviews & Ratings | MotorTorque

2 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on New Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI review Reviews & Ratings | MotorTorque
Audi A3

New Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI review

Downsizing to save money, pay less tax, drive a cleaner car is the way of life for many retail and an ever increasing number of company car users in today’s world.

But for many this has to be done for social or business reasons without appearing to have moved away from owning or driving a premium brand car.

Manufacturers know this and their response is to offer less costly smaller models which are still well equipped and have smaller fuel efficient engines.

In many cases these cost effective new models still offer a relatively high level of performance as premium brand customers, no matter what their financial situation is, do not seem able to compromise on must-have brand image with get-up-and-go to match.

I have just had a spell in Audi’s A3 Sportback (five-door hatchback cum estate) fitted with their new 1.6-litre, TDI direct injection turbocharged diesel engine with Start/Stop function.

My test car had a five speed gearbox but Audi are now just bringing to market the option of their S tronic twin-clutch auto transmission for this engine and its 1.4-litre TFSI petrol unit counterpart.

New 1.6-litre TDI

The new 1.6-litre TDI, 105PS engine joins A3, A3 Sportback and A3 Cabriolet ranges priced in each case from £17,485, £18,025 and £20,645. It replaces the 1.9-litre TDI engine in A3 TDIe and A3 Cabriolet 1.9 TDI models and the new smaller capacity unit is claimed to be 8% more fuel and CO2 efficient than the outgoing engine.

This new small turbocharged diesel unit features high pressure common rail injection and delivers up to 68.9mpg with the help of Start-Stop and energy recuperation systems. It is used in conjunction with a five-speed manual gearbox and soon an optional S tronic twin clutch auto box.

Just in case you think small equals slow, the A3 1.6 TDI Sportback has a top speed of 121mph, goes from zero to 62mph in 11.7 seconds.

But more importantly it will officially return 68.9mpg in the combined cycle (42.8mpg for me in real life) and only 109g/km CO2 output which means the minimum road tax bill of just £35 and for company car users 13% in Benefit-in-Kind tax.

A3 Sportback costs

Talking of cost, the A3 Sportback range starts at eye-catching £15,805 but that is for the basic 1.6-litre 102PS petrol engine. If you want the best small petrol unit spend £17,420 on the new 1.4-litre TFSI 125PS unit, well known firstly in Volkswagen models it’s brilliant for its high torque low-mid range response.

However for diesel power the A3 Sportbacks with the new 1.6 TDI 105PS unit start at £18,025 and my S-line test vehicle, the most popular spec, costs £21,350 on-the- road and without options. Top of the A3 Sportback range is the S3 2.0-litre TFSI, 265PS quattro at £28,020.

The 1.6 TDI Sportback, like most other derivatives in the range, is available with Standard, SE, Sport and S-Line levels of trim and equipment.

A3 range specifications

Core features for these premium models of course includes central door locking, electric windows and door mirrors, air conditioning, alloy wheels, split one/two-thirds folding rear seats, heated windscreen and a high level of safety equipment. First class build quality also comes as standard.

Being Audi there is a huge array of extra cost options to meet user requirements and budget. S-Line specifications adds larger 18-inch wheels, a lowered suspension, upgraded leather and cloth interior trim, multi-function controls on the steering wheel and outside the vehicle has sportier looking front and rear bumpers and chrome trimmed exhaust tailpipes. It is a smart package.

Interior space and practicality

At 4,292mm in length, 1,765 wide and 1,423mm high with a long 2,578mm wheelbase, the five-seater Sportback looks long and purposeful, well up to its ‘Sports’ branding.

Whether you call it a five door hatchback or estate is open for discussion, it looks more of an estate to me especially as it can accommodate between 370 and 1,100-litres of luggage. The rear legroom is relatively good for what is a medium sector car but the rear seat headroom is on the low side.

The ride is firm because of the lower suspension and larger wheels, a constant issue with most Audi models. The handling is first class but the ride comfort is hard and the suspension transmits road noise and shocks into the car. My view is always go for standard size wheels and stay away from sports set-up suspension if you like comfort.

Driving and performance

As for the new 1.6-litre TDI engine? Getting the A3 Sportback off the line needs some care, not enough engine revs and it will stall even though it is a diesel.

Audi A3

Once underway the 250Nm of torque from just 1,500rppm does its job and the car pulls strongly and doesn’t sound stressed. Being tall geared in fifth and sixth ratios for improved fuel economy and lower emissions means more gearchanging on A and B roads in the 40 to 55mph speed range.

Once cruising the engine was quiet and relatively fuel friendly although I wasn’t that impressed by the 42.8mpg my car average for a week’s motoring which as usual covered motorway, country and town travel. The A3 Sportback’s build quality and resultant heavy weight is the likely cause of not obtaining close to the 68.9mpg low fuel economy the official figures suggest.

The Start/Stop function worked well without intrusion or annoyance once the car was up to temperature and with the air conditioning off. I wouldn’t pay extra for it but if it comes as standard that’s fine.

It is marginally cleaner than its main rival the BMW 1 Series five door Hatchback, officially it has better fuel economy and it costs more or less the same.

As an alternative to the A3 Sportback the VW Golf 1.6 TDI Estate with the same engine and more or less the same platform is over £3,000 less expensive and it has more load carrying space – but then as good as it is – it is not a carrier of the Audi brand name.

Audi A3 Sportback MILESTONES

Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI S-Line

Price: £21,350 (£25,865 as tested)

Engine/transmission: 1.6-litre common rail direct injection with turbocharger and intercooler, exhaust gas recirculation and particulate filter, 105PS, 250Nm from 1,500rpm, 5-speed manual

Performance: 121mph, 0-62mph 11.7 seconds, 68.9mpg (42.8mpg actual) CO2 109g/km, VED £35, BIK tax 13%

Insurance group: 9E

Dimensions/capacities: L 4,292mm, W 1,767mm, H 1,423mm, load area 370-1,100-litres

For: High quality, tax friendly engine option, stylish, roomy, handles well, high safety specification, strong residual values

Against: Pricey, real life fuel economy much less than official figure, fidgety ride, lack of headroom in the rear seat

Audi A3
Audi A3
Audi A3
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