- Navigation and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit standard on all models
- High quality cabin with lots of soft-touch materials
- Good to drive with economical petrol and diesel engines
- More expensive than stuff like the (very similar) Volkswagen Golf
- Looks very similar to the old model
- High-end models miss key kit as standard
But it would be doing the Audi A3 Sportback (to give it it's full name) a disservice to describe it as a Golf in a posh frock. The junior Audi is one of the best small premium cars on sale - holding its own against the latest BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class. Find out more in our 2022 Audi A3 review.
At its launch in 2020, this Audi A3 Sportback came with the choice of just one petrol and one diesel engine - both with the same 150PS power output. The petrol is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, badged 35 TFSI while the 2.0 TDI is called the 35 TDI. Yes, the Audi naming system confuses us, too...
The Audi A3 Sportback is really at home on the motorway, where an acoustic windscreen makes for very hushed progress. All the models ride well (avoid the S line with its sports suspension if comfort’s important), with little in the way of wind or road noise.
The A3's interior is ultra-modern and as premium as you’d expect from an Audi. True it may not have the wow factor of the Mercedes A-Class but you won’t be disappointed with the A3. Everything you touch is made out of the same high-quality materials you’d find in a bigger Audi.
Talking of bigger, there's marginally more space in this A3 than the old model - we doubt anyone in the front will be left wanting more room. The same can’t be said for those in the back. As you'd expect from a car of this size, tall passengers in the back might need you and your front seat passenger to slide their seats forwards a little more than is ideal. If you want to regularly carry three or four people, look at something like a Skoda Octavia instead. Oh, and there’s no three-door version of this A3, either.
While the new Audi A3 isn't dramatically different, it remains a classy hatchback that's packed with kit. It's more expensive than alternatives like the Volkswagen Golf and Mazda 3, but with a superb cabin you can see where your money's going. This does mean you’ll have to wait a while before values drop on the second-hand market.
Looking for a used car for sale? We've got 100s of Audi Approved Used Cars for Sale for you to choose from, including a wide range of Audi A3s for sale. If you're looking for the older version, you need our used Audi A3 Sportback (2013-2020) review. While if you're after the four-door version, we also have a review of the latest Audi A3 Saloon.
Is the 2023 Audi A3 right for you?
In some ways, it’s difficult to justify the Audi A3 Sportback over the very similar (and very competent) Volkswagen Golf. But if you want something more special than a Golf (or alternatives like the Ford Focus and Mazda 3), the A3’s a perfect choice. Having those four rings on the grille still carries a bit of status.
Like most cars of this size, you’ll struggle to use it as your only family car but it’s ideal for a couple or as a second car. The interior is superb and packed with technology. It feels extremely well built and we’re sure it should last for many years without excessive signs of wear.
What other cars are similar to the Audi A3 Sportback?
The obvious competitors here are the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class. The BMW 1 Series is a practical choice that’s also fun to drive, while the Mercedes A-Class has an interior that wouldn’t feel out of place in a much more expensive car. Both arguably offer bolder looks than the Audi A3 Sportback.
Then you’ve got more mainstream alternatives like the Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon and Mazda 3. All do pretty much the same job as the Audi A3 Sportback, but lack the Audi’s premium feel-good factor. That said, the Volkswagen Golf isn’t that far off...
Touchscreens are used to control most features in modern cars - especially premium models like the Audi A3 Sportback - but there are a lot of buttons in the Sportback’s cabin. They’re logically laid out, so it’s easy to do things like change the temperature or turn the radio up on the move.
A quirk of the automatic models is a stubby toggle switch instead of a conventional gear lever. It looks modern (in a quirky way) and frees up space on the centre console.
The Audi A3 Sportback’s cabin is the sort of well-designed interior we’ve come to expect from Audi. It might lack flair compared to the Mercedes A-Class but you can see where your money’s been spent compared to a Ford Focus, for example.
Quality and finish
If you’re looking for a car with a high-quality interior, an Audi is generally a very good choice. The Audi A3 Sportback is no exception. It’s very well made, with lots of soft-touch materials and an abundance of gloss black finishes. Everything you touch feels like it should last the distance.
It’s easy to turn your nose up at the standard cloth seats of the Audi A3 Technik, but even these feel well-finished. Sport models get leather, while the S line comes with leather sports seats. These look the part and are surprisingly comfortable.
The Audi A3 Sportback S line also features things like aluminium dash inlays and an LED interior lighting pack with ambient door lighting, which makes the A3 Sportback’s interior even more special (and rival that of the Mercedes A-Class, with its fancy interior ambient lighting).
Audi S3 Sportback performance models feel even nicer inside. They get a swoosh of cheese-grater style trim across the dashboard and diamond-stitched Nappa leather seats as standard.
Infotainment: touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Audi A3 Sportback
We’re used to having to pay extra for the biggest infotainment systems, but a slick 10.1-inch display is standard on all Audi A3 Sportback models. This is very easy to use, with good graphics, logical menu systems and fast responses.
It features everything you’d expect from such a system in a premium car - including DAB radio and connected navigation. It can be operated a bit like a smartphone with click, swipe, scroll and zoom gestures - so it’s very intuitive.
There’s a caveat though. There are no physical buttons for the media system so, on the move, you find yourself jabbing at the touchscreen display which is frustrating at best and dangerously distracting at worst.
Audi will point you towards its voice command function but this isn’t as smooth as Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant. Fortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. This means you can use your phone’s features on the move - including the aforementioned Siri and Google Assistant, as well as accessing your Spotify playlists and using apps like Google Maps or Waze.
Another Audi A3 Sportback standard feature is the 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit. This is the slickest digital instrument display around, with sharp graphics and numerous ways to customise it - changing the size of the dials or prioritising navigation directions, for example.
Space and practicality: Audi A3 Sportback boot space
The dimensions of the Audi A3 Sportback are pretty much par for the class at 4.3m in length and 1.8m wide. While there are more practical hatchbacks (step forward, Skoda Octavia), the Audi A3 Sportback will be big enough for most. There’s plenty of room for a pair of adults up front, with generous head, leg and shoulder room.
There’s a decent amount of stowage such as a pair of generous cup holders in the centre console, and door bins big enough for all your bits and bobs.
Two adults will fit in the rear and as this is a five-door, access is easy enough. Along with the ISOFIX points, there are top tether points on the outer rear seats.
There’s no more or less room than the Audi A3 Sportback’s direct premium rivals, but you’d probably be better looking at a bigger car or SUV if you regularly carry rear-seat passengers. There’s the usual lump in the floor hindering foot room for middle passengers (who’ll also struggle for shoulder room), and anyone over six foot will find their knees sticking into the seats in front.
The Audi A3 Sportback’s 380-litre boot capacity compares well with rivals and there’s a handy adjustable boot floor - meaning you won’t have to lean into the boot to get your shopping.
The rear seats on Technik models split 60/40 and 40/20/40 on higher-spec models, so they can be dropped easily if you need more luggage space. Up to 1200 litres of boot space is available with the rear seats dropped - although they don’t fold entirely flat.
All A3 Sportback models come with a tyre repair kit rather than a spare wheel. This means more room for luggage, but if you’re like us, we’d rather have the security of a spare wheel in case of a puncture.