There are many different Audi A3 variants. Here’s how to pick the best one
The Audi A3 is an award-winning premium family hatchback: if you want something that’s a cut above a Volkswagen Golf or Honda Civic, picking Audi’s upmarket A3 is a smart choice, particularly in super-practical five-door Sportback guise.
But as Audi is an upmarket manufacturer, the amount of choice on offer across its sprawling model range is enormous. Where do you start when you step into the dealer showroom for the first time? Here, we aim to explain all.
First things first, the trim choice. There are five main models: SE, SE Technik, Sport, S Line and the Black Edition at the top of the range. Every single version is well equipped, with even the base SE getting alloy wheels, air con, Xenon headlights with LED running lights, a seven-inch infotainment screen, cruise control and rear parking sensors. We think this keenly-priced trim line is the one to go for.
As its name suggest, SE Technik adds on a bit of extra tech – namely, sat nav, and a three-month trial of Audi Connected Services. This includes Google Maps, internet access and easy link-up to social media services.
For those who want a sportier-looking A3 without going too extreme, the A3 Sport brings a racier look to the SE Technik model, while S Line takes things further still with sports suspension, big 18-inch alloys, S Line bodykit and LED headlights. The ultimate A3 is the Black Edition, which adds on a mean-looking styling pack and a premium Audi sound system.
So you’ve picked your A3 trim line, and the dealer’s now asking you about options. Which should you go for? We really like the comprehensive Technology Pack. It’s expensive, but it includes sat nav, Audi Connected Services and the impressive Virtual Cockpit electronic instrument display that’s a real wow factor.
We also like the fact you can deselect stiff sports suspension on both Sport and S Line models – those seeking the smoothest-riding A3 may prefer to do this. Even regular models handle well, after all.
Other goodies you may want to add include adaptive cruise control, which uses radar to keep the car a safe distance from other cars while cruising on the motorway, and heated seats which are nice in winter. We would, however, avoid 19i-nch alloys. They may look good but, again, the spoil the ride quality.
Follow our tips with our recommended 1.4-litre TFSI three-door A3 SE, and you’ll be spending £23,115 on the car itself, another £1,490 on the Technology Pack and, once discounts are taken off, paying £21,529 for the car overall. Do so and you’ll be getting what we think is the best Audi A3 you can buy.