RAC

Audi A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI

Introduction

"For most of the people most of the time the front wheel drive model is the one to plump for"

Visit RAC Cars to search for used Audi A3 for sale.

Yes, you did read that right. It's a turbocharged version of the now defunct 150bhp 2.0-litre FSI engine, fettled to produce a hefty 200bhp. A step up from the feisty Sportback 1.8 TFSI, the 2.0T FSI engine offers a decent compromise between economy and performance and looks the most sensible choice of all of the petrol engines in the Sportback line up. Two versions are offered, each attractive in its own right. The front-wheel drive model is available with or without Audi's ridiculously ingenious S Tronic twin-clutch transmission while the other option is a manual gearbox mated to a quattro all-wheel drive chassis. There are three trim levels on offer with this engine - SE, Sport and S-line- with prices starting from around £20,000 in Sportback guise The current, facelifted model has seen some stylish improvements to the car; the front wings and the grille are a little shapelier, the headlights are sharper-looking and the side repeaters are now incorporated into the door mirrors The front wheel drive car will, by dint of its much lower carbon dioxide emissions (167g/km versus176g/km), appeal to business users whereas the all-wheel drive model offers better all weather versatility for those with active lifestyles. Performance figures for the two models are virtually identical although the front wheel drive car gets markedly better fuel economy. The S Tronic front wheel drive car will notch off the sprint to 60mph in 6.8 seconds and run on to a terminal velocity of 148mph. Its combined fuel economy figure of 35.7mpg compares favourably with the rather thirsty 39.2mpg of the quattro model. The quattro offers some recompense with a bigger fuel tank but for most of the people most of the time, the front wheel drive model is the one to plump for.

Part of the reason lies in that gearchange. The revolutionary S Tronic dynamic shift gearbox was first seen in the original TT 3.2 V6 coupe and is based around a sequential manual transmission but utilises an ingenious twin clutch system to ensure creamy smoothness. Engage first gear and the gearbox will pre-engage second gear in advance, the second clutch engaging as soon as you flick up to slot instantly into second gear. This means a seamless flow of power. The electronics predict what gear you're about to engage, depending on whether you're accelerating or braking and the result is astonishing, making every other gearbox look distinctly clunky. The other option is to slip it into 'D' and drive it like a normal automatic. Even in this mode it's butter smooth and makes other attempts at sequential manual systems appear distinctly clunky and yester-tech. The exterior has been tweaked on this A3 but not in such a radical way that it put the kibosh on the residual value of the previous model. The front wings and the grille are a little shapelier, the headlights are sharper-looking and the side repeaters are now incorporated into the door mirrors. Choose an S line variant and there are LED daytime running lights that ape the R8. The interior has also come in for some treatment, which was needed if this Audi was to retain its perceived quality advantage over much improved versions of more mundane rivals. So it is that this A3 ups the ante with more aluminium design elements, revised switchgear, a better quality instrument cluster and a rethink for the upholstery choices. Quattro four wheel drive is of course offered on certain variants. Standard safety equipment includes window airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, brake assist, a part-electric power steering system and anti-whiplash head restraints. The cabin has been restyled to offer a little more design flair, Audi realising that high quality alone isn't enough to lure buyers into showrooms. There has to be some style on display too. The fascia struts ape the interior design of the TT, as do the round air vents and chrome-rimmed dials. It's still not what you'd call revolutionary, but it's beautifully executed. There's a lot to be said for the Audi A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI. Although its turbocharged engine may have slipped under the radar of many buyers, it nevertheless offers an excellent blend of power and economy at prices which, when long term running costs are totted up, are distinctly reasonable. The Sportback is a car with very few vices and this is probably the best of the petrol models, especially when twinned with the S Tronic gearbox. As an exemplar of how far the premium compact hatchback has come, it's hard to think of better.

Facts at a Glance

Facts At A Glance CAR: Audi A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI PRICE: £20,195-£26,445 - on the road INSURANCE GROUP: 16 CO2 EMISSIONS: 167-176g/km PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 6.8s / Max Speed 148mph FUEL CONSUMPTION: [S Tronic] (combined) 35.7mpg STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front, side and window airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, BAS WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length/Width/Height 4271/1765/1421mm

Billing your car as a 'premium compact' is all well and good up until that moment when a 1.6-litre family hatch shows you a clean pair of heels. Then it's time to take a long, hard look at your set of priorities. If you're going to buy a premium compact car, at least make sure that it's a properly sorted one with all the technology and a decent dose of power. A car like the Audi A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI may appear expensive at first glance but it offers a good deal more than any of the mainstream hatches can muster. Yes, you did read that right. It's a turbocharged version of the now defunct 150bhp 2.0-litre FSI engine, fettled to produce a hefty 200bhp. A step up from the feisty Sportback 1.8 TFSI, the 2.0T FSI engine offers a decent compromise between economy and performance and looks the most sensible choice of all of the petrol engines in the Sportback line up. Two versions are offered, each attractive in its own right. The front-wheel drive model is available with or without Audi's ridiculously ingenious S Tronic twin-clutch transmission while the other option is a manual gearbox mated to a quattro all-wheel drive chassis. There are three trim levels on offer with this engine - SE, Sport and S-line- with prices starting from around £21,000 in Sportback guise. The front wheel drive car will, by dint of its much lower carbon dioxide emissions (167g/km versus176g/km), appeal to business users whereas the all-wheel drive model offers better all weather versatility for those with active lifestyles.

Performance figures for the two models are virtually identical although the front wheel drive car gets markedly better fuel economy. The S Tronic front wheel drive car will notch off the sprint to 60mph in 6.8 seconds and run on to a terminal velocity of 148mph. Its combined fuel economy figure of 35.7mpg compares favourably with the rather thirsty 39.2mpg of the quattro model. The quattro offers some recompense with a bigger fuel tank but for most of the people most of the time, the front wheel drive model is the one to plump for. There's a lot to be said for the Audi A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI. Although its turbocharged engine may have slipped under the radar of many buyers, it nevertheless offers an excellent blend of power and economy at prices which, when long term running costs are totted up, are distinctly reasonable. The Sportback is a car with very few vices and this is probably the best of the petrol models, especially when twinned with the S Tronic gearbox. As an exemplar of how far the premium compact hatchback has come, it's hard to think of better.

Visit RAC Cars to search for used Audi A3 for sale.

Scores
Performance 8
Handling 6
Comfort 8
Space 8
Styling 9
Build 9
Value 6
Equipment 8
Economy 6
Depreciation 9
Insurance 6
Total 83

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