Hmmm to say that the Sportback version of the A3 is an attractive car from all angles is somewhat of a challenge. Front on its gorgeous, from the side profile its not so great, looking at it from behind makes me think of Colleen 'I'm a reeeeal woman I am' Rooney, its all hips dips and not much personality.
However as I sit and type these words with my thoughts immortalised in print, thousands are rolling off the production line, finding homes with family guys, girls and gays. Why so? Because as small estates go, it's a brilliant motor, mainly because firstly you can't be sure till your side on whether its actually an estate or not. Secondly, inside the littlest Audi estate is just cavernous, huge loads disappear quickly (mind on the car people!) and easily, there's bucket loads of room for front and rear seat passengers. Then throw into the mix any of Audi's phenomenal engines and hey presto - instant greatness is created.
Without a shadow of a doubt the S3 derivative is the much beefier and better looking sibling of the range, a beautiful looking beast of a motor with a 2.0L Turbo charged FSI heart beating under the bonnet giving it performance that's second to none in its class. I however decided (mainly because the S3 Sportback wasn't available) to test the 1.8L TFSI SE version. As the SE line is one grade higher the entry level model of the range I thought it might be nice to see just what you get for £18,670 OTR. As always Audi doesn't disappoint when it comes to performance or standard equipment, lavishing plenty of electric gadgets and gizmo's throughout the car. Performance was outstanding with 0-62mph being taken care of quicker than Cardiff Mardi Gras (it's on, it's off, it's on again, it's definitely off) and with a lot less fuss.
Fuel economy was good, I was getting around 38mpg, which is more than adequate for a mid range petrol estate. Ride quality is good with the suspension soaking up lumps and bumps in the road, it still maintains a fairly sporty ride and remains calm and composed until heavy cornering at speed and twisting country roads really showcase just how good the overall handling is.
Overall I really enjoyed driving the A3 Sportback, when it comes to estates few (if any) do it better than Audi.