Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI S line 5dr Pre-Model Car Review - February 2012

List Price: £21,100
Tax Band: E
Insurance Group: 19
MPG: 48.7
CO2: 134
0-62 Mph: 9.6 secs
BHP: 123 BHP
Range: 589 miles
CarSite Verdict:  3.5/5
If you are looking for a powerful car which delivers high levels of performance and retains its value then the Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI S line 5dr could be the car for you. However, with high costs and poor green credentials the model lacks economic and environmental efficiency, making other models a wiser investment.

PROS:  Enhanced interior comfort provided through a luxurious interior help to differentiate this model from the standard 1.4 TFSI. Performance levels are still high and the car delivers strong power through the 1.4 litre engine.

CONS:  With only a few additional features provided as standard, the extra expenditure of almost £3,500 makes this car an expensive investment. High running costs run alongside poor fuel efficiency to make general up-keep expensive too and steering remains light and uncomfortable.

Behind the Wheel

The 1.4 petrol engine gives the car a good power boost of 123 bhp at 5000 rpm with torque figures of 148 lb-ft at 1500-4000 rpm. Mileage is poor, achieving just 48.7 mpg compared to 51.4 mpg in the standard 1.2 TFSI. Performance is enhanced, however, with the car capable of a top speed of 126 mph, going from 0-62 mph in 9.6 seconds.

Handling problems are the same as the 1.2 models with light steering and resistant gear changes making it feel uncomfortable and unstable. The Sportback has good body control and a strong grip on the road but without the comfort of good handling these benefits are diminished.

The car’s front seats are comfortable, fully adjustable and supportive. Noise from the wind and the road while driving are audible but not excessive and the dashboard is not systematically arranged making it a little difficult for some drivers to clearly understand the function of instruments and tell buttons apart at a glance.

Looks & Equipment

The Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI S line looks very stylish for a medium family car with an attractive exterior and a well crafted and comfortable cabin. The car comes fitted with standard driving technology similar to the 1.2 TFSI including stability control, alloy wheels, electric door mirrors, electric front windows, and an alarm and immobiliser to deter theft.

As an S line car, it offers enhances style over the standard TFSI range with a muscular body-kit, part-leather upholstery and sporty interior trim. Air conditioning is also replaced with an advanced climate control system and the stereo features MP3 connectivity as standard alongside CD compatibility.

Practicality, Safety & Reliability

The Sportsback model comes fitted with five seats. As compared to the regular A1 and A3 models, the Sportsback range provides ample seating in the front and back for adults as well as children, making long journeys more comfortable. The models are also equipped with a large boot size when the seats are in place making it ideal for long travel purposes.

Essential for family cars, the 1.4 TFSI S line comes equipped with a top of the range safety kit with a five out of five NCAP rating. It consists of standard twin front, side and curtain airbags along with electronic stability control and electronic brake force distribution.

The car also comes with a three year warranty with 60,000 miles. In addition to its price, it has high running costs similar to the standard 1.4 TFSI - falling into road tax band E and insurance bracket 19. Moreover, the fuel economy and green credentials of the 1.4 TFSI S line remain as poor as those of the standard 1.4 TFSI, achieving just 48.7 mpg with carbon emissions of 134 g/km.

Value for Money

Priced at £22,320, the Sportback 1.4 TFSI S line is almost £3,500 dearer than the standard 1.4 TFSI. The car gives good performance in an attractive body and has a well-crafted, reliable engine which gives years of trouble-free service.

It is a safe and proficient car for first time buyers and families looking for long term ownership and can be used comfortably for day to day tasks from school runs and grocery shopping to long road trips and holidays. It continues to pay for itself as it enjoys good dealer services as well as Audi’s excellent quality and reliability record. The combination of the car’s popularity, performance and the Audi brand gives it excellent resale values.

However, the high price does not enhance the driving technology much beyond that of the standard 1.2 or 1.4 Sportback. Climate control as opposed to air conditioning, a part leather interior and MP3 connectivity within the stereo system are the only real changes - making the additional expense seem disproportionate. Other additional features, such as built in sat-nav systems, may be cheaper to add to this model but the vast majority mimic the prices of the standard TFSI models.

As it is not economical to buy a car for cosmetic value when running costs are high, other A3 Sportsback models may be a better investment. The 1.2 TFSI and the 1.4 TFSI SE S tronic provide a good mix of low running costs and good performance at more attractive prices and are worthy investments for those looking for a long term ownership of a reliable vehicle.

Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI S line 5dr Pre-Model Car Review - by 
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