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

REVIEW
List Price: £20,995
Tax Band: D
Insurance Group: 19
MPG: 51.4
CO2: 127
0-62 Mph: 9.5 secs
BHP: 123 BHP
Range: 622 miles
CarSite Verdict:  4/5
A reliable car with improved fuel efficiency and lower road tax costs, the Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI SE S tronic is the perfect car for families looking for a powerful vehicle with high performance. Improved fuel efficiency helps to lower running costs but insurance premiums remain high and the initial cost could be considered too steep due to a lack of exclusive driving tech.

PROS:  With a sporty yet sophisticated look, the Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI SE S tronic 5 dr combines good aesthetics with high quality performance. Carbon emissions are lower than those in the standard and S line 1.4 models, putting the car in a lower tax band and reducing running costs. The addition of Start/Stop technology conserves fuel and lowers emissions to create an efficient vehicle which also benefits from strong resale values.

CONS:  Insurance premiums remain high and performance remains virtually identical to the other 1.4 models with the Sportback range. Driving technology is identical to that of the standard 1.4 TFSI, despite purchase costs being more than £2,000 dearer, with boot space and fuel tank capacity also the same.

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. The car delivers similar mileage to that of the 1.2 petrol engine at 51.4 mpg alongside the performance benefits of the 1.4 engine with a top speed of 126 mph, accelerating from 0-62 mph in 9.5 seconds - a fraction of a second quicker than both the standard 1.4 and the 1.4 S line.

However, the model fails to correct the light steering problem of the A3 Sportsback range which makes handling uncomfortable. Gear changes can sometimes be notchy and reduce the benefits of the Sportback's good body control and a strong grip.

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 some buttons apart at a glance.

Looks & Equipment

The Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI SE S tronic looks very stylish for a medium family car with an attractive exterior and a well crafted and comfortable cabin. The car comes fitted with driving technology identical to the standard 1.4 TFSI including air conditioning, stability control, alloy wheels, electric door mirrors, electric front windows, an advanced stereo system, and an alarm and immobiliser to deter theft. In addition to this the SE version also provides an upgraded multifunction steering wheel.

Practicality, Safety & Reliability

The Sportsback model comes fitted with five seats. As compared to the regular A1 and A3 models, these models have ample front and backseat room for average sized adults, making long drives comfortable for children as well as adults passengers. The models are also equipped with a large boot size with the seats in place making it ideal for long travel purposes.

Essential for family cars, the 1.4 TFSI SE S tronic 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 higher purchase price, many of the running costs remain the same with insurance premiums remaining high under price bracket 19. Fuel consumption is marginally improved from 48.7 mpg to 51.4 mpg in this automatic transmission model, with lower carbon emissions of 127 g/km also placing thus model in a lower road tax band (D instead of E).

Value for Money

The Sportback 1.4 TFSI SE S tronic is priced at £20,990. This is a reasonable price for a car which delivers good mileage and high performance within an attractive body but the lack of additional features and driving tech diminishes the car's value.

The car has a well-crafted and reliable engine which gives years of trouble-free service and whilst the 1.4 TFSI SE S tronic does not provide exclusive driving technology over the manual 1.4 TFSI it remains a safe and proficient car for first time buyers and families.

The car 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 and limit depreciation.

The car combines the performance of the 1.4 with the fuel economy and green credentials of the 1.2. However, the automatic transmission means the target audience is narrower and those after a manual model are more likely to choose the 1.2 TFSI. This model falls into the same tax band and has identical fuel consumption levels and carbon emissions to the 1.4 TFSI SE S tronic but also benefits from lower insurance premiums with performance only marginally affected.

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