Audi A3 Sportback 1.8 TFSI Sport 5dr Pre-Model Car Review - February 2012

List Price: £21,295
Tax Band: G
Insurance Group: 25
MPG: 42.8
CO2: 153
0-62 Mph: 7.8 secs
BHP: 158 BHP
Range: 518 miles
CarSite Verdict:  4/5
If you are looking for a stylish and affordable car which offers strong levels of performance then the Audi A3 Sportback 1.8 TFSI Sport could be the car for you. The car comes with a top of the range safety kit making it ideal for families but high running costs and poor efficiency reduce its value and make other A3 Sportback models a wiser investment.

PROS:  The cheapest of the 1.8 TFSI models, this car features high levels of performance and comfort. Fuel economy is also better than the other 1.8 models and some additional features are provided as standard.

CONS:  Insurance premiums remain high and the green credentials are poorer than the other 1.8 models. This pushes this car into a higher road tax bracket and makes running and maintenance costs high.

Behind the Wheel

The 1.8 petrol engine gives the car a good power boost of 158 bhp at 5000-6200 rpm with torque figures of 184 lb-ft at 1500-4200 rpm. It delivers lower mileage than the 1.4 and the 1.2 engines at just 42.8 mpg but performance is higher with a top speed of 138 mph, going from 0-62 mph in 7.8 seconds.

However, the car still suffers from light steering which does not make control of the car comfortable. Gear changes can be resistant, detracting from the good body control and strong grip of the Sportback range.

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

Looks & Equipment

The Audi A3 Sportback 1.8 TFSI Sport looks very stylish for a medium family car with an attractive exterior and a well crafted and comfortable cabin. The car comes fitted with the same standard driving technology as the 1.2 TFSI including 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 Sport line comes with climate control instead of air conditioning, MP3 connectivity, sports suspension and front sports seats.

Practicality, Safety & Reliability

The Sportsback model comes fitted with five seats. As compared to the regular A1 and A3 models, Sportsback models have ample room in the front and back seats making long drives comfortable for children as well as adults passengers. The models are also equipped with a large boot size making it ideal for long travel purposes - be it road trips or holidays.

Essential for family cars, the 1.8 TFSI Sport 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. The 1.8 TFSI Sport has very high running costs, falling into insurance bracket 25 and suffering from poor green credentials. In fact, the carbon emissions are the highest of the 1.8 TFSI models at 153 g/km, pushing the car into the higher road tax band G.

Value for Money

The Sportback 1.8 TFSI Sport is priced at £21,290. The car gives a 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.

The car 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 give it excellent resale values.

However, the car’s high price does not provide any exclusive driving technology, enhanced features or an exclusive look beyond that of the standard 1.2 engine Sportback. The 1.8 engine provides a more powerful drive but high purchase prices and expensive running costs make it uneconomical for the average driver. Regular refuelling is needed due to the poor fuel economy and the high road tax band and insurance bracket mean the 1.8 TFSI Sport fails to live up to A3 Sportback models with smaller engines.

For families and first time buyers, the 1.2 TFSI and 1.4 TFSI SE S tronic provide better value for money by combining low running costs with good performance and attractive prices.

Audi A3 Sportback 1.8 TFSI Sport 5dr Pre-Model Car Review - by 
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