Review: Audi A3 Sportback (2013)


More practical version of the A3 has more passenger space and a larger boot. Wide choice of engines including impressive 1.4 TFSI. Well-equipped as standard.

Not the most exciting of designs. Sportier models on large wheels return a hard ride.

Audi A3 Sportback (2013): At A Glance

The Audi A3 Sportback of 2013 is a 5-door family hatchback for drivers seeking a little more status than from a Ford Focus or even a VW Golf.  Sharing engienes, drivetrains and MQB inegrated subframes with the VW Golf BII, SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia it's good to drive, refined and extremely practical, this five-door version of the A3 is great for long and short hauls, while its efficient range of petrol and diesel engines make it surprisingly cheap to run. 

There is more than enough space for four large adults inside and the upmarket interior provides lots of comfort, with low levels of wind and road noise. Admittedly, the low speed ride can get bumpy on performance models, with sports suspension and larger wheels, but all A3s are good on the motorway and its sure footed nature gives the impression you're driving a much larger car .

All A3 Sportback models get a seven-inch colour screen that pops out of the dashboard, while Audi's excellent MMI infotainment system, with a large control wheel located in the centre console, makes it easy to use the on-board infotainment system.

Audi updated the A3 Sportback in 2016 and significantly increased the level of equipment, with LED daytime running lights, cruise control, DAB and automatic xenon headlights all included as standard. The 110PS 1.0-litre TFSI petrol was also added to the range, while the 180PS 1.8-litre petrol was replaced with a 190PS 2.0-litre unit. 

The engine range is split between efficient petrol and diesel engines, which offer a good balance between power and economy. 

The 1.6 TDI has a claimed 74.3mpg, but feels lacking in power. The 150PS 2.0 TDI is a much better engine in comparison and will provide a claimed 70.6mpg. Both the petrols - 1.0 TFSI and 1.4 TFSI - will officially exceed 60mpg too, although it is the latter that feels best suited to the A3 with a full boot and four passengers.  

All models are good to drive, with lots of front-end grip and a well-balanced ride that lets you push it along with significant gusto. The steering does lack feel, but sportier versions - with sports suspension and larger wheels - will easily navigate twisty roads with minimal of fuss. 

In our view the A3 Sportback is one of the best upmarketshatchbacks around. Admittedly, some will take issue with its nondescript styling, but even the A3's dull lines cannot dilute its outstanding build quality and rewarding drive. 

Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI Road Test

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron 2014 Road Test

Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TSI 115 DSG 2016 Road Test

What does a Audi A3 Sportback (2013) cost?

List Price from £22,730
Buy new from £19,898
Contract hire from £219.18 per month

Audi A3 Sportback (2013): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4310–4313 mm
Width 1966 mm
Height 1425–1461 mm
Wheelbase 2630–2637 mm

Full specifications

Audi’s interior design team is one of the best in the business and this shows in the A3 Sportback. The cabin has an abundance of high quality materials and there are no rattles or knocks. Audi has also taken a minimalist approach to the dashboard, with just a handful of buttons and dials.

All models get a 5.8-inch colour display screen, which electrically pops up when the ignition is started and Audi’s MMI (Multi Media Interface) system can be operated via a central dial. The MMI system controls all of the main functions - stereo, navigation, Bluetooth – and is surprisingly easy to understand. 

Sport models get a colour driver’s infotainment system and aluminium trim, while the range topping S line gets leather/cloth seats and brushed aluminium inlays. To be honest, the base models supply everything you need and little changes in the dashboard layout. The 5.8-inch screen is easy to read and can be folded away if not needed.

In 2016 Audi updated the A3 Sportback range and significantly improved the levels of standard equipment, with a larger 7.0-inch colour display replacing the old 5.8-inch unit. Cruise control, light and rain sensors were also added to entry-level models, along with xenon headlights and LED light signatures.

The styling of the dashboard is one of the standout features of the A3 Sportback and we really like the large porthole air vents and slim dials. The seats are also extremely comfortable and combine well with the A3 Sportback’s interior. Clearly, Audi has spent considerable time crafting the cabin's ergonomics and the quality shows through. 

Being a Sportback, this A3 gets five-doors, with large rear seats that are suitable for adults or children. Like the front of the cabin, the rear is well-built and feels like it has been constructed to endure the rigours of family life. 

The boot has 380 litres of storage, but this can be expanded to a 1220 litres if you fold down the rear seats. The boot also features an adjustable floor makes it easier to load heavy items into the rear as there’s no lip to the rear seats when they’re folded. 

Child seats that fit a Audi A3 Sportback (2013)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Audi A3 Sportback (2013) like to drive?

The Audi A3 Sportback is offered with seven engines and almost all offer a good balance between performance and economy. The best petrol engine is the 1.4-litre TFSI with cylinder on demand technology.

The TFSI unit has 140PS and returns more than 60mpg, while emissions are just 111g/km. Audi's cylinder on demand technology is automatic, as it deactivates two engine cylinders when you’re cruising or at low revs, but switches back to four when you need more power or apply the brakes.

A 110PS 1.0-litre unit was added to the range in 2016 and will officially return 62.8mpg and 104g/km of CO2. The 2016 update also replaced the 180PS 1.8-litre petrol with a 190PS 2.0-litre unit. Economy for the powerful 2.0 petrol ranges from 47- 49mpg, depending if you choose the six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic. The 190PS unit can also be specified with quattro all-wheel drive.

All of the diesel engines are commendable, although we were really impressed with the range topping 2.0 TDI quattro. Boasting 184PS, the unit can rival most hot hatches and covers 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds, yet returns a claimed 58.0mpg.

If competing with the Golf GTI and the Focus ST at the traffic lights isn’t your thing, then the efficient and punchy 2.0 TDI with 150PS will be more than sufficient. It has plenty of pull in the low revs and a quiet operation at higher speeds.

What’s more, in SE trim, the 150PS unit will officially return 67mpg - 70mpg, depending on which model year you choose. As you'd expect, the newer versions are the most efficient, with the latest models emitting 105g/km of CO2. 

However, regardless of which engine you choose, the A3 Sportback is always engaging and fun to drive. One of the criticisms of the old A3 was its lack of handling ability, but Audi has addressed these complaints and transformed the new model into a much better package.

Both the ride and handling are good and the A3 has plenty of grip in the corners, thanks to a chassis that's stiffened and impeccably balanced. Push the A3 at high speeds and it will remain predictable and calm, while its nimble handling makes it great fun on B-roads. 

For most drivers, the standard SE trim will meet all of their everyday needs, with a soft ride coupled to responsive chassis. However, if you specify one of the more powerful engines then it might make sense to spend more on the trim. Both the Sport and S line models get sports suspension, a lower ride height (15mm lower on Sport and 25mm lower on S line) plus bigger alloys, which make the handling much more responsive but harder over potholes at slow speeds. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 TFSI 63 mpg 9.9 s 104–108 g/km
1.0 TFSI S tronic 63 mpg 9.9 s 104–108 g/km
1.2 TFSI 57–58 mpg 10.1 s 114–117 g/km
1.2 TFSI S tronic 57–59 mpg 10.1 s 110–116 g/km
1.4 TFSI 125 52–55 mpg 9.4 s 117–124 g/km
1.4 TFSI 125 S tronic 54–58 mpg 9.3 s 114–119 g/km
1.4 TFSI 150 58–61 mpg 7.9–8.2 s 107–114 g/km
1.4 TFSI 150 S tronic 57–59 mpg 7.9–8.2 s 109–115 g/km
1.5 TFSI 57 mpg 8.2 s 114–118 g/km
1.5 TFSI S tronic 59 mpg 8.2 s 110–114 g/km
1.6 TDI 60–83 mpg 10.3–11.2 s 89–127 g/km
1.6 TDI 116 71 mpg 10.4 s 106–109 g/km
1.6 TDI 116 S tronic 72 mpg 10.4 s 103–107 g/km
1.6 TDI S tronic 69–74 mpg 10.3–10.7 s 99–107 g/km
1.6 TDI Ultra 83 mpg 10.7 s 89 g/km
1.8 TFSI 49 mpg 7.2 s 135 g/km
1.8 TFSI quattro S tronic 43–44 mpg 6.8 s 149–153 g/km
1.8 TFSI S tronic 50 mpg 7.3 s 129 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 66–71 mpg 8.3–8.6 s 105–109 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 quattro 58–59 mpg 8.0–8.3 s 125–127 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 S tronic 61–66 mpg 8.0–8.3 s 112–121 g/km
2.0 TDI 184 63–67 mpg 7.4 s 112–118 g/km
2.0 TDI 184 quattro S tronic 57–59 mpg 6.8–6.9 s 127–130 g/km
2.0 TFSI 50 mpg 6.9 s 129–130 g/km
2.0 TFSI 190 50–50 mpg 6.9 s 130 g/km
2.0 TFSI 190 quattro S tronic 48–49 mpg 6.2 s 134 g/km
2.0 TFSI 190 S tronic 49–50 mpg 6.8 s 130 g/km
2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic 49 mpg 6.2 s 133–134 g/km
2.0 TFSI S tronic 50 mpg 6.8 s 129–130 g/km
30 TDI 64 mpg 10.4 s 114–118 g/km
30 TDI S tronic 72 mpg 10.4 s 104–105 g/km
30 TFSI 57 mpg 9.9 s 114–118 g/km
30 TFSI S tronic 55 mpg 9.9 s 115–118 g/km
35 TDI 64–66 mpg - 109–111 g/km
35 TDI S tronic 63 mpg - 117 g/km
35 TFSI 53 mpg 8.2 s 121–125 g/km
35 TFSI S tronic 57 mpg 8.2 s 115–117 g/km
40 TDI S tronic 57 mpg - 133 g/km
40 TFSI S tronic 44 mpg - 133–138 g/km

Real MPG average for a Audi A3 Sportback (2013)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

30–70 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Audi A3 Sportback (2013)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Does my car need to be dealer serviced to maintain full service history and warranty?

I have a 2016 Audi A3 sportback S-line. Very pleased with it, but it's now due its first service. Do I need to go through Audi? I have an excellent local garage who will inevitably undercut the prices Audi will charge. Will not getting it serviced affect resale value and the warranty? Should I just suck it up and pay through the nose to Audi?
Of course it will. Audi dealers will not take it in part-exchange. You will miss any technical service updates that would routinely be carried out during the course of an (expensive) Audi service. And, to remain under warranty, you would need to prove by a very detailed invoice that the service was carried out precisely to Audi standards using the correct fluids, parts and filters. You have paid well over the odds to get an Audi (rather than a Golf or a Leon or an Octavia), and now you are seeking to save money on servicing. "Excellent local garages" are for cars well out of manufacturer warranty. That's what they do best.
Answered by Honest John
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