Test drive: Audi A3 2014 Quattro Sportback

There is something about small hatchbacks with a turbo-charged engine, they are practical yet fun to drive. Audi A3 is perhaps one of the most well known small sports hatchbacks out there, and for 2014 Audi improved it so much that it won the World Car of the Year award.

I tested the Audi A3 Quattro, with a 2.0l, 150bhp turbo charged diesel engine making 0-100 km/h in 8.7 seconds. There is a more powerful Audi diesel engine with 184bhp available as well as smaller petrol TFSI engines. Recently Audi also launched a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid version, named e-tron. It’s also surprising that it’s possible to get the Audi A3 in sedan and convertible versions, there is only one sane version though, and that is the hatchback.

As you perhaps already know, I drive a lot in Sweden. I put the Quattro to good use during my test, first in a blizzard in city traffic with no snow being cleared. This is conditions where you really feel the difference between 4WD and FWD/RWR. Of course you have to slow down regardless, but the Audi felt like a tank, there were no skidding, no nasty surprises and after a while I was starting to forget that it was snowing at all.  The car was even equipped with the pesky friction winter tires, without any studs.  Driving long distances on the highway is more enjoyable in the 2014 Audi A3 than in previous versions, it’s less noisy and more stable.

Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf share the same platform (MQB) and are essentially look-a-likes. The Audi A3 looks pretty cool from the front compared to the previous version, it has smaller LED-headlights making the grill look bigger. The back of the car is however more Golf looking.

Inside the car is as usual when it comes to Audi, minimalistic and German. The dials are clear, and I even figured out the Bluetooth handsfree on my first try and it worked fine during the whole test! The seats are comfortable, even a guy with my height had no problems finding a good driving position.

Even-though the A3 and Golf share the same platform and many parts, the Audi A3 feels a lot more responsive, the handling is better and the steering is more precise.

Customers of the Audi A3 are probably more inclined to buy a BMW 1 series. When comparing the two cars the A3 is more comfortable to drive long distances than the BMW 1-series, mainly because the suspension is firmer in the BMW. However the Audi A3 is a bit boring when compared to a 1-series on the road, there are no surprises, when accelerating it does so but without any punch or feeling to it.

The mileage on the diesel is pretty good, selecting an A3 without the 4WD and a smaller engine will of course do wonders to the mileage, but it will also quickly diminish the point with the A3 from the very beginning, which I think is the 4WD.

Overall the Audi A3 Sportback is a great car, while it’s not as fun as the BMW 1-series to drive it’s a good all-round car with great quality, and 4WD makes it even more versatile.

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