2021 Audi A3 1.5 Sportback Review: Triple Threat

Ben Chia

Go back to Page 1: Introduction

Design and Interior

Very much like the Golf, the A3’s styling is more about evolution than revolution. The basic silhouette is similar to the outgoing model, although Audi says that it is slightly sleeker than before. The most noticeable design highlights are the large Audi Spaceframe grille, the air intakes on the lower front bumper, and the larger and sharper LED headlights that gives the car a more aggressive face than before.

There’s a lot of creases and angles that punctuate the car, and features like the flared wheel arches and the lines down the bonnet serve to give the A3 a noticeably sporty stance. They look more pronounced on cars with a lighter shade, but on our test car’s dark blue colour it comes across as more of a silent killer vibe, like a bouncer wearing a suit.

The more significant changes are inside, where the cabin has been completely revamped. The infotainment screen is now lower down on the centre console, instead of the pop-up item of old, and the 10.1-inch screen is angled towards the driver for easier accessibility. The Multimedia Interface (MMI) controller has gone though, but there’s an iPod-style audio controller down beside the gear selector.

Speaking of which, the one on the A3 has shrunken down to a little nub, as on the Golf and Octavia. It does save a lot of space in the cabin, but it does take a while to get used to. Same goes for the controls for the air conditioning, which are now reduced to a set of toggle switches on the lower centre console, and are strangely not backlit, which makes them a bit fussy to operate at night.

Meanwhile, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is present here as well, while there is also a wireless smartphone charger down by the centre console.

Lane departure warning is available as standard, but other drive assist systems such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist are notably absent here, a strategy that is shared with the Golf, although they are surprisingly available on the higher trim levels of the Octavia.

In terms of interior space, the A3, while slightly bigger in size than its predecessor, retains the same wheelbase as before. There’s a decent amount of legroom for rear passengers though, and there’s a useful pair of USB C chargers below the rear air con vents. Boot space for the Sportback stands at 380 litres, which is fairly decent for a hatchback in this class.

Page 3: Driving Experience

1. Introduction
2. Design and Interior
3. Driving Experience
4. Conclusion and Competition

Pages: 1 2 3 4


5 seat 5-door a3 sportback Audi hatchback petrol RS Q3 Sportback

About the Author

Ben Chia

CarBuyer's print editor went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world. Follow Ben on Instagram @carbuyer.ben

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