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Audi A3 Sportback Car Review | 14 November 2006

Driven November 2006

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Given the Volkswagen group's penchant for parts sharing, it shouldn't come an enormous revelation that the Audi A3 has now benefitted from the Golf's 2.0-litre TDI lump with 168bhp.

With 258lb ft in a car that weighs 1,380kg, it's also hardly surprising that mid-range punch is the most startling aspect to this new engine. The older138bhp diesel is hardly slow in this regard, but isn't a patch on the 168bhp version.

30-70mph is dispatched with commendable ease and on the motorway there's little else out there in terms of family hatches that can match this A3 for in-gear acceleration.

If we had to criticise, it's that the turbo entry point is still a bit rushed so you get a great dump of torque at about 2,000rpm, one that the front wheels struggle with. But once you're through that point, the acceleration just keeps building.

The beauty of this is that you can almost treat the A3 like an automatic as it pulls so well from most increments in the rev range. Leave it in sixth and away you go.

Still, this thing ain't perfect. It's fast, yes, but as when it appears in the Golf, it's not as refined as I'd like. Other diesels don't have as much oil burner rattle as this. Plus, avoid an A3 with Sport suspension as it ruins the ride and this engine, although quick, is best used as a relaxation aid.

Piers Ward

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