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£23,690 when new
Town driving requires nerves of steel, determination and highly selective vision. Hesitation, giving way to other drivers, and leaving more than a hair’s breadth between you and the car in front are all cardinal sins. Punishable by death. But stop-start cars don’t follow those rules. In fact, they positively encourage driver tardiness. After all, who wants to keep stop-starting in traffic? Why not just stay stopped while a gap opens up ahead of you? All you have to do is ignore the cars blaring their horns at you… This stop-start Audi A3 ups the ante even further, because it’s an auto. This is headline news, as previously this tech has only been available on manual cars – you dip the clutch while stationary and the car cuts out; dip it again and the car starts almost immediately. The even bigger headline news is that stop-start with an auto box is not a happy pairing. Especially with a diesel engine. Come to a halt, press the brake and the wait for the car to stop is interminable. See the traffic start to move, push the accelerator and the wait for the car to restart is even longer. Evolution moves faster. Remember when stop-start tech first appeared? When we all thought it was a bit rubbish? Well, welcome to the past. With this combination, it seems like Audi just managed to get us back to square one.
£22,790 – £35,980
Not-quite replacement for the 1M Coupe is fast, fun to drive - and a whopping £10,000 cheaper
£20,500 – £43,215
Merc’s hot hatch has had a revamp. Now even more of a monster
£17,570 – £35,065
It was already great. Now it's even better. It's easy to see why this is many people's default hot hatch