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Audi A3 1.8T Sport

Audi

Review

TWENTY-TWO thousand British buyers have paid very good money to have an Audi A3 registered in their name since the compact three-door and five-door hatchback range was launched in October 1996. A high proportion of those sales will have been company funded. Audi's strategy was straightforward, and similar to that of BMW with its Compact 3-series: It needed to add a new base model, lower the marque's entry price and increase the number of customers likely to upgrade to larger models in the future.

On introduction, A3 prices started at ú14,220, with ABS and alloy wheels standard. What buyers also got was an aspirational, stylish car that was great to drive. Two years later, the starter 1.6-litre model goes on the road at ú15,230 and the rest of the pack rises through standard, Sport and SE trims, with 1.6 and 1.8 petrol engines and a 1.9 diesel, to ú27,150 for the S3 quattro. Designed by a Brit, Martin Smith, the A3 remains refreshingly different from the A4 inside and out and, unlike the BMW Compact which borrows heavily from the 3-series saloon parts bin, uses no common body panels.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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