With up to 250PS delivered via motor sport-derived DSG transmission technology, and practicality guaranteed by an extended five-door body shell, Audi is claiming that the new A3 Sportback offers the best possible combination of pace and versatility in the premium compact sector.
Available in the UK from September priced from £16,010 OTR to £24,625 OTR, the new Audi A3 Sportback not only brings the latest Audi single frame front grille to the compact class for the first time, but also integrates even more rear passenger space and luggage capacity.
Like its three-door counterpart, the new hatchback offers the widest range of four and six-cylinder petrol and TDI engines in its segment, and combines these with either five or six speed manual transmission, optional six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission or the much lauded semi-automatic Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG).
It is also the first Audi to feature a new turbo charged 2.0 T FSI petrol unit with 200PS and an impressive 280Nm torque peak, enabling the A3 Sportback 2.0 T FSI with DSG to accelerate from rest to 62mph in just 7.1 seconds, and where permissible to continue to a top speed of 146mph.
Although the purposeful styling and performance hatch pace might suggest otherwise, the A3 Sportback is also a genuinely practical car capable of accommodating up to five adults or an active family in comfort. As well as wide-opening rear doors, it offers even more knee and head room than the three-door A3, not to mention forthcoming premium compact competitors, thanks in part to the 68 millimetre increase in body length, and also to the fact that engines are mounted transversely and drive the front wheels, minimising engine and transmission intrusion into the cabin.
The luggage compartment also gains 20 litres more capacity than the three-door A3, giving a total of 1,120 litres with the standard fit folding rear seat lowered. In addition, it accommodates an underfloor spare wheel - an obvious advantage which is absent in some premium compact rivals.
The new A3 Sportback is available in standard, SE and Sport trim. Specification is virtually identical to the three-door with the addition of rear electric windows for all models. A wide range of extras will be offered, including a combined DVD satellite navigation system and MP3 music player and a two-part Open Sky glass sunroof system which will enable much of the roof section to be retracted for maximum fresh air (from 2005).