Performance and 0-60mph time
Nothing in the Audi A3 Sportback range is particularly slow, although you'd definitely label the three-cylinder 1-litre TFSI's performance as 'willing' rather than 'quick'. A 0-62mph time of 9.6 seconds is most definitely nothing to write home about.
The turbocharged petrol engines are all quite rev-happy lumps, which means you need to work them harder than the torque-rich diesels, but while the 1.6 TDI is quiet in operation and easy on the black stuff, the 2.0 TDI is the superior engine. Offering up 148bhp, it's all the turbodiesel you'll ever need, as the A3 Sportback weighs slightly more than 1300kg in this configuration and its 251lb ft from 1750- to 3000rpm is therefore wholly adequate.
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Weight varies throughout the A3 model range. The 1-litre manual weighs just 1180kg, but move all the way up to a 2.0-litre TDI quattro and your seeing weight gains of 240kg. The S-Tronic dual-clutch gearbox for example weighs 20kg more than the manual options, but it's opting for quattro 4WD that really adds weight, bulking the A3 Sportback up by a further 100kg Specifying quattro also relieves you of 40 litres of boot space, due to the extra hardware required and the fitment of a larger 55-litre fuel tank (front-wheel drive Sportbacks have 50-litre tanks).
The S3 Sportback features a 2-litre TFSI petrol engine which can be optioned with either a six speed manual gearbox or alternatively, an S Tronic auto. At 306bhp, it's bested only by the lightning-quick 362bhp RS3 Sportback for outright performance.