Launched at the end of last year, the third generation Audi A3 may look much like its predecessor but is fresh from the ground up. Inside it has a beautifully crafted interior and thanks to a longer wheelbase and wider track, it feels a lot more spacious. Available with a bewildering array of options and variations, the 1.6-litre TDI diesel with 99g/km and fuel consumption of 74.3mpg is the one to opt for. On the road it is lively and composed at all speeds but the ride is a little harsh. The steering is responsive and it will appeal to the keen driver. A five-door Sportback has just joined the range and an S3, a high-performance variant, powered by a 2.0TFSI engine with 300 bhp will launch in April.
Starting Price: €25,950
Our Opinion: The A3 has long dominated the premium compact sector; so while the latest version improves refinement, efficiency and comfort, the opposition has sharpened its offerings and that dominance may no longer be taken as a given.