Category: Lower medium
Prices: £17,225-£28,135
Key rival: BMW 1 series

What’s new: Audi’s stylish premium hatch receives the most powerful 170PS 2.0-litre turbo diesel that also lives under the bonnet of sporty Seat Leons, Skoda Octavias and Volkswagen Golfs.

Excellent: The interior oozes quality and the smart business-like A3 projects a classy image. The new engine offers up effortless and surprisingly relaxing go.

Good: For just £825 more on the P11D and 1.3ppm more to run you get performance in another league to the regular 140PS 2.0-litre, sprinting to 60 in less than 8.3secs v 9.7secs, while topping 138mph and averaging an impressive 48.7mpg.

Average: Steering is a little light and lacking in feel, and overall the car’s not the most entertaining to drive in its class. You’ll notice a firm ride, even without the S-line sports suspension, too.

Poor: The P11D’s a little heavy at an eye-widening £21,257, especially since that’s without leather. The equivalent Golf has a P11D £1800 less than the A3. And it’s cramped in the rear.

Verdict: Engine delivers tyre-shredding ability without sacrificing economy, but for most, the lower 140PS version makes better fiscal sense. Only performance lovers need apply.