Based on the A3 compact sedan, the 2016 Audi A3 TDI Sportback combines the practicality of a hatchback and the efficiency of diesel power in a premium compact package. A large cargo area and sporty handling should make the TDI Sportback an attractive choice for long-range commuters with active, gear-heavy lifestyles.
Should offer the same crisp handling as the sedan; expect impressive diesel fuel economy and overall range; versatile cargo capacity.
Taller rear-seat passengers still not likely to catch a break in this sleek hatchback.
The 2016 Audi A3 TDI Sportback is an all-new model.
We were disappointed when we first learned that Audi would recast the sporty A3 hatchback only as a sedan for its second generation. Apparently we weren't the only ones, as Audi executives cite the hatchback's "passionate and loyal" fan base as responsible for reintroducing the five-door to the new A3 line. Whether this is a sincere reaction to customer outcry or simply shrewd marketing, we're just happy to see the 2016 Audi A3 TDI Sportback return among the offerings.
There's a catch, however. The A3 Sportback is available only as a gasoline-electric hybrid or with a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder. And it's only available with front-wheel-drive. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel in the TDI Sportback makes 150 horsepower and an estimated 236 pound-feet of torque, and pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission. Audi hasn't announced fuel economy estimates yet, but figure close to 40 mpg combined (the last A3 TDI achieved 34 mpg combined, while a similar engine in the current Volkswagen Jetta TDI delivers 42 mpg combined).
The Sportback will likely follow the A3 sedan's Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. It will offer Audi's MMI interface to control the optional navigation system, audio-entertainment and interior functions. Audi Drive Select, which oversees steering weight, throttle and transmission response and suspension tuning will also be available. WiFi will be an available option, as will Facebook and Twitter alerts, read-aloud news headlines and Internet radio via Audi Connect smartphone integration.
The A3 TDI Sportback's standard and available safety features should also mirror the sedan, and include a rearview camera, blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, frontal collision warning and automatic braking, front and rear parking sensors and an automated parking system.
With both diesel and hybrid powertrains, the A3 Sportback recognizes only a few rivals. The Lexus CT 200h is a hybrid hatchback that offers excellent fuel economy and only slightly less power than the A3 Sportback. For similar cargo utility and luxury appointments, the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is a notable (and notably more expensive) alternative.
The Audi A3 TDI Sportback should arrive at dealers in the summer of 2015. Diesel powertrains typically command a premium over base gasoline models, so expect the Sportback to start higher than the A3 sedan's current starting price of $30,795. Check back for a full review of the 2016 Audi A3 TDI Sportback, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.