When you think of a sports car, diesel is not the first thing to spring to mind. But the Audi A3 Sport is not your typical sports car. In fact, the new A3 Sport cements Audi in its deserved place as one of the leading car manufacturers.
It may be less spacious than its counterpart, the VW Golf, but even the three-door has enough room for baby seats, as I suddenly noticed halfway through the drive (the ever -observant driver that I am). Thankfully, I did notice the 12-tonne truck pull out in front of me before it demolished the svelte bonnet.
It remains as stylish as you would expect for a sports hatchback, yet a little more practical, with adequate capacity. Sleek aluminium inlays, dual electric climate control and even the front sports seats all come as standard.
But if you are looking for any other extras you may not want to get too carried away, as they can get quite expensive. Nowadays it is common to find sat nav systems built in (much to the relief of those drivers who couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag) but here it will set you back a whopping £1,685.
On the other hand, what you spend in fancy extras you will save in fuel, because the A3 extremely fuel-efficient. With diesel currently averaging £1.39 per litre, it does approximately 594 miles on a full tank of fuel, so a trip to Manchester and back to Cardiff could cost you as little as £74.
The common-rail diesel injection system allows for increased fuel precision, and the revised engines deliver reductions in C02 emissions of up to 15 per cent, from 179g/km to 129g/km, so it’s also great news for more green-minded drivers. For the rest, then at least it will give you peace of mind when you reach the more adventurous high speeds.
On the road it is as poised and elegant as Audrey Hepburn, while its immaculate German engineering offers good noise insulation, making it a great motorway cruiser.
The 2.0 litre TDI diesel model I drove is capable of hitting naught to 62mph in just over eight seconds, and can reach Autobahn restrictive speeds of up to 130mph.
But unless you are Lewis Hamilton, you may question the need for a sixth gear, as the A3 Sport sails down the M4 at 70mph with ease.
Model: A3 Sport 2.0 TDI Diesel
Transmission: 6-speed S Tronic
Price: From £16,883
Car provided by Cardiff Audi.