2015 Audi A3 Sportback 1.4TFSI COD Review: Long-term report one

$47,890 Mrlp
  • Fuel Economy
    4.7L
  • Engine Power
    110kW
  • CO2 Emissions
    110g
  • ANCAP Rating
    5Stars

We've got three months in the Audi A3 COD - check out our first impressions here.

After spending three months in the 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet it was time to trade it in for something a little more climate suitable. So, for the next three months we will be updating you on the 2015 Audi A3 Sportback 1.4TFSI COD.

We thought a five-door hatchback seemed better suited to the less drop-top-friendly temperatures over the winter months, and with nice things like dual-zone climate control and front seat heating fitted to our car, it’s sure to hit the spot.

The Audi A3 Sportback 1.4TFSI COD is priced as the second model up the A3 range, slotting in just below forty grand. Indeed, its $39,100 plus on-road costs price tag makes it fairly rare in this segment, with rivals such as the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class clambering over the $40K barrier for their second-tier models.

Still, our car isn’t the standard thing. It’s fitted with a range of different option packs that, combined, push its cost towards $50K. They include:

The Technik package (at $2790), which consists of an extended version of Audi’s MMI Navigation system with a touchpad input controller, along with a colour driver information screen, parking sensors with semi-automated parking assistance, and an upgraded Audi sound system.

The Style package ($2000) includes xenon plus headlights and 17-inch alloy wheels in a five-arm design, and as well as that there’s the Comfort package ($2200), which includes electric front seat adjustment and heating, keyless entry, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and kerb-view folding side mirrors.

The final pack fitted is the Assistance package ($1800), which is all about making the car safer and more comfortable to drive. There’s adaptive cruise control, Audi pre sense autonomous braking, a lane-departure warning system, high-beam assistant and Audi side assist blind-spot monitoring.

Now, back to that lengthy model name – in case you’re wondering what COD stands for, it’s Cylinder On Demand. That’s because this premium German hatchback can cut off two of its cylinders and run as a two-cylinder engine when required.

There’s no surprise, then, that it’s currently the most efficient petrol-powered Audi A3 you can buy, with claimed fuel consumption of 4.7 litres per 100 kilometres. However, that’s only 0.2L/100km better than the standard model, and the newly added plug-in hybrid A3 e-tron that embarrasses it for claimed consumption (1.6L/100km).

The engine is a 1.4-litre turbocharged unit producing 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque, and it drives the front wheels through a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. To give a little bit of context, the entry-level A3 hatch has 92kW and 200Nm – so despite being a frugal thing, this is a reasonably peppy car, too.

Indeed, most of the people who drove it over the early weeks of our loan commented on how willing the engine felt, with a free-revving nature and a nice amount of low-down torque. There’s a slog of torque from just 1500rpm that stays on until 3500rpm, and peak power hits from 5000-6000rpm.

As we’ve written in the past, the dual-clutch transmission has some hesitancy from a standstill, but once you learn how the gearbox wants to behave it is easy to counteract in most circumstances. There are, however, moments when you plant your foot and seemingly wait a little longer than you’d hope for the initial progress to be made – crossing intersections, for instance.

In terms of that high-tech fuel-saving system, our first impressions are that you can barely tell when the car drops to two cylinders, which it will do under low load – so, coasting downhill or at, say, 80km/h on a flat road. If you need to punch the throttle hard, it will switch back to four-cylinder mode instantly.

As we’ve written in the past, the A3’s cabin is arguably the best in this class, and our first impressions of how the hatch will be to live with have been promising, to say the least.

There’s leather trim and nice aluminium finishing across the dashboard and doors, and there’s enough space for four adults – not to mention air vents in the second row.

The boot is big enough for a pair of large suitcases and there is ample storage throughout the cabin, including big door pockets and cup holders front and back.

Over the remainder of this loan we’re handing the car over to a couple of members of the CarAdvice team that don’t usually write about cars. They are Jordie Bodlay, the head of our Sydney IT team and lead solutions architect, and Alexis Dewick, our designer and front-end developer.

We’re giving them a chance to give us their respective thoughts on the car – not just how it drives or what it’s like to park, but also using their expertise to assess critical aspects of the A3 Sportback.

Jordie will offer up some feedback on the technological side of things – and there’s quite a bit to talk about in that regard – while Alexis’ eye for design and interface interaction means she’ll no doubt have a bit to say about her likes and/or dislikes about the car.

Stay tuned for our updates over the coming months.

Click the Photos tab above for more images by Christian Barbeitos.