Top Gear drives Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TFSI

Most American car enthusiasts will look at the size of this engine and wonder if it actually came from a lawnmower. I’m not sure if Americans have ever seen an engine so small. But in Europe, 1.0 liter engines are all the craze nowadays, with Audi, Volkswagen and Ford pumping out award-winning engines displacing only 1,000cc. So Top Gear recently tested the newly updated Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TFSI to see how it does.

The engine is probably the biggest update for this refreshed Audi A3, as only some new headlights, taillights and some interior bits are changed with this new model. However, the little engine packs a big enough punch to make this a very interesting update. This new base-model engine is a 1.0 liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, but it features some impressive technology and some decent power.

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Audi A3

While 113 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque might not seem like a lot, because it really isn’t, it’s enough to be entertaining in a car this small. Firstly, the engine is very light, being entirely aluminum with forged internals. With lightweight forged internals, the need for a heavier balancer shaft is gone, therefore making the engine even lighter. And the lighter the engine is, the less weight is over the nose and that makes the front end more lively and more fun.

And, this Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TFSI is going to have to be fun to toss around, because it isn’t fast. At all. Actually, it’s quite slow, getting from 0-60 mph in 9.7 seconds. Being such a small displacement engine, it has a bit of lag at the low end and runs out of puff at the top end, which requires you to keep it in the middle of its rev-range, where the majority of turbo boost lives. But, with a six-speed manual transmission, that just allows you to play with the gears more and keep the engine in its power band, which is fun in its own right. But, the tradeoff for that lack of power is fuel economy. With a combined 62.8 mpg (on the incredibly generous EU Cycle), you can more appreciate its small size and power.

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Audi A3

Thankfully, it is quite fun to drive and probably the most entertaining A3 on the market. Because it has so little weight over its front axle, only 88 kg (194 lbs) to be exact, the front end is the sharpest of all A3 variants. There’s less understeer, less tire screech and less traction control interference. This allows it to be good fun to toss around. So the new Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TFSI punches above its weight class to become one of the most entertaining small, economical luxury cars in the segment.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.