Audi A3 Sportback S Line's advanced tech and design trump BMW and Mercedes – it's a pleasure to drive

THERE are certain moments in life when you feel like you’re winning.

When you hit a drive like Rory McIlroy.

When you make a 40 break.

When you spot your missus has had a haircut without being prompted.

When you find a bargain on the sale rail.

When you take the family out for dinner and realise the kids eat free.

When you’re running late . . . but all the traffic lights turn green.

That’s enough. You know what I’m on about.

I’m on about that “Yessss!” moment that makes you feel positively happy inside.

Well, I get that exact same feeling in the new Audi A3.

It’s so buttery smooth and easy, it’s a pleasure to drive fast or slow, short or long distances. I can’t fault it.

Everything just works in perfect harmony like, er, the well-oiled machine that it is.

I’ll admit that when my test car first showed up I thought, “Oh no, this doesn’t look much different, how am I going to write 400 words on this?”

But as soon as I hopped inside, I got it. I knew we’d be friends. Audi don’t make duff cars and the revamped A3 cabin is typically brilliant, striking the right balance between hi-tech and sensible switches, design and comfort.

Those hexagonal air vents could have been nicked off a Lambo. But above all that, it rides beautifully and feels safe and reassuring.

Wind and road noise? I have nothing to say. This thing is as quiet as a library.

Even the not-so-basic 1-litre A3 Technik at £23,875 has all-round LED lights, 10in touchscreen, 3D mapping and a digital driver’s binnacle as standard. Finance from £290 a month.

And here’s another thing that pleases. Unlike the new VW Golf and Seat Leon which have touch-sensitive controls, this car has actual physical buttons for the air con. Thank you, Audi.

Win 007 keyring

CONFESSION. This 007 key ring from Aston’s £3.3million DB5 gadget car somehow ended up in my pocket.

I have absolutely no idea how that happened. It’s made of sterling silver so it’s worth about £300. Only the 25 lucky sods who buy a DB5 Goldfinger will get one – and now possibly YOU.

For your chance to win it, colour in the DB5 and send a photo to [email protected] by September 14, 2020. The winner will be chosen at random.

I’ve loved the DB5 since I was a toddler. It didn’t disappoint. To see all the gadgets in action, go to

But I’m not so fond of the touchwheel controller — like an old iPod — for the sound system.

Other observations. Five-door only. Decent boot at 380 litres. But beware the options list or it could soon get expensive.

As for engines, the 150hp 1.5-litre turbo petrol I tested is the sweet spot. Go for the seven-speed S tronic auto and that combines with a 48v mild hybrid system to save fuel and add an extra dollop of torque. Plug-in hybrid to follow.

Want something faster? Sit tight because the S3 is just around the corner, as is a glorious five-cylinder RS3. That thing could embarrass a supercar in the right hands.

Do big miles? You’ll want the 2-litre diesel. That should be good for 62mpg.

Most buyers will be seduced by the badge and the advanced tech but underneath all that is a well-engineered, rock-solid family car.

My new top three posh cars of this size are as follows: 1. Audi A3; 2. BMW 1 Series; 3. Merc A-Class.

Key facts:

Audi A3 Sportback S Line

Price: £28,205

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol Power:150hp, 250Nm

0-62mph: 8.4 secs

Top speed: 139mph

Economy: 45mpg

Rivals: BMW 1 Series, Mercedes A-Class

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