The A3 Sportback is immediately recognisable at first glance in the rear-view mirror: the dominant feature of its front end is the striking single-frame radiator grille which - after the 12-cylinder A8 and the new A6 - is now the distinctive mark of another vehicle in the latest Audi generation. The marked tapering of the sides and the dynamic shape of the clear-glass headlights give the face of the car that extremely self-confident and forceful character for which Audi is famous.
The silhouette of the A3 Sportback when viewed from the side becomes flatter towards the rear of the car in typical coupé fashion - a feature this model shares with the styling of its three-door counterpart. The gently rearward sloping roof line incorporates the tail end, which is 68 millimetres longer, harmoniously into the powerful overall proportions of the car as it sits low on the road. The optional roof rails also emphasise the coupé-like silhouette of the A3 Sportback effectively.
With their particularly powerful contours, the round wheel arches appear to be resting on the foundations of the sill area, which is separated from the dynamic line. Large wheels of between 16 and 18 inches in size underline the impression of masculine athleticism and make the dynamic potential of the new Audi A3 Sportback clearly visible even when stationary.
The visual centre of gravity of the A3 Sportback is thus to be found at its powerful rear end, creating the impression that the entire car is about to leap forward. With its economical use of lines and graphically divided surfaces, the rear-end styling is as discreet as it is impressive.
As on the three-door model, the visible tailpipes extending out of the single or double-chamber exhaust system - depending on engine version - are an indication of the car's dynamism. And the rear lights high up at the back of the car accentuate the trapezoidal design of the rear end particularly at night, giving the new Audi A3 Sportback its powerful appearance from behind.
The interior design of the Audi A3 Sportback is distinguished by two features: sportiness and elegance. This impression is conveyed by the low seat position, in typical sports car style, the high and wide centre console and the clear, generous subdivision of the dashboard.
The new Audi generation of steering wheels is being introduced in the compact class for the first time with the A3 Sportback. These three and four-spoke steering wheels can be recognised by their trapezoidal central element, the lines of which allude to the design of the single-frame front grille.
The attractive appearance of the interior surfaces and each individual detail is the result of excellent material quality and a perfect finish at the highest level of craftsmanship. This high standard by no means benefits the passengers alone, but is also reflected in the quality appearance of the luggage compartment.
Superior ergonomic design is combined with equally outstanding aesthetic qualities throughout the car's interior: typical examples are the round air vents with aluminium surrounds, the rotary knobs on the automatic air conditioning and the numerous aluminium trims, for the door and glove compartment handles for instance.
The interior is outstanding not only for its quality, but also for the amount of space it offers. Driver and passengers enjoy outstanding roominess in all areas. Rear passengers also benefit from plenty of knee room and headroom. They too have absolutely no trouble getting into the A3 Sportback, through the wide-opening rear doors.
The luggage compartment has a capacity of 370 litres, 20 litres more than the three-door Audi A3. This can be increased to as much as 1,120 litres by folding down the rear seat back.