There’s an engine to suit all tastes and budgets in the A3 range, all of which are turbocharged. Even the smallest petrol, the 1.0 with 113bhp, is smooth at most speeds, and just about quick enough to keep up with the pace of traffic, while the 148bhp 1.4 feels impressively brisk. They’re so strong, in fact, that they make the 187bhp 2.0-litre seem rather pointless, even though it does offer a fine combination of hot hatch performance with temptingly low running costs. The diesel choices include a 1.6 with 108bhp and 2.0-litre units with either 148bhp or 181bhp. While the 1.6 has enough pace to get by, performance can feel pretty breathless and not all that smooth or quiet. The 2.0 engines seriously up the ante in both areas. The more powerful version is quick enough to worry some performance hatches, but noisier when you work it hard. The S3 has a 2.0-litre petrol with 306bhp, and it sends power to all four corners thanks to a sophisticated four-wheel drive system. While it’s undeniably quick, it doesn’t feel as devastating as the numbers suggest. The e-tron plug-in hybrid version combines petrol and electric power, and is supposed to offer performance and economy in equal measure. It's very refined, but not particularly fast, and feels hampered by the weight of the battery pack, although initial acceleration is brisk thanks to the instant torque delivered by the electric motor. Whichever engine you choose, refinement is the A3's real strength, and its petrol engines are especially impressive in this regard. All the engines come with the option of either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch gearbox, but there is little compromise to be made in choosing the auto; in many cases, the S tronic A3s are quicker and cleaner than their manual counterparts.