THE latest addition to the Audi A3 family is the saloon and it’s probably the most stylish too.

At first glance, it seems like a smaller version of the A4 – it’s certainly more business-like than the other cars in the range. Primarily aimed at the American and Chinese markets, it is also expected to be popular with company car drivers in the UK.

It is based on the A3 Sportback, but the saloon is longer and wider and combines a sporty stance with practicality – an impressive 425 litres of boot space, for example.

There are three engines to choose from – two petrol and one diesel – and two trims, Sport and S line. A new 1.6 TDi is about to join the range, although I drove the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, a sensible choice, but you can’t argue with the economy – you get all that Audi loveliness, yet still achieve almost 69 miles to the gallon, although I managed considerably less than that – which suggests my driving style is less than perfect.

The electric power steering is light and accurate and the drive is slick and smooth - this is a car that is very much at home on A-roads and motorways.

Standard equipment includes alloy wheels, dual zone climate control, iPod connectivity Bluetooth and a multi-function steering wheel along with the latest version of Audi's MMI (multimedia interface) infotainment system.

Options included a Bang & Olufsen sound system (£750 and worth every penny in my humble opinion), a panoramic glass sunroof, electric lumbar support and adaptive cruise control. There are a lot of extras, but Audi buyers seem happy to pay the price for the extra features and all-important luxuries.

The A3 saloon comes with seven airbags, stability control and Isofix child seat points as standard, although I felt it was a little bit cramped in the back when fastening seatbelts over my four-year-old’s booster seat.

Optional active safety equipment includes blind spot and lane keep warning, adaptive cruise and a parking camera. All models have a space saver spare wheel and an electric parking brake.

This year, the A3 range will introduce its first hybrid variant – the petrol-electric A3 e-tron, capable of covering up to 188mpg while emitting as little as 35g/km of CO2.

But I’m particularly looking forward to driving the new A3 cabriolet – although summer feels like a long way away at the moment.

Audi A3 saloon 2.0 TDi
Price: £35,600
Top speed: 136mph
0-62mph: 8.7 seconds
Fuel: 68.9mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 107g/km