Audi A3 hailed by What Car?

Judges have hailed the Audi A3 Sportback as having taken the family hatchback to a new level.

What Car? named the Sportback as its car of the year and best small family car at a ceremony held in central London. Capping a fine night for the car giant, its TT was named the best coupe for the seventh time.

Editor-in-chief of What Car? Chas Hallett said that the Audi A3 Sportback boasted "excellent refinement and an accomplished driving experience". He added that the Sportback had "easily the finest cabin quality ever seen in a small family hatchback".

And with the car being keenly priced for Audi car buyers, he added it "sets a new benchmark".

Martin Sander, director of Audi UK, said: "The A3 has never before faced such formidable competition, so the category win for this all-new car is in itself an achievement to be incredibly proud of.

"To win the overall Car Of The Year award is something else entirely, though. This great honour marks the car out as something truly special in the eyes of UK car buyers, and is of course also highly prized by all of us at Audi."

Meanwhile, Ford picked up four awards. It was honoured in the supermini category, for the Fiesta, the family car section (won by the Mondeo), the estate car list (also topped by the Mondeo) and "best hot hatch" - the Ford Focus ST-1.

Hallett described Ford's cars as "great to drive and reliable", making them "great buys".

BMW toasted the best SUV award for the BMW X3. The BMW 320d ED automatic was hailed as the best executive car, while the Mini Roadster Cooper S took the blue ribbon as best open-top car.

In the performance bracket, the Porsche Boxster 2.7 was named sports car of the year, while the Seat Alhambra was named the multi-purpose vehicle of the year.

Luxury car of the year was won by Britain's own Range Rover, while the Volkswagen Up took the trophy for best city car.

In greener pastures, the Mazda won the low-carbon emissions award, while readers of What Car? voted the Alfa Romeo 4C as 2013's most exciting model.

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