A3 2.0 DSG
Good Hot compact
exterior looks, powerful design elements, crisp steering, dsg transmission,
Bad Front wheel
drive, not much headroom in back seats, navigation controls are far to
reach, price can increase rapidly.
Apple QuickTime viewer here. Watch the A3 and hear its exhaust.
Audi's most recent new vehicle for the US market is the 2006
Audi A3 2.0, sold in Europe since 1996 but only now available to us here. A
hot and trendy design in mini wagon form built for passionate driving, the
A3 hopes to sell better than other small offerings from BMW and Mercedes.
Recently having won a double best pick from the insurance institute for highway
safety, Audi becomes the first manufacturer to have three cars winning as a
double best pick. Ingolstadt's newest car in the US sometimes looks like a
VW dressed well for dinner. The stylish, progressive, younger crowd is just
what Audi is going after, and it wants to filter out the ones which want the
Audi name and are willing to pay for it.
design of the Audi A3 is a unique and exciting piece of work. From the new
face of the Audi grille to its low and mean looking hood and front bumper,
the Audi A3 is pure exhilaration. Take a look from the side and this Audi
A3 reminds us of the previous A4 in size. The slight slope as you approach
the rear is a modern and fresh design scheme used by many. The Audi A3 sits
low, with large 17-inch wheels. Wheel gaps are equally small for a superb
fit. We like the large front grille and low mounted fog lamps. The rear
end is sculpted and looks strong.
is typical Audi with great build quality and a drivers seating position.
The low seat position up front and firm seats with hard bolsters keeps you
in place. Leather seating surfaces feel very good. There is nothing like
the feel of true aluminum trim and the interior of our Audi A3 has plenty.
This created a very sporty ambiance. Large solid door handles feel great to
the touch. A deep armrest in each front door with grab handle was perfect.
The shift gate moves with a solid feeling, just a bit notchy. The steering
wheel is wrapped with soft leather and is of very good thickness, perforated
leather around the sides was even better. Seat bolsters are also made for
sporty driving. Our favorite dial buttons on the steering wheel are great
and very easy to use. Everything is located in near prefect location from
the driver except the navigation control knob, which is hard to use in its
the instrument cluster of the Audi A3 glows red, with a crisp liquid red
color of the needles highlighting the dash. High quality can also be found
in the dual moonroofs which attach nicely and retract smoothly in the Audi
A3. Wind noise was a bit high with the main front sunroof fully open. Rear
seating legroom and width is good. The seating position is flatter and
higher for a good view but you are very close to the roof panel. If you are
tall we suggest you try the rear seats before buying this car. You will
notice the grey stitching on the dark black leather seats as another nice
touch. The luggage compartment is a roomy 36.4 cubic feet and carpeted
nicely showing good quality throughout. A small pass through is available
for skis as well as easy single button lowering of the seats in a split
A3's navigation system is very easy to use and quick, not to mention
beautiful. It is one of our favorite systems and allows quick operation and
lookup by phone number so you do not have to always input a long address.
Bose speakers add high quality sound to the stereo system with six-disc CD
changer built into the dash unit. 2 SD card slots located behind the screen
allow you to carry MP3 music in a light and inexpensive format. Optional
Satellite radio truly sounded very good with this great sound system. These
features make the Audi A3 feel like a very modern vehicle.
automatic climate control system in the Audi A3 works very well, set a
temperature and forget about the rest. A pollen filter keeps out smelly
fumes and a sun sensor helps raise or lower temperature when sun is facing
your skin. A host of other features are available like rain sensor, trip
computer, and anti theft alarm system. Our tester featured the optional
xenon headlamps which we think are a essential option in today's cars.
A3 offers two engine choices; our tester was equipped with the 2.0T FSI four
cylinder engine with turbocharger, while a six cylinder can also be had.
The four cylinder produces 200 horsepower and 207 lbs. ft. or torque from
1,800 to 5,000 rpm. This is the first production engine which combines
direct injection with a turbocharger. The engine is very powerful for this
front wheel drive Audi A3. We would much rather have a all wheel drive
system as we could hear screeching many times when accelerating with only
the front wheels. The alternative 3.2 liter V6 engine producing 250
horsepower and 237 lbs. ft. of torque is combined with a Quattro all wheel
drive system and DSG transmission is available on the Audi A3 for slightly
more money. Our tests revealed a 0 – 60 mph time of 6.2 seconds.
Revolutionary is the DSG transmission which is the way all cars should be
sold from Audi. A conventional six speed manual gearbox is the basis of the
transmission providing acceleration without interrupting the flow of power
from the engine. Shifts are handled extremely quickly with a ‘puff' of the
exhaust. Paddle shifting at the steering wheel is a option, as is a sport
mode which holds gears and upshifts as you slow down keeping rpm's high. It
is all very fun and we wish it would replace all automatics. Perhaps the
only flaw is that when shifting to park, the car moves a bit too much before
coming to rest, so an electronic parking brake should be standard.
characteristics really show themselves behind the wheel of the Audi A3.
Everything you would expect from a German brand can be had in the Audi A3
except for one little item, four wheel drive. The suspension is a sporty
and agile four link system offering good stability and cornering. Road feel
is excellent and cornering is predictive. Comfort from the suspension is on
the sporty side. A electromechanical steering with speed dependent power
assistance offers excellent feel and ease of use in all conditions. Power
comes on strong due to the turbo charger and the sudden push can be too much
for just the front wheels, especially when turning.
journeys, the Audi A3 can get a bit tiring even though it still urges you to
go faster. The low seating position and hard seats are not as comfortable
as a Mercedes or a BMW. And the low roofline gets very close as you raise
either front seat. Headroom is also low in the rear seating compartment
where even 5'10” persons felt as if they were hitting the roof. The dual
sky roof does help give the interior a more open feeling, however we just
wish the roof was either higher or the seat a bit lower.
car started at a base retail price of $26,140 with the automatic DSG
gearbox. Metallic paint added an extra $450. The Audi navigation plus
sound package adds our favorite nav system with a great premium Bose sound
system for $2,850. A sport package for $1,800 ads the large 17 inch alloy
wheels with summer performance tires for extreme grip, a sport suspension,
aluminum trim, leather multifunction sport steering wheel, roof spoiler, fog
lights, leather seating surfaces and sport seats. The dual sunroof system
called open sky is for $1,100. A cold weather package costs $700 and offers
ski sack and heated front seats, heated windshield washer nozzles and heated
exterior mirrors. Xenon headlights are an additional $500. Satellite radio
adds $350. Driving a car with all these options truly lets you feel like
you are driving a modern machine. We still felt uncomfortable without power
front seats and dimming rearview mirrors. Remember most Audi dealers offer
generous discounts so a price close to invoice is what is a real world
features are great as in most German vehicles. Dual front airbags and
active front head restraints are standard. Seat belt chimes force you to
wear the seat belts in both front positions. Side airbags as well as
inflatable curtain airbags and optional side airbags in the rear compartment
add to the safety devices.
A3 features a four year or 50,000 mile warranty with full maintenance
included as well as roadside assistance should you ever have a flat tire.
EPA fuel mileage is listed at 25 city and 31 highway.
seeking German quality in a small aggressive car the Audi A3 is great.
Quality is better than VW vehicles, combined with firmness, better
navigation system, and maintenance included in the price makes this a good
buy. Would someone buy this over a A4 avant? That is questionable but
sufficient styling differences make the Audi A3 look more fun and exciting.
Price can get high and so we would encourage Audi to keep prices low in the
future. The fully loaded price of the Audi A3 should be $25,000. The
competition offers different vehicles for less price and so the unique buyer
who loves Audi styling will be drawn in with this slightly lower priced car
when he could not reach the price of a new A4. Minor improvements such as
power seats, automatic headlights, and dimming rearview mirrors would make
you feel like you have bought a complete car. We used to believe that
Audi's were a bargain when compared to a comparable BMW or Mercedes however
now you only save a few thousand dollars. We would like to save about
$5,000 and get a truly better car for the money.