2004 Audi A3 Quattro Luxe 3.2 V6 DSG from France


Good compact GT, but some timing and DSG issues to be aware of


Normal for this car apparently: Recall 28E9 on ignition coils, DSG Mechatronic, timing chain and tensioners, door lock mechanism micro switches, DSG lever dust protector broken, front seats recline mechanism, radiator leaking (Swiss origin = salt), water pump, axle gaiter.

General Comments:

I had an Audi S3 2001 1.8T Quattro manual 6 speed before. Both are more small GT cars. The S3 had 210 HP and annoying 6-speed gearbox due to low torque at low revs. My new A3 with 3.2L has plenty or torque low end and goes past 8,000 RPM anytime. It has 250 HP also and the DSG is very pleasant.

The A3 is better than the previous S3 and could be called an S3 as well, but Audi made a turbocharged S3 with more power so... I have to call it an A3...

In fact when you think about it, the A3 3.2L QUATTRO DSG is close to a Nissan GTR except it has less power (not turbo) and less electronics. For the rest it has similar DSG, Quattro and is 500kg lighter!

It drinks around 11L/100 km average. You can go down to 8.5L, but it is boring.

If you forget the little snags here and there (still much better than a BMW!) the car is good. My previous A3/S3 had issues with dashboard and so. This one version is reliable and everything works past 228 000 km. Dash, 6 CD radio changer with great Bose system and bass booster in the trunk.

I have one issue with the front seats: painful on the hips/thighbone (and I am 1.8m for 72 kg, nothing special about my profile...).

MAIN: Absolutely avoid Long Life intervals. Oil should be changed every 10 000 km or every year.

My car, like many other Audis having a V6 with a chain, had a worn chain and eventually it jumped one tooth. No damage, but idle was really bad when cold only. Had to remove the engine and DSG from below, separate them and change the timing chains and tensioners. 30 hours work! + doctor.

I found this spring loaded tensioner jammed due to dark deposit. Is that burned oil? Smoke deposit? I cannot tell... But you will hate it when you buy one with this problem. It can happen at 150 000km so be careful! VAG COM can tell you the phase out of each camshaft so that you know if it is good or not (maximum is +/- 8° - mine had -7 and -10° and therefore the engine light on the dash... that I did not trust when I bought it - lack of information - that you have now!!)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th July, 2017

2004 Audi A3 SE 2.0 FSI from UK and Ireland


Solid, refined and handsome - a bit like me


Oil leak on the engine due to a worn out part, repaired by Audi at a cost of £250 in a hurry due to having to sell the car.

The car overheated one morning due to an incorrect ratio of coolant and water in the system, along with the wrong type of coolant. Make sure you use the correct type.

Fairly soon after this, the coolant warning lamp came on again during a journey. Pulled over to check and couldn't see any problem. The car was driving perfectly and I never really got to the bottom of that one.

When I first bought the car, I needed to top the coolant level up every now and then - although this somehow fixed itself over time.

Cruise control would occasionally stop working for no apparent reason (9 out of 10 times it would be fine, though).

General Comments:

Being the SE model, my A3's suspension was not as firm as the Sport models, making it more of a relaxing cruiser - strong, confident power when you needed it, but not what I would call a sporty drive. This was just what I wanted, with its smooth magic carpet ride making it a great car for longer journeys.

I was genuinely impressed with the engine. I was a little apprehensive about getting a 2.0 petrol, but it really was surprisingly economical at around the 40 MPG mark - I never drove it hard, but I also did a lot of short journeys and I reckon I was getting better MPG from the Audi than from my previous 1.6 Focus. It really was so quiet and refined, too. Drive it carefully and you have to listen for the sound of the engine running. The whole car felt of such a high quality.

And the A3 really is a great looking car. It has such an understated, but well-composed and handsome profile from any angle. It think that's why it's aged so well, and is exactly the kind of design I like. I actually prefer the look of the pre-facelift A3s without the 'goatee' front radiator. I also had a full cream leather interior and wood-finish dash - I never saw another A3 in the same spec, so I always felt grateful about that. Rear visibility wasn't particularly good, however, so parking sensors were genuinely helpful.

With the few problems I had, the A3 wasn't perfect - but overall it was still a great car. It was always a pleasure to be in, with its solid composure on the road and well-balanced handling. You do pay more to buy an A3, but as someone who appreciates cars, it felt worth it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 21st April, 2014