Fast, fun, stylish, economical and beautifully engineered
I bought the car from a Volkswagen dealer. I collected it at 6pm on a Friday evening, and within 2 hours I was stranded at the side of the road and on the phone to Volkswagen Assistance, arranging to have the car collected due to a total loss of power & refusing to start...
Me and the car were recovered home within 90 minutes, then on the Saturday the Audi was recovered back to Volkswagen to be fixed. They had the car for around 10 days (I had a 2009 VW Eos convertible as a courtesy car, which was nice) and it turned out to be a fuel line, which had come loose near the fuel tank. This caused a total loss of power because the fuel system uses incredibly high pressure to inject the diesel into the cylinders - a lack of fuel meant that the system couldn't operate properly, so the engine just shut down...
While the car was being fixed, Audi technicians noticed & replaced rear suspension strut mount bearings that were knocking, and also balanced the wheels as there was a slight vibration in the steering above 80mph..
All of the above was sorted free of charge under warranty (inc recovery, courtesy car, parts and labour)..
Despite a rocky start with the Audi, I absolutely adore this car. Everything about it is fantastic! From the engine, gearbox, suspension and handling, through the build quality, interior styling and the sound system, Audi really understand what makes a great car.
Mine is the 140ps model which has an almost linear spread of torque throughout the revs from as low as 1200 rpm, right upto where the power starts to drop off at around 4,200 (redline is 5,500). It takes around 50-55 litres of fuel and gives an average of around 45mpg... Spirited driving empties the tank in around 380 miles, but I'm getting around 450 miles on average (I reckon a long distance motorway journey could see over 500 miles on a single tank).
The 6 speed gearbox is sleek & precise with the top speed somewhere around 130-140mph (I'll report back on that). So far I've only noticed the ESP (traction control) flashing on the dash when I've accelerated hard from a damp roundabout in 2nd gear.
The brakes are fantastic. There's so much immediate bite and feel information passed back through the brake pedal that you really get a sense of what's going on at the tarmac. I recently drove the wife's car - a 2007 Fiesta Zetec S so a bit of a sporty machine - her brakes actually felt dangerous because they were so vague in comparison to the Audi...
The suspension and handling is also very good. Every day driving is an absolute pleasure, the suspension feels very relaxed and calm when pottering about, soaking up the majority of drain grates or potholes with ease. Then, when you hit some quiet, twisty b-roads you can throw the car around with a great deal of confidence, it just corners and tracks so well.
So, it goes quick, stops quicker and handles brilliantly. What about the rest of the car?
Being a Sportback A3, it provides the 5-door functionality without going as far as the A3 Avant (avant = estate) but still retaining the sportiness of the sleeker 3-door A3. There is plenty of leg room in both the front and back, comfortable for 4 adults, but it's a tiny bit tight if there's 3 in the back (especially with me being 6ft 2). The boot is also more than adequate for a hatchback of this size.
I originally thought that an "S-Line" Audi was a regular Audi but with leather seats and a nice red badge. Having looked at the Audi website, I can now tell you that an S-Line comes with: 18 inch alloys, 10mm lower suspension than the Sport model, very comfortable black leather 'bucket style' seats with the S-Line logo embossed in the backrest, S-Line body styling with sportier rear and front bumpers, chrome trimmed tailpipes, a leather S-Line steering wheel, brushed aluminium inlays and various other leather/aluminium/chrome trimmed goodies.
Oh and the trip computer (which I *think* comes as standard on all the A3s) comes with a ridiculous amount of info readouts = average miles per gallon, actual miles per gallon updated every 2 seconds or so, how many miles till next refuel, time driving since the engine was turned, time driving since new, oil temperature, how many miles til next service, the list goes on and on...
So, in summary, it's a fast, economical, comfortable, stylish, and highly functional piece of engineering from Audi. Despite the bits that went wrong when I initially picked the car up, I would definitely recommend Audi, and I would wholeheartedly buy another Audi...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 30th August, 2009