Great balance of utility, sport, and appearance
Nothing as yet (too new).
I had to leave my TTQR (unfortunately) for a larger car and I looked at quite a few. The A3 had caught my eye the previous year and after finally test driving it, I felt it would be the right car for me. So far it has lived up to that promise.
Performance from this 2.0 turbo engine is superb. The DSG transmission is probably the best automatic drive-train you can buy for a car like this. Shifting is smooth with no lag and you have the versatility of paddle shifting from the steering wheel. Fuel economy is decent, although I wish it had proved to be closer to EPA (I find I get about 2mpg less). Compared with the 3.2 engine Quattro drive model, I had to pick the 2.0T because it just made more sense. The extra power delivered by the 3.2 is not significant. Although Quattro is a fantastic transmission, it's heavy for this car and I find that the FWD works well enough. I was willing to forgo the Quattro this time--no regrets.
The bi-xenon headlamps are AMAZING. Not only do they self adjust and utilize the same lights for low/high beams, but they turn with you and eliminate the dark spots. They jiggle a little on bumpy roads, but that's a worthy trade-off.
The Open Sky moonroof is great. It's really nice offering your rear passengers the light from above. My only regret is that the moonroof doesn't open more. It seems odd that Audi didn't design it to open by 2 more inches. Otherwise, when closed the panoramic view above is great (much larger than what you find on many other cars).
The seating is good... some people with a wider butt will feel themselves pinched by the sport seats. The rear seating is quite adequate--no oasis of space, but as an athletic 6' tall guy, I can sit there comfortably. And that Open Sky gives me enough light not to feel claustrophobic.
There are plenty of storage places around the car and the glove box is quite decent. The hand brake interferes with the center armrest when pulled up high--weird... but you get used to it.
The sport suspension is firm and you'll feel it on bumpy roads. It's not a luxury ride and some people may be unsatisfied with that. It does seem like the suspension softens a little in the first few thousand miles, so it may not be an issue. However, if I find that it proves to be an annoyance after the first year of ownership, I may just upgrade to the new Koni FSD shocks/struts--there are several strong testimonies that the Koni FSD's really eliminate the annoying feedback from bumpy roads on sport suspensions.
Considering the VW GTI 5-door? Although the drive-train is shared, they are very different otherwise. The Audi is more refined. Also, the GTI doesn't offer bi-xenon or the Open Sky options. I think the A3 just looks better. The GTI shouts "young", so people under 30 may find it more appealing.
* The damned window switches are too sensitive--it's very hard to control them manually (although it is nice that ALL 4 windows will move automatically).
* Only the driver's door has a key hole. So, you can't lower the windows from outside the passenger side.
* The rear seats don't fold down flush... not a huge problem, but Audi should have done better.
* The rear cargo area needs a liner. The default material is way too fragile and will rip/tear in no time. The good thing is that there are 4 utility anchors to keep things put (to prevent damage from things sliding around).
* The default alarm arms with a loud chirp. Huh? This is unnecessary. My TT would "sigh", letting only me know that it is armed instead of telling everyone around me "Hey--I'm leaving my car!"
* Below the armrest is 2 power sockets--nice! By why none closer to the dashboard for things like a GPS or radar detector? I'll have to drill in my own...
* The Open Sky sunroof opening is a little short. I don't see why Audi couldn't have designed it to open 2" more. And the control is a toggle button, rather than the standard Audi/VW dial control--this is slightly annoying, because you have to operate the switch *3* times to get the window fully open.
* The ashtray is useless. However, there is an after-market replacement part to make that whole area forward of the transmission selector a storage bin.
* Like other cars, the rear bumper cover is exposed paint just waiting to get scuffed up. No protective molding. You have to do something about it or end up with an eye sore bumper in a year or two (either rubber strips or a clear plastic coating of some kind).
* The front wipers are GREAT, but you can't lift them up--they hit the hood. Weird. You just get used to cleaning the window without raising the wipers (which you can do).
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th September, 2007