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Audi A3 - what model and accessories?

gsdgirlgsdgirl Posts: 2
I currently have a 1998 Audi A4 Quattro and am considering my next vehicle in the next year or so. The A3 really caught my eye.

A big question: I'm used to Quattro, but I've been driving a manual transmission for 25 years and don't want to give it up to get Quattro. Will I miss it if I get the 2.0 instead of the 3.2? Another consideration is the cost difference between the two.

Second question: Is the DSG automatic THAT great, so much so that a committed stick shift driver like me could really be happy with it? Preferably I would test drive both and compare, but if the demand for manual transmissions is low I may have difficulty finding one on a lot, so I might have to order one without driving it first.

Last question: I'm really intrigued by the open sky system, and haven't had a car without a sunroof in 15-20 years. BUT, I'm concerned about the car heating up since I have two German Shepherds. Does the sunshade make a big enough difference in keeping the heat down? We also have an Acura MDX SUV with tinted windows and that's the car we usually drive on the weekend with the dogs. I want a vehicle of my own that will fit two big dogs as well as be my commute car, so gas mileage, easy parking, and of course the "fun" factor are very important too.

Any other "must have" or "don't bother" accessories?
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  • I just got the 2.0 after deliberating some of the same issues for 2+ years. I fell in love with the 3-door A3 after I saw one in Europe about 5 years ago, and then when I found out they were coming to the states I couldn't wait. Once I got over the initial dissappointment of the 5-door being the only model available States-side, I made my way down to the dealer and gave one a test drive. The test drive was great and I was all set to get one when the salesman clued me in to the rumor that a 3.2 quattro would be coming in an "S" like package. Bad move for him, since he would've gotten a commission that day, as put my wallet away and put my purchase on hold for another year.

    When the 3.2 Quattro did finally arrive I made my way back to the dealer again, this time to be dissapointed with the fact that it's only available in DSG. I got the sales-pitch about "electronic shifting is faster than any human" and "It's the same transmission from the forumula one race cars" and "blah, blah, blah" and "yadda-yadda-yadda". That's all fine, I told the dealer, except it's BORING to drive, and I can't down-shift or double-clutch. How friggin lame is it to release the top-performing vehicle in an automatic?!!!

    I just picked up a 2.0T (manual) this past weekend and love it. No regrets.

    While I haven't been a long-time Quattro user, I gotta say that the 2.0T is one helluva car!!! It doesn't have the sexy growl of a quatrro, but it still handles like a little bulldog - much like a Mini Cooper S-Model. I rarely put in 6th gear, as it's perfectly comfortable in 5th at 75MPH with plenty of room to spare in power and torque.

    On the sun-roof/MPG/commuter/fun/parking front - I couldn't be happier. I have one germand shepherd, and one kid, which is about the same. :) It's winter so I can't comment on the heat excactly, but I love the open sky system. I keep the front sun shade open and the rear closed. So far, everyone loves it. I don't know if you'll be able to get two full size shepherds comfortably in the car though, since the back seats don't fold completely down. (Might be the only reason to look at an A4 Avant). My shepherd stays in the back with a mesh divider between the back seeat and the trunk area (Volvo-style). If I leave him in the car, then I fold the seats down and crack the windows and front sun-roof enough to get the airflow. No problems so far, but again, it's not summer time.

    Parking - easy. I'm amazed at how small the car is (and I work in San Francisco where parking is a premium commodity).

    Commuting/Fun Factor - yes and yes. I commute 15 miles each way in mixed freeway/city driving and love it. It's surprisingly quiet in the cabin for such a small car and has the power needed when I want it. At the same time, it's a blast to take on that windy country road for weekend getaways. I hear that the A3 isn't very successful yet in the US, which I gotta say, I'm happy for. I'm glad to be driving a car that is somewhat unique. I can't tell you how bored I am with the Jetta's and GTI's that I see down the road. They're nice cars by themselves, but after the 1000th silver Jetta/GTI, they start to look like a fleet of rental cars let loose. The A3 has the distinct Audi look and is rare enought to turn heads even among Audi enthusiasts. Sometimes I catch myself checkin out other A3's when I drive down the road, just to see what the other drivers are like.

    Must Haves -

    1) iPOd integration : I didn't realize how significant this was utnil I got it. iTunes/iPod has change the way I listen to music and until now I haven't been able to enjoy that in the car. Mission accomplished. Never buying a CD again.

    2) Bluetooh Integration: with a car that is so fun to drive, the last thing I want is to be holding a cellphone when I drive. Mine didn't come with it but I'm not in the process of getting an aftermarket install.

    3) Premium Package: Why bother witht his car if you're only getting cloth seats.

    4) All weather floor mattes and trunk liner (for the dogs).

    Everything else is personal preference.
  • Thanks for the excellent response nospam! And howdy neighbor, I live in the East Bay and work in Oakland.

    I had my A4 in for service at Livermore Audi last month and we were looking around the showroom while we waited for my car to be brought around. I got the same pitch you did about the DSG transmission. Our SUV is the first automatic transmission vehicle since my 1981 Toyota Tercel, other than my hubby's pickup trucks for work. it replaced a Ford Explorer with a 5 speed manual, which replaced a manual Isuzu Trooper. It's a very comfortable car to drive, but it took me awhile to get used to not having a clutch and not being able to shift, which I happen to love. I COULD adapt to an all automatic household, but I really don't want to! At the time we got the MDX in 2002 we were considering the Audi allroad and BMW SUV simply because I could get a manual transmission, but the additional 10 grand in price, and the much less interior space were turnoffs. Still, I went kicking and screaming into an automatic, LOL!

    Of course the first thing we did was to fold down those rear seats, so I'm aware that they don't go completely flat. I think it's good enough, and there wouldn't be that many times I'd need to carry them both in my car. It's a little disappointing, but I've crammed my 160 pounds of dog into the backseat of my Audi for a vet visit a couple of times, so it HAS to be better than that! I've also been interested in the Mini Cooper, and a couple of other little sporty cars that would be totally inappropriate for the dogs, but I like the idea of having a car I CAN transport them in if necessary that's still fast, sporty, and fun to drive. I know a Subaru would work, or those ubiquitious VWs you mentioned, but that would feel like a step down after driving an A4 for almost 9 years. Also considering the Avant, but that's much bigger, and so much more station wagon looking than the A3, a bit of a turnoff. It would be more practical though. I also like that there aren't that many A3s out there yet, I've only seen a couple.

    Definitely getting the premium package, leather seats all the way! Still debating on the open sky system, but I'm really leaning towards it. I'll probably go check out some cars on the dealer's lot in the heat of summer and see how they are.

    Thanks again, you've been very helpful!
  • ilarilar Posts: 1
    Buying A3 this month, can't commit: 2.0 or 3.2.
    Dear Experts, please share your pros and cons.
    Note: my current car is Subary Legacy Outback
  • Edmunds and C&D have writeups of both A3's.

    If you value handling/flat cornering most, 3.2 or 2.0 S-line are for you.
  • One other brief note:

    At LA Auto show, Audi representatives claimed the 3.2 could be ordered with a "regular" suspension (a rep pawed through an option book to make this claim).
    Yet, AudiUSA web site "Ask Audi" claimed only S-Line suspension is available for 3.2.
    Not sure what caused the discrepancy but suspect the Auto show reps were wrong.
  • Personally I was impressed by Six disk CD changer A3/A4
    You control the music with this CD changer. Your factory-installed radio operates the CD player, you select the disc and track you want with the touch of a button.
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