Audi A3 Test Drive - What Do You Think?

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
edited March 2014 in Audi
This is the place to give us your "test drive report" on the A3.


  • mazda6smazda6s Member Posts: 1,901
    Well, I drove the A3 yesterday. It was a base model, no options. We took it on a windy road in the foothills, a perfect place to test drive this car. The sales guy really liked to push it, thought I'm sure we were never near it's limits. I never thought I would say this, but I like the 2.0T engine. This is the first turbo engine that I have ever been able to say that about. It's very responsive and whatever turbo lag is there is not an issue with me (a first for me). Handling is impressive, with a very tight feel to the car overall. The 6-speed manual seems geared just right for the engine, much like I observed with the last generation Jetta with VR6 and 6-speed manual. I like the interior (mostly), controls, and base stereo. Now, the downside. The center console armrest must be folded up when driving the manual. The sliding armrest in the new Jetta is a much better design and I don't know why they didn't just use it in the A3 too. There's a big blank rectangular area in the center of the instrument cluster where the computer info would be (base model doesn't have it). The base model has a cheap plastic gearshift knob and plastic steering wheel with no radio controls, just like the new Jetta VE. You have to get the Sports Package or Premium Package to upgrade this. The Convenience Package (with trip computer) is only available if you order a car. You can't get the Sports Package without leather. I could go on but you get the idea.
    So, the bottom line for me is that I wouldn't buy this car due to the equipment and options packaging. If it was just for the power train, I'd go for it. Now, if the new Jetta GLI is equipped like the last gen Jetta GLI, I'd be interested in that.
  • corvettecorvette Member Posts: 9,661
    You might like the Legacy GT, it also didn't feel like a turbo when I was driving it (stick shift version), just a really powerful car.
  • mazda6smazda6s Member Posts: 1,901
    Well, I drove the Legacy GT, but unfortunately it was an auto as that was all they had at the time. I might blame it on the transmission, but I didn't like the engine much. The turbo lag is very obvious with the auto trans.
  • ccd1ccd1 Member Posts: 140
    Test drove the A3s, both the 2.0T and the 3.2. I MUCH preferred the 3.2. The 2.0T in sport mode was fine, but the 3.2 in sport mode was an entirely different animal. The car just wanted to fly. I also preferred that the 3.2 comes pretty much loaded, while you have a myriad number of options with the 2.0T. The other thing I liked about the 3.2 is that it isn't a turbo. The 2.0 has a high boost turbo and I wonder how long it will last. I tend to keep my cars a long time.

    Compared to the Volvo V50, the Audi is more of driver's car while the Volvo struck me as a better all weather car and had a little more space. It also had some nice touches (in terms of convenience) that were missing from the Audi, like the flap to hold groceries.

    While I prefer the Audi, the issue gets back to price. The Volvo dealer would deal on price (to the tune of $3k) which makes the car around $5k cheaper than the A3 3.2. Not sure the Audi is worth that kind of difference.
  • joemalejoemale Member Posts: 28
    I honestly thought the 2.0 was equally fun to drive.
    THe 3.2's added weight didn't give it any noticeable
    boost in power, almost the opposite.
    Of course, anyone considering them should test drive
    them both. I was set to spend more, but chose the 2.0
    and didn't feel I was compromising AT ALL.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "The 2.0 has a high boost turbo and I wonder how long it will last. I tend to keep my cars a long time."

    Ummm, no. The 2.0T is a high compression low boost turbo, not the other way around (i.e. mid 1980s vintage Chrysler turbos). As for longevity, just use good fully synthetic oil (Mobil-1 0W-40 or German Castrol Syntec), and longevity shouldn't ever be an issue.

    Best Regards,
  • ccd1ccd1 Member Posts: 140
    Thanks for the info! You know more than the salesman did, which I guess shouldn't be surprising. Except he's the Sales Manager for the dealership!
  • ccd1ccd1 Member Posts: 140
    I probably should have added that I was looking for AWD, which is not available in the 2.0. I'm looking for an all weather car, with decent cargo room which is also fun to drive. That is why my top 2 choices are the A3 3.2 and the V50T AWD.

    We presently own a Toyota 4Runner and like most people, never take the truck off road. Basically, I'm looking for a car I can use like my 4Runner, but on a smaller scale AND which is more fun to drive. Some better gas mileage wouldn't hurt either.
  • andres3andres3 Member Posts: 13,450
    Wow, I have to admit, the Audi A3 was as fun and exciting as everyone's made it out to be with DSG transmission. It was crazy seeing the RPM's move around and the shift happening so fast an instantaneous that you don't even feel it.
    My initial impression is that I love a sporty car, but if the Premium or base model's suspension is a bit more forgiving, but still firm, it might be the better option.
    Also, I noticed highway speed road/wind noise as quite noticeable (performance tires maybe)?

    I hate that they didn't include paddle shifters on the base cloth model DSG's!!! Damn Audi for that, and using an ugly steering wheel on base models too. The interior with premium or sport is impecccable, and downright perfection (almost).
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • fourringsfourrings Member Posts: 12
    test drove the A3 today with DSG and premium package. I have to say that i'm a bit dissapointed. DSG works great and the 2.0T is powerful but the ride is firm and road noise pronounced.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    fourrings, was your test Audi equipped with performance tires? Just a change in tires could change how the car rides...some mags have commented the A3 gets really loud with performance rubber.

    European Car seems to be echoing Car and Driver, which said pretty much the same.

    I wonder if the 3.2, which Audi told me uses the R32 engine and drive train, with Audi mods, more QC, and interior, was Audis' quick way to offer drivers an A3 Quattro without extensive re-engineering?

    Incidently, The VW R32 sold out very fast here and apparently remains in high demand with little depreciation.

    Perhaps the Golf Mk6, due soon, will spawn the A3 Quattro using Audi's latest technology.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    I think it highly unlikely that the car fourrings drove had performance tires on it. Why? Because the Premium Package only comes with All-Season tires. I do find it odd though that he (or she) claimed that the car was firm riding and noisy. I found the non-Sport Package car that I drove to be too soft in its ride, and none of the three A3s that I've driven were at all what I would call noisy.

    Best Regards,
  • ajfinoakajfinoak Member Posts: 58
    I recently tested an A3 with DSG for possible purchase and noted some hesitation when first stepping on the gas from a stop-Is this comman?
    Also, anybody have feedback on the handling of the Premium pkg model- especially on curves. Thanks much.
  • walkerhound1walkerhound1 Member Posts: 14
    If you're considering a DSG/premium, you're considering a 2.0T, I guess. I've been in a car equipped this way for 11 months.
    The throttle response is not as immediate in the 2.0T as in the 3.2 (drive one of those recently)-- it's partly the transmission, and there is a little turbo lag. If you launch harder, the lag is less noticable, and you can spin the tires through 2nd gear if you want. For a brisk launch, squeeeze the gas, and I think you'll get a smooth, virtually lag-free start. Handling: depends on what you're accustomed to. IMO, it's pretty good; I have the Pirelli P6 all-seasons (still), and while they have their virtues (wet stability being one), all-out grip is not one of them. Even though the tires complain a little, you can corner this setup pretty hard as long as your approach/braking/gear selection are right. There's a little more body roll than I'd like, too. The steering boost is higher on the premium package cars than on the sport packs, but it firms up at speed & is very accurate.

    All said & done, I'm very happy with the car.
  • absoludelyabsoludely Member Posts: 2
    from the reviews i've been reading, it seems that the reason for the increased road noise was due to the all season tires, and the performance tires would actually work better.

    i test drove an '06 premium packaged a3 yesterday myself and noticed that going over bumpy roads, there is quite a bit of road noise. however, since i've been driving a lowered prelude on 18" wheels, the noise hardly bothers me at all :)
  • absoludelyabsoludely Member Posts: 2
    was wondering if someone could clear up 2 things.

    1) does the opensky really reduce the headroom in the a3?

    2) does the opensky really increase wind noise noticeably when traveling at highway speeds?

    thanks in advance.
  • tslbmwtslbmw Member Posts: 172
    Yes, Opensky does reduce headroom. If you're 6' or taller, your head will touch the sunshade.
    No, I drove both (one with and one w/out) and didn't notice any change in wind noise.

    I bought an 06 A3 2.0T DSG w/Opensky & Sport package back in March and honestly the biggest problem with Opensky is the stupid latch/clip for the sunshade that is poorly made and has broken three times already. Other than that, 7500 miles and the car has been flawless.

    Happy shopping.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    The A3 3.2 I drove didn't have any trouble shifting upwards, and there seemed to be no hesitation from launch. But slowing down, the DSG tended to grumble and hunt somewhat (it wasn't an '07 - perhaps Audi has improved this.).
  • tncarbufftncarbuff Member Posts: 10
    Well, I drove a 2007 this weekend, and unfortunately, it did have noticeable hesitation from launch. I loved the DSG transmission once the car was moving, but from a standing position, was annoying even scary. Made me very uncomfortable to pull out in front of someone, and with a care of this power, I shouldn't have that problem.

    The hesitation was there whether in totally AUTO mode, or when shifting via the paddle shifters or via the gear shift.

    Lots to love, but... (The car was loaded - over $41,000! Yikes!)
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    How does the '07 2.0T fare in this area (does it hesitate on launch?). Could it be a Haldex issue?
  • andres3andres3 Member Posts: 13,450
    Can't be Haldex cause my non-quattro has some hesitation when gunning it from 0 mph. And with some hesitation comes some benefits...... reduced wheel spin for smoother acceleration.
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
This discussion has been closed.