Audi A3 - the return of the "hot" hatch
December 9, 2010
I first sat in an Audi A3 at the NY Auto Show in the spring of 2006. I immediately knew that this was the car for me. Kind of love at first sit. I had to wait until spring of 2007 to get mine (money and space to park it around Chez Car Guy). In the past 35,000 miles, it's been a model of reliability and fun. Mine has the peppy 2.0 L turbo matched to a slick-shifting 6 speed. And while I live in snow country, I opted for the FWD model shod with decent all season Pirelli tires. This combination offers less complexity than the Quattro models and is more "tossable in fast corners (stop wagging your fingers - yes - I do engage in anti-social exit/entrance ramp activities!)
My car is the "S Line" with better springs, wheels and tires. This option also adds leather and a few other goodies. I also got the dual sunroof and BOSE sound system. It's all good.
Despite the knock on the day to day reliability of most German cars (save Porsche), mine has been nearly bullet proof. Unfortunately, not 100% since the car came delivered with a mis-aligned front end which wore out the front tires prematurely. Since putting on new tires and having an independent shop fix the alignment, all is right with the world.
Mileage is an amazing 28MPG over the life of the car (I track this religiously - yes, every Sunday) and on occasion - long trips, sensible speeds - have touched 32MPG on a few tanks. I feed it premium fuel as recommended by Audi. I use a good quality synthetic oil (Castrol 5-40 - same as factory fill) and do not have to add any between changes.
It isn't especially fast but the engine makes its max torque at a very low 2,000 RPM so it's really flexible in real world driving. I would call it "quick" and that translates to a fun to drive car, at least for me.
The trunk, despite the station wagon like shape is only pretty good. The removable hatch cover limits how much junk you can pack back there. With the seats folded (split or both sides down), you can carry a lot more.
All in all, my Audi A3 is one hot little hatch, combining safety, quality, reliability, economy and that elusive "fun to drive" quality missing from so many of today's cars.