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Audi A3 (US-spec model)


Active Member
Mar 17, 2004
Seattle, Washington USA
12 VW Golf GTI

The local Audi dealer in my town recently recieved a couple of new A3 five-door hatchbacks and I went to check them out.

Their demo car is an entry-level model with almost no options, 2.0 FSI, six-speed manual, FWD. MSRP US$25,460. The other car wasn't ready as it still had its protective shipping cover on, but it was equipped with the new automatic DSG gearbox.

Good: The 2.0 FSI is a fantastic engine. Very quick, responsive, and loads of torque. No turbo lag at all. This maybe a better engine than the 1.8T. The ride and handling seems to be firm, not overly stiff and harsh, and body roll was minimum around corners. Steering feedback was quite responsive, even at low speeds.

Bad: The car was literally stripped-down with no sunroof, xenon headlamps, and auto climate control. The interior trim wasn't something I'd expect from Audi, as it uses lots of hard plastic. The steering wheel felt really cheap and plasticy. It had good-quality cloth seating surfaces, but the seats themselves I could use more thigh and bolster support. US-spec cars don't have quattro (as least not yet), but it will be going to be an expensive option.

I really wanted to like this car a lot, but it was quite a let down. The only thing that the A3 has got going for it is the 2.0 FSI engine, and the car looks stunning in person, even in red paint. But in terms of value, it's overpriced and under-equipped. If anything, the MkV GTI seems to be the more appealing car for me price-wise, but I'm still weary about reliability issues and VW dealer service nightmares.

I'll show more interest next time when they bring over the S3 three-door hatch.
i always enjoyed the presence of the A3... its so much better than an A class or the 1 series
Don't count on them bringing any 3 door version over for at least two years...if ever. <_<

And I agree with freakster about it's presence.
Cruzz563 said:
Don't count on them bringing any 3 door version over for at least two years...if ever. <_<

Which is too bad. The A3 would've been on my shopping list if it came in three-door hatch and a lower price point. Five-doors are pretty nice, but I don't really need it.

Right now, my heart is set on the Mini Cooper S, but I'm still waiting for the MkV GTI and the next-gen Mini with the new turbocharged engine.
We always do, more so for the European models, Japanese and German ones not so much. :)

Alfa is coming back next year tho! :thumbsup:
I love the A3 too(3-doors also favo). That price isn't that bad. And it's true, Audi's have great interior and all, but only if you pay a lot of cash for it. Options are really expensive (same with bmw, mb). That's just sad. You can double the price of the car just with options.

Greetz Johan
It's too expensive for what it is but it's an awesome car, I just love it.. sat in one and it fit me like a glove... but I'd go with a GTi and save some money instead
The A3 is a fantastic car. I personally feel that its interior is way better than the new 3 series'. What bothers me about the car is its price though. When you load up the options on an A3 you might as well get an A4 instead for the same price.
Viggen said:
Right now, my heart is set on the Mini Cooper S, but I'm still waiting for the MkV GTI...

I've driven both and both of them are great fun to drive!

The Mini feels a bit more go-kartish as it is ~200 pounds lighter than the Golf, but for such a small car (I'm referring to the Mini) it is still quite heavy and overpriced IMO. Furthermore the Mini is far less practical than the Golf, it's only a four-seater, there is virtually no room in the back and the trunk is ridiculously small.
To some people the Mini is a girl's car, so it would be somewhat embarrassing if you drive it as a guy... I don't care/agree though! :p

The Golf also feels very nimble, it is more powerful with far more interior and trunk space than the Mini. It gives you definately more bang for your buck! I'd say on the twisites it even is more fun than our (much more expensive) Golf IV R32...

To put it in a nutshell, I'd go for the Golf MkV GTI!
After all, it's Top Gear's & Fifth Gear's car of the year not for nothing... :)


PS: As for the A3, it may have more "prestige" than a Golf but then again it is more expensive and not necessarily a better car.
Mark V GTI fo' sho' would be nicer. It's purpose is sports tuned, after all. Plus, I think the MkV's looks are better than the A3s.
I prefer the A3's styling, but the GTI's overall package is what sells me.

I, too, was unimpressed with its interior...but as an entry-level luxury brand car, it's still leaps and bounds ahead of the 1-series' cheap plastic.