So this weekend I testdrove the new Audi A3. I wasn't really interested in the car that much, but wanted to get the 33 free iTunes songs
Well the A3 Sport I drove was equipped with everything except navi and the DSG. It has the new VAG FSI 2.0T. And sticker price was $31,585.
Wow, I was impressed. Here are some observations when compared to my Linear 9-3SS.
1. Steering was very, very light at low speeds, a little light even at speed. It is very accurate, but little feedback as far as the road surface. Overall though, I think I am a much bigger fan of the SS's steering.
2. Suspension control and dampening was excellent. Much superior to the SS. I drove the same road with my 9-3 afterwards and was very disappointed. The 9-3 has way too many clunks, etc. from surface imperfections and potholes. The A3 (FrontTrack - no quattro until fall) was much more nuetral and quick to change directions.
3. The VAG 2.0T is amazing. For as much as I diliked the 1.8T, I LOVE the 2.0T. I had driven it and liked it in the A4, but wow, it really shines in the A3. Almost no detectable turbo lag. Much less than my Linear. The A3 revs much more urgently and has one of the best sounding four bangers I have ever heard. I am programing my PPC today, so I really hope it makes me happy!
4. The transmission in the A3 is nice. It's a close ratio six speed, and works rather well. Although at times it was a bit notchy. I think I like the five speed in my Linear better. Just a little smoother. The clutch take-up on the A3 seemed very abrupt. The 9-3 has a much more control of the clutch.
5. Interior on the A3 is great. I like the leather, and the bolsters on the sport seats are great ( I saw one with the cloth seats - looks very low rent). I actually liked the A3 better than the interior on the A4. It's very simple, but also very intuitive. I liked the automatic climate controls. Pretty cool. You can tell, it's not an uplevel car, but the materials seem to be of excellent quality. Seems a little more VW than Audi, but not bad. I think I like my 9-3 interior better though. Just so different from everything out there. It just looks cooler!
6. Exterior looks... well it's a hatchback. You either love it or hate it. I am a hatch fan, but the 9-3 is way better looking IMO. It had the new 16 spoke 17" wheels. They looked very nice. It also has the new Audi trapezoid grille. I personally am not a big fan, but on the black A3 I drove, it kind of disappeared.
Anyway, just thought I would share. I went in not expecting much, but ended up very impressed. The only place I think the 9-3 is really
hurting in comparison to the Audi is in the suspension department. I don't know if that can be remidied with aftermarket dampers? But it definitely isn't in the same class in that regard.