2009 Audi A3 2.0T S-tronic Quattro – First Impressions

Friday May 15th, 2009 at 9:55 AM
Posted by: twain

2009 Audi A3
Review by Twain Mein

Pros

  • Zippy and economical 2.0T
  • Smooth shifting S-tronic gearbox (a.k.a. DSG)
  • Audi’s über-cool LED daytime running lights
  • Magnificent suspension setup and Audi ride quality

Cons

  • Pricey with options
  • Back seat legroom worse than flying Economy Class on Southwest

For 2009, Audi updated the A3 with some great features. In particular, you can now get all wheel drive with the more economical 2.0 liter turbo four (previously AWD was only available with the 3.2 liter 6). It also now offers a dual clutch automatic transmission, magnetically controlled (adjustable) suspension and LED running lights. So what does this all mean?

In short, this is a practical car that has plenty of zip from the turbo 4. It also has fantastic handling with the phenomenal Audi ride quality—that provides a great balance of road feedback with excellent dampening.

The engine is delightful. Though there is some initial turbo lag, it spools quickly and feels plenty torquey, yet the power isn’t lumpy; it just builds and builds. The engine redlines at 6500 rpm but it feels like it could go another 1000. The close ratios of the 6 speed gearbox mean you have to shift quickly; in some ways I wish it had longer gearing to keep it at full boil longer. The transmission is also excellent and features wheel mounted shift paddles and the wonderful tip shifter. Of course you can just leave it in drive and let the car do the shifting for you. Notably, this is the first Audi I’ve driven in a while that lets you downshift to first; the V-8 equipped models limit you to second gear only.

The hatchback design is flexible and functional. It’s surprisingly roomy up front and offers a lot of hip and knee room. The optional sport seats hold you in securely and the ergonomics are typical Audi: excellent. Audi has also improved it’s GPS; easy to use and I really liked the zoom function. The dual sunroof was cool though the rear one intrudes on head room a bit.

The rear seat was cramped for 6 footers but still spacious enough to put in a baby seat. Of course, the hatchback design makes it easy to flop the rear seats to carry larger loads such as a bicycle.

I’m notorious for flogging cars and achieving woeful gas mileage. However, the A3 delivered a surprising 23.5 mpg despite my lead-footedness. Impressive. Speaking of flogging, the “sport suspension button” on the dash will firm up the ride whenever you want it. I found the car to have marginally reduced body roll with it on. But driving over speed bumps was pretty jarring. I wasn’t convinced of the overall effectiveness because the car handles so well already.

I really liked driving this car—and would consider it as my next. The one downside: Price. Though the A3 has a base price of $30,500, this was optioned up to $41,700! At that price, it’s starting to compete with the 3-series and A4. The A4 features a more powerful 2 liter turbo and about the same interior space though it loses the functionality of the hatch. Tough call but great choices to have!


Audi A3 Photo Gallery

Audi A3 specs

Audi A3 2.0T Specs

AudiThe official Audi of America website – www.audiusa.com




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