2009 Audi A3 Review – Compact, but capable sport wagon

Audi Expert Reviews

The highlight of the A3 Quattro was the handling. With all four tires grabbing the road, the car drives with incredible traction and stability. The car almost feels like a cat the way it moves with agility and absolute control. While there are two suspension modes offered, regular and sport, both were pretty stiff and provided ample road feel. The technology behind the magnetic ride sounds pretty cool, but I can’t say it provided significantly better handling than other top performers in its class. There are others who provide equally excellent handling performance with more traditional hydraulic shocks. Don’t get me wrong — the A3 takes corners very well, with minimal lean, and delivers precise driving control, which makes piloting the car a real joy.

2009 Audi A3

I can’t say I’m a fan of the sport hatchback look, but Audi does it with as much panache as possible. The aggressive elegance starts with the large, faux black grill that hearkens back to the 20′s or 30′s, but with an updated cant that makes it thoroughly modern. The angled headlights with those devilishly cool LED daylight running lights gives the car a take-no-prisoners attitude. After that, Audi does the best you can to make a small station wagon look good, minimizing the back end to something almost stylish. All-in-all, it is one of the best looking sport wagons out there.

The A3 Quattro is a stylish and sporty mini-wagon that is fun to drive while offering room to haul your sports gear. At forty large, it is clearly in the luxury category, and offers the goodies and technical advancements to justify the lofty price. I don’t know of any other car that offers this mix of driving performance, luxury appointments and cargo space in a relatively small package. The Mazda3 offers power, but not the handling or posh feel of the Audi. A Subaru 2.5XT Limited offers the four-wheel drive and more cargo space, but in a larger, heavier wagon that isn’t as stylish. The MINI Cooper offers the small size, but not the luxury features and has less power. A friend of mine owns an A3 and loves it. He admits that he probably shouldn’t have spent that much on the car, but he certainly believes he got his money’s worth. After driving this A3 Quattro, I can see his point.

2009 Audi A3 headlight with LED DRL

Overall, the A3 Quattro is a worthy sport wagon that is unique in the market. Fun to drive, with a good amount of power, this luxury car is packed with features and technology. Audi has lots of room to improve on their infotainment controls, but that doesn’t take away from a very functional stereo and navigation system. I enjoyed my time with the car and seeing it parked in my driveway — but the real fun was behind the wheel.

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 5.0 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.0 4.75 4.75/A-

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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  • Derek says:

    Thanks for the reality check Michele. Something to be aware of when it comes time to purchase a new car.

    FYI, I generally purchase used cars with service records I can review before buying. So far, I’ve been fortunate not to experience any major repairs with the cars I have owned in the past – both Japanese and European.

  • Michele says:

    Be mindful Derek, I have an 2007 A3 with 50,000km and in the last twelve months, I’ve had to bring it to the dealership for engine work. Their coil system broke down three times in less than a year. Needless to say, these unexpected breakdowns from a new car is no fun. I’m disappointed.

  • Derek says:

    The A3 TDI is coming to the U.S. and will reach showrooms beginning in November 2009. Clean diesel technology, excellent fuel efficiency, and superb driving dynamics – I think this will be my next personal car.

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