I purchased my A3 w/sport, convenience, cold weather, Bose, Open Sky and Xenon in Jan. CPO vehicle with 4,000 miles so I got the 6 yr/100k warrantee. I know who the previous owner was. Traded my 00 VR6 VW Jetta. I loved my VW but this car is it. The looks and build quality are top notch. Performance for a 4 cyl Turbo is fantastic. This thing goes. The exhaust note when on the gas is music to my ears. Just loud enough to let you know that this baby has a little something under the hood. Xenon lights are great, Bose is plenty fine, I am not an audiophile and my girls really like the glass over the rear seats. Ergonomics are just right inside. Just a solid package for around 30K.
Looks, exclusivity (I have only seen two others around town since buying), heated seats, audio controls on steering wheel, open sky and performance.
Heated rear seats would be cool, power front seats. Redesign the parking brake handle so as to not hit arm rest. Not a big deal, I rarely use E-brake anyway. Tinted windows standard equipment. Sport suspension is firm, can be a bit harsh at times. Could filter out road noice a bit better.
When you get behind the wheel of an A3 the first thing you notice is the attention to detail in the form and the lines, the ergonomics are great. Second, the driving experience is like no other due to the super speed in which the gears are changed by the automatic transmission. There is almost no turbo lag, and the handling is secure at all times. Lastly, the sporty look of this vehicle and how many people stare this little aggresive car might actually change the view that wagons are boring. Why I know that, because I used to think that too, not anymore thanks to the A3.
After a one-year search for a car that could make me happy without spending 50K the Audi A3 has achieved that feat. I love the design and hatchback flexibility, and solid interior ergonomics (the seats are awesome). The drive is pure bliss: Great acceleration, fun manual shifter and pretty low interior noise. Steering is precise, low body-roll. As mentioned below, some improvements can be done, of which the most important ones are the handbrake and climate control issues. If you are looking for a hatchback at an entry-luxury level, there is nothing better out there than the A3 (BMW 1 series and Mercedes A class need not apply).
After owning three BMWs I thought it was time for a change. The press reviews of the A3 2.0T lulled me into an Audi dealership and within an hour it became a no-brainer: BMW-like performance and quality for under 30k. I'm in. Go easy on the options (I went for the Premium Package, standard, no sun roof) and enjoy the ride. Its not quite the "riding on rails" handling of my 2000 323ci, but its faster. Really! And 10k cheaper.
BMW and Lexus-like build quality and finish, no turbo lag, 34 mpg highway mileage, plenty of punch off the line, "oh-my-god-its-got-mini-SUV- cargo-capacity-AND-its-fun-to-drive".
The first thing I noticed about this car was its solidity. Closing the trunk yields a solid thump. The entire chassis feels like it was carved from one piece of metal. The second thing I noticed was the steering. Much lighter than the 3 series, but still providing a lot of road feel and sporty playfullness. This steering really begs the driver to toss the car around. Ditto for the engine, though I haven't fully pushed it yet-still breaking in. One thing I love is the low-end torque. You can really thrash the car around and keep it under 3000 rpm. The interior is beautiful-love the amber lighting, but I have one gripe-the stereo (both bose and std) sounds muffled-get new speakers/amp.
Fun steering, great styling, DSG sport mode
The interior door grabs are not solid -- pulling on them to close the door causes them to creak and bend ever so slightly. Everything else in the interior is either aluminum or high quality plastic (sport package).