What's New for 2007
For the 2007 Audi A3, the big news is the options packages. On the 2.0T model, the "S line" package replaces last year's Sport package and adds unique front and rear fascias. The A3 is also available with a new Technology Package that offers bi-xenon headlights and Bluetooth capability. Satellite radio choice is limited to Sirius, and Audi's free maintenance program is discontinued.
Proving the old adage that good things come in small packages, the 2007 Audi A3 sport hatchback provides an entertaining drive as well as the versatility of a small wagon. Available in Europe for a few years before it debuted in the U.S. for 2006, the A3 offers all the expected Audi attributes, such as a finely finished cabin and agile driving dynamics, in a vehicle with a smaller footprint and a smaller price tag than the company's compact A4 series.
The A3's European breeding is evident in the car's no-nonsense design. This is a chiseled, small wagon/four-door hatchback that exudes class and purpose. Under that taut skin is either a turbocharged inline four ("2.0T") or a muscular V6 ("3.2 quattro"), and either can be matched to a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG (direct shift gearbox). The DSG is a sequential-shift manual transmission, and it can be operated using paddle shifters on the steering wheel or placed in a fully automatic mode. Overall, it's a brilliant piece of equipment and should appeal to buyers interested in combining manual-like fuel economy and fun with the convenience of an automatic.
Starting at around $25,000, the 2007 A3 2.0T is something of a bargain for an upscale sport wagon. That is, if one can resist the charms of the various optional packages that can quickly push the sticker past the 30 grand threshold. As far as the 3.2 quattro model, it's a nice car, but it's not much quicker than the 2.0T model and is simply too pricey for something of its size. At that point, we'd suggest considering a lightly optioned A4 Avant (wagon).
But bigger is not better for everyone. The A3 matches the foot-longer A4 in personality and looks, while being easier to park and giving up just 3 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity. And although a Mazda 6 or Subaru Legacy GT wagon might seem a better value than an Audi A3 in the cold analytical sense, we doubt anybody would regret their purchase of this finely crafted sport hatch that's just oozing with European personality.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
A single body style, a four-door hatchback/wagon, is offered on the 2007 Audi A3. There are two trim levels, 2.0T and 3.2 quattro. A wealth of standard features come on the 2.0T, such as 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, one-touch power windows, keyless entry and a 10-speaker audio system. For those wanting more, a trio of option packages are also available. A new "S line" package provides a firmer suspension, foglights, sport seats, aluminum interior trim, unique front and rear fascias and a roof spoiler. A premium package adds leather seating, a power driver seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers and HomeLink.
The 3.2 quattro includes virtually all of the equipment from the S-line and premium packages as standard. Optional on both trims is a new technology package that provides Bluetooth capability and bi-xenon headlights. A la carte options include a dual-pane sunroof, a navigation system and a Bose audio system.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive A3 2.0T is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four that makes 200 horsepower. Blessed with a broad power band, it propels this A3 to 60 mph in just 7 seconds. The 2.0T's standard transmission is a six-speed manual, with Audi's DSG as optional. With its rev-matching downshifts and lightning-quick gearchanges, the DSG is tops among manually-shiftable automatics.
The A3 3.2 quattro features a 3.2-liter, 250-hp V6 that comes matched to the DSG transmission. Although the 3.2 quattro's standard all-wheel drive will be an asset for those who face slippery driving conditions, the heavier weight of this A3 means not much is gained in performance, as the sprint to 60 mph takes 6.8 seconds.
A wealth of safety technologies are standard in the Audi A3, including front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, antilock brakes and stability control. Seat-mounted side airbags for rear passengers are optional. In IIHS crash testing, the A3 earned ratings of "Good" (the highest possible) in both the frontal-offset and side-impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
True to its Audi lineage, the A3 features a cabin that boasts excellent materials and build quality. Styling cues seen in its siblings, such as real metallic accents and large gauges, are apparent. The interior's total volume is equal to that of the 1996-2001 A4 Avant (wagon). And maximum cargo capacity, at 56 cubic feet, is just 3 cubes less than that of the current A4 wagon.
Whether you choose the 2.0T or 3.2 quattro, brisk performance is at hand for passing and merging maneuvers. When the curves come up, the A3's electromechanical steering does a superb job of quelling vibrations and kickback without marring feedback. In typical Audi fashion, the ride is comfortably firm and the A3's handling is just as sporty as its larger siblings'. The junior Audi's well-tuned suspension keeps the car buttoned down in the turns, even as midcorner pavement imperfections try to knock it off line.