I have owned an Audi A3 for three years, and appreciate it more and more each day I drive it. The turbocharged 2.0T engine is very zippy and the short-throw 6-speed manual transmission makes driving the A3 particularly fun,
but what really sets the car apart from its competition is its fantastic handling. The car loves curves and the tires stick to the road like glue. From the moment the car accelerates onto an onramp, the solid feel of Audi's suspension and quiet cabin give the passenger a sense of confidence at highway speeds. Even after three years of daily driving, nothing has broken on my A3 and its been to the shop only for its regularly scheduled and warranty-covered maintenance.
The tight turning radius and responsive steering at low speeds is very useful for navigating city streets and parking spots. I'll also add my praise to the already loud choir of accolades for the Audi 2.0T motor, which smoothly delivers well more than enough oomph for the little A3. It's truly a modern miracle how the A3 gets such great fuel economy while generating so much power.
The interior is very comfortable. All of the controls and displays are intuitive, and the leather trim is very plush and luxurious. The two skylights in both the front and back give the cabin an open and airy feel. The basic sound system is excellent and easily allows passengers to plug in iPods/iPhones.
I can only recommend that Audi ship more of the standard transmission A3s to the US. I don't know if Audi is offering more manual transmission vehicles these days, but back in 2008 I had to call three dealers to track down an
A3 with a standard transmission and the color that I wanted. The automatic transmission is almost certainly faster 0-60 mph, but the 6-speed is just so much fun that I would never opt for anything else. On a similar note, I would love to see the diesel TDI motor offered here with a manual transmission.