Used 2006 Audi A3
Used 2006 Audi A3 for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Audi's new four-door hatchback A3 makes a very strong case for combining luxury and sport in a package that's as practical as it is compact. Will America get it?
The trend in automobiles lately is big, literally. Bigger is better. Why then would Audi try to market a small luxury sport wagon (a.k.a. hatchback) in the land of plenty? The company is betting that a restless slice of the apple pie will gravitate to the A3's combination of driving fun, sensible footprint and nimble driving character. European buyers have no qualms with owning a small luxury hatchback.
The Audi A3 is based on the new Golf platform (which we won't see until later in 2006), but only the four-door hatch will be offered here. One glance at the A3 and it's clear the vehicle is Euro-inspired. The car's exterior proportions are roughly one-third greenhouse, two-thirds lower body, giving it a confident stance that reflects its European moniker: Sportback. The 2006 A3 is meant to expand the brand's appeal to entry-luxury buyers, age 25-40, by offering the sporty proportions of a coupe with the practicality of a wagon.
A pair of feisty power plants see duty in the Audi A3, including a turbocharged inline four and a muscular V6. Transmission choices include a six-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox, which offers manual or automatic operation), and a six-speed conventional manual. With a starting price under $25,000, the A3 2.0T appears to be an upscale bargain. However, a series of attractive option packages can push that tab up around $30 grand, within spitting distance of an A4 Avant. Bigger is not necessarily better in this case, and if the 2006 Audi A3 can meet your needs for interior utility, expect a bargain of a luxury sport wagon.
Trim levels & features
The Audi A3 comes in one four-door hatchback body style, in either 2.0T or 3.2 quattro guise. The 2.0T's generous array of equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, one-touch power windows, keyless entry and a 10-speaker, 140-watt audio system with satellite preparation for both XM and Sirius. An optional Sport package provides stiffer suspension tuning, foglights, sport seats, aluminum interior trim, a roof spoiler and leather seating surfaces. The Premium package adds leather, a power driver seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers and HomeLink. Other available extras include xenon headlights, a dual-pane power sunroof, a navigation system and an upgraded Bose sound system. Spring for the 3.2 quattro and both of those packages come standard, as does the Bose audio.
Performance & mpg
The heart of the front-wheel-drive A3 2.0T is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine capable of 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. It's enough to shoot the A3 to 60 mph in just 7 seconds. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while Audi's six-speed sequential-shifting DSG (Direct-Shift Gearbox) is optional. Offering even more performance is the A3 3.2 quattro, which features Audi's 250-hp 3.2-liter V6 and the DSG transmission as standard. Audi claims a 0-60 time of 5.9 seconds for the 3.2 quattro.
A full complement of front and side airbags is standard on the A3, including torso-protecting side-impact airbags for front passengers, and head-protecting, full-length side curtains. Torso side airbags for rear passengers are optional. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and stability control are standard.
With 200 horsepower on tap, the 2006 Audi A3 2.0T is certainly no slouch on the road. The 2.0-liter four doesn't suffer from turbo lag, and the optional DSG tranny effectively reduces BMW's SMG, Toyota's SMT and Ferrari's F1-style transmissions to second-tier status with its smooth and fast gearchanges. The 3.2 provides even stronger acceleration, and drivers enjoy the same ultra-responsive DSG experience. The electromechanical steering does a superb job of dampening unwanted road vibrations and kickback without marring feedback, and the well-tuned suspension keeps the car buttoned down in the turns, even as midcorner pavement imperfections try to knock it off line. In typical Audi fashion, the ride is comfortably firm, and handling is just as sporty as its larger siblings.
The A3's interior features a classy combination of styling cues found other Audi cars like the TT, A4 and A6. Materials quality is excellent, and headroom abounds up front. The total interior volume is equal to the previous-generation A4 Avant, and despite the shortened cargo area behind the C-pillar you can still carry 13.1 cubic feet of luggage with the rear seat in place. Fold the 60/40 second row flat and cargo capacity jumps to 36 cubic feet.
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The Italian Alps are a skier's heaven, but instead of schussing down the snowy slopes, we were in the Dolomites to sample a selection of Audis on the heavenly alpine roads. In celebration of 25 years of quattro all-wheel drive, Audi brought along several generations of q-cars for us to bend around the curves, but we spent most of the day traversing the steeply tilted terrain in the stylish new A6 Avant and big-hearted A3 subcompact.
The latest in a product offensive that has spawned new generations of A4, A6 and A8 over the past 12 months, the A3 five-door hatchback (called the Sportback) arrives in May and the A6 Avant (station wagon) in August, and the timing seems to be perfect. Rising fuel prices are shocking the citizenry out of their full-size SUVs and into smaller, more economical vehicles which still fulfill the mission of sporty utility. Audi figures the A6 and A3 appeal to that sense of proportion in their beguiling combinations of driving enjoyment and well-tailored interior space.
The A3 Sportback's projected MSRP is just shy of $25,000. The A6 Avant starts around $46,000. Neither car is expected to be sold in great numbers in North America (the Avant, for instance, represents only about 10 percent of total A6 transactions), but both are instrumental players in Audi's European portfolio, where wagon-type vehicles are considered sportier than their sedan counterparts.
Accordingly, the Avant drew stares of appreciation from the well-heeled ski set enjoying a late winter holiday. And for good reason; its striking dynamism is perhaps the best example yet of Audi's new styling idiom. For example, the distinctive single-frame grille, an irritant to some eyes, works especially well with the Avant's more expansive architecture.
European Superpower: The A6 Avant
Out of six possible engine choices in Europe, North American Avants will be powered by the 3.2-liter, 255-horsepower FSI V6 first offered in the A6 sedan. But we shouldn't feel shortchanged, because the V6 version is a complete car. With its standard quattro drivetrain, six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, sophisticated multilink suspension, Bosch's latest electronic stability control system and the best steering yet in an Audi, the Avant drives "small" even though it's slightly larger than the outgoing wagon. A broad torque band (more than 90 percent of the 243 lb-ft is available from 2,400 to 5,500 rpm) and high revs (7,200-rpm redline) deliver more than enough performance, especially when its 25-mpg cruising economy is added to the equation.
The Avants in Italy were wearing winter tires, and the pavement was weather-shined slick, but the Audis' predictable handling and secure grip made progress a pleasure where other cars were obviously finding it an adventure. Road noise? Hardly any. Wind roar? Autobahn speeds might have coaxed whispers from the pillars or mirrors, but the loudest noises through the mountains were a few "urps" from my passenger, who wondered how a road could have so many switchbacks.
At a lunch stop, while our inner ears were being recalibrated, we flipped up the electric rear hatch to admire the Avant's innovative cargo stowage solutions, where so many SUVs fail and where this wagon excels. Fold down all the seats, and it would also be the poshest camper we'd ever take on the road. The interior design is rich yet tasteful, chockablock with electronic amenities. Yet all the systems operated by rational, easily worked controls. Audi's Multi-Media Interface is one of the better multitasking controls out there, as it's not overly complicated. And the high-resolution 7-inch color screen makes the pleasing graphics easy to comprehend.
Leather seating, dual-zone climate control, a DSP sound system and Bluetooth-ready phone prep only begin to list the standard touches of opulence, which helps rationalize the almost $50 grand price tag, at least to those who still consider any wagon a mundane alternative to choices that are, let's say, more macho. The new Avant's considerable performance, sybaritic interior and all-around usefulness make it, at least for us, a sure first choice.
Small Wonder: The A3 Sportback
Although the A6 Avant was the star of that day's show, the A3 is more significant and could play a breakthrough role for Audi in the same way the Mini Cooper allowed American car buyers to combine "small" and "premium" on their wish lists. All the good stuff we've come to expect from Audi is found in the five-door, including a choice of two terrific engines: A new, exhilarating 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder comes first, followed in about eight months by the stout 3.2-liter six we've enjoyed in the Audi TT 3.2 and Golf R32. Somewhat curiously for a company that built its franchise around quattro, though, the first of the A3s will be front-drivers. Quattro will come with the 3.2, but won't be available until about eight months after launch.
Still, performance fans need not despair, because even with just two driven wheels the A3 is a blast. The new 2.0 is so torque-rich, and turbo lag so minimal, that it pulls like a much larger engine. The 0-to-60-mph sprint takes 7 seconds, but that number doesn't do justice to the car's responsiveness. Torque is available right now, and the engine revs so freely to 6,000 rpm that it feels virtually free of driveline drag. Both a six-speed manual and the incredible DSG twin-clutch gearbox are available with the FWD A3, but there's a possibility DSG will not be offered with the 3.2 quattro due in a few months. A decision about DSG showing up on the A3 options list will be made closer to the 3.2's debut in American showrooms.
Audi's Best Foot Forward To America
The front-drive A3's surefooted balance can be credited to a new four-link rear suspension. The cost and effort of adding it to a market segment that rarely sees such superior technology paid off in its compactness, low weight and superior kinematics. Using multiple links achieves a functional separation of longitudinal and transverse forces, delivering exceptional lateral rigidity (for better handling and a safer car) along with supple lengthwise control to improve ride comfort.
Adding Servotronic steering, which adjusts effort in response to steering wheel angle and vehicle speed, was also considered a necessary though expensive step to separate the A3 from its competition. It all comes down to the fine-tuning, and in the A3, Audi got it just right. Steering isn't just about keeping the nose on line. It's also a very stimulating way to use the rear end as an active element of guiding the car around a corner. If you get our drift .
OK, it's a very nice car with all the Audi attributes, but is its hatchback configuration going to alienate or enrapture the U.S. market, which traditionally has been indifferent to such vehicles? Is it big enough where it counts? Well, consider this: Audi's recovery in America from near extinction is one of the great comeback stories in the world's toughest market. Not only has Volkswagen's high-end division survived, it pulses with a vitality that threatens the well-being of the big boys down the autobahnen in Munich and Stuttgart. We like the A3's chances of continuing the trend.
Used 2006 Audi A3 Overview
The Used 2006 Audi A3 is offered in the following submodels: A3 Wagon. Available styles include 2.0T 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 2.0T 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and 3.2 quattro 4dr Wagon AWD (3.2L 6cyl 6A).
What's a good price on a Used 2006 Audi A3?
Price comparisons for Used 2006 Audi A3 trim styles:
- The Used 2006 Audi A3 2.0T is priced between $6,995 and$6,995 with odometer readings between 95918 and105399 miles.
- The Used 2006 Audi A3 3.2 quattro is priced between $8,995 and$8,995 with odometer readings between 84477 and99163 miles.
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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Audi A3?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.