2008 Audi A3 3.2 quattro 4dr Wagon AWD (3.2L 6cyl 6A)
In my years of owning different cars, one car stands out as the most practical, the most fun, and provides the most absolute joy when driving. That one car is my 2008 Audi A3 3.2 Quattro with DSG. I have gone from (in order of ownership) 87 BMW 325iC to 99 Audi A4 2.8 Quattro to 02 Audi A4 1.8T Quattro to 05 Audi S4 Cabrio to 08 BMW Z4 Coupe (Sunday car) and 08 Audi A3 3.2 Quattro DSG (everyday car), owning the last two the same time. I was a bit torn deciding between the Z4 and A3 before I moved to Chicago. I decided I just need one car so I had to sell one of the two. Needless to say, I sold the Z4 and decided to keep the A3. Sure the Z4 was sexier, faster, and just had more prestige maybe for the lack of a better word, but overall, I simply thought the A3 was just the car to keep. I am glad I did. I didn't want to regret giving up the A3 again. Rewind back to 2009, I actually owned a 2007 A3 3.2 Quattro DSG in 2007. After two years, Audi offered to buy it back from me, so I did sell it to Audi. It was a mistake because I really missed that car shortly after. And in the U.S. production stopped that year. So I went looking for another but none available -- not the A3 3.2 Quattro. So for some time I had the 08 BMW and I got myself a Subaru Tribeca as my everyday car. By chance I went looking for another A3 again in 2012 and found my now 08 Audi A3. Hallelujah!
This Audi A3 is pure joy to drive. I have gotten out -- without digging around the car first -- of 19 inches of snow here in Chicago in the Blizzard of Super Bowl 2015; I have taken corners in this car that I probably would not dare take in any other car; I have gone up a circular freeway on-ramp at high speed enough to scare (and impress) my friend while he hung on for dear life to the "Oh Sh!+" handle; I have passed many cars on an uphill climb without the engine gasping for air. And what's another thing that makes this car such a delight to drive? It's that buttery and silky smooth dual sequential gearbox (DSG). Whether I'm driving in automatic mode, or sport mode, or manual with the option to switch gears with the stick or paddle shifters, the double-clutch transmission is so silky smooth and quick shifting up and down. Of course, when down shifting it may not feel smooth as the engine will roar down-shifting at high speed, but that engine sound sure is music to my ears.
I know there are other cars that can outperform this car out there. But for the what I get out of this 5-door hatchback -- 250 HP, 255-lb torque, DSG transmission, just to name a few -- there's no other car out there for me. I can now and honestly say, "I love this car!"
We bought 2008 A3 in 2015 with only 27000 miles on it.
It is FUN to drive! It feels like a race horse wishing to run! This thing is made for highway driving. It's ability to accelerate and maneuver is the best I have ever felt. That said, it is annoying to drive in city. The least little bit of pressure on accelerator causes it to jump, sometimes too far too fast!
It is very uncomfortable / awkard to get in and out of, and I am an average size American guy (5'8, 200 lbs).
The worst aspect is the inability to find qualified, reliable mechanics who are willing to work on the vehicle. I have owned Ford, Isuzu, Honda, and Toyotas. I never had an issue with find qualified mechanics with those brands. Here, it took awhile to find one outside of a dealership. Audi has a management software that few mechanics have access to, and I live in south Florida, not middle of nowhere Montana, North Dakota, etc.!
Also, due to low profile, going over any railroad tracks or potholes can be annoying at best, or expensive at worst. We went over one, and fractured the radiator support, which needed to be replaced. I saw later that it was made completely of plastic! How cheap! A front-end structural support made of plastic, how cheap on Audi!
2008 Audi A3 3.2 quattro 4dr Wagon AWD (3.2L 6cyl 6A)
Considering how many times a season I head up to the ski slopes here in Colorado a 4wd hatchback was a must. Coming from a Subaru family I started my search there, but was put off by the WRX's insatiable need for speed.. however thanks to this site I stumbled upon the Audi A3 and haven't looked back since. I'm able to hold highway speeds in the worst snowstorms and the A3 doesn't even wiggle when charging through the midlane muck. Weaving in and out of traffic while pulling up I70 is a breeze, one swipe of the paddle shifter and I'm gone. But more-over, its the fit and finish that has won me over, everything is just as it should be and that coupled with the handling is pure eloquence.
The DSG, while it takes a little bit of getting used to is an absolute riot to drive.
Its nearly impossible not to get lost in a nicely tuned Bose sound system.
And I must also say, the ability of the ski pass-through to fit two full snowboarding setups makes a spur of the moment trip way too easy.
Be ready to increase the gas budget, I have a 50 mile daily commute that's in and out of the mountains, and with a car that makes it this easy to pass the van going 5 under in the left lane, its not hard to watch the needle drop.
I've been averaging 21.5 mpg driving it mixed between standard drive and DSG shifting myself.
Not too terribly bad, but I think that's the best I can get out of the A3 and its oh-so-easy to get much less.
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.