Akin to what another reviewer described - the A3 is a great driving car, too much fun (as evidenced by multiple speeding tickets). But... I've gotten to know my service dealer a little too well. Driver's seat fell apart - warranty-covered fix. Fuse box melted - warranty covered that. It's a turbocharged car, so you have to replace the spark plugs every 30k mi. It didn't help that the injector coil also went out on me. Ugh. Now at 80k miles, the engine light is going on, and there's no identifiable reason. The engine was cleaned out (pistons), various valves and manifolds were replaced, yet after $900 in repairs, it's still messed up with the engine light brightening my interior lighting. The 25k/50k/75k services at the dealer ran about $500-$700. Oil changes run $100. Premium fuel. No off-dealer maintenance shop will replace the transmission fluid as that's Audi special. My next car will be a Mazda - all the same driving fun, with less costly repairs.
I needed to replace my 11 year old TT roadster with a larger car. I was looking at 2-3 year old A4 Avants but they were too expensive. Last week I bought an A3 used with 30k on the odometer. I just finished a 1000 mile road trip in 100+ degree heat at an average speed of 85 mph without a single problem. Great power from the 2.0 turbo that emits a wonderful snarl when you floor it and the dual clutch transmission is an able dance partner in the twisties. The dual zone AC kept the cabin of my black on black skyroof equipped A3 cool and comfortable while we cruised through the Mojave desert and the engine temp needle never budged past the middle of the dial. Great little car!
Just after warranty, the manifold went bad. The injectors went bad. After five years of ownership the main engine seal and the oil separator went bad ($2,000) and the fuse housing under the hood melted ($675). I have been driving for 32 years and I have gotten bad gasoline with this car twice. Never before in 32 years has that occurred. The car is over engineered and too temperamental. VW's I've owned were also unreliable. If you have plenty of money and time to spend at the shop, you may consider this a fun car.
My 2009 Audi A3 driver side door does not work with the fob. The other doors work fine. The shop says the door lock actuator needs to be replaced total cost $750! The low oil light keeps on popping up. I have not gotten an estimate and will wait until my 105k maintenance. The car looks and drives well. Also, the MPG is pretty good even on Premium gas. However my old and ancient Camry seems to have less constant minor issues.
I bought my 09 A3(2.0T w/S-tronic) in July 2012, with 51k miles, now has 81k miles. MPG has actually gotten better, and I routinely get over 30 commuting to work(22 miles one way). Had to replace the electronic throttle, but other than that, I've spent $2.5k on regular maintenance--tune up, oil changes, brakes, tires. The seatbacks came unglued, so i simply super-glued them back together, with no issues. The armrest also came undone, but to replace the top portion, it will cost me $200, so that will also be super-glued back. I will consider the 2015 A3 when it arrives, though i'll also be cross-shopping with the Volvo V60(soon to arrive), and the new GTI.