Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Car review: Audi A3 2.0 TDI 140hp (MY 2009)

Car: Audi A3 2.0 TDI 140hp Ambition*
Engine: 2.0-Liter 4 cylinder
Exterior: Phantom Black, pearl effect
Interior: Dynamic Cloth Black-Silver
Optional equipment: Metallic Paint, Alloy wheels 7,5 J x 17 10-Spoke Design, AUX-IN socket, S-Line spoiler (rear), Dual-zone electronic climate control, 3-Spoke leather Sports multi-function steering wheel, Electric lumbar support, Center arm rest, Heated front seats, Cruise control, Acoustic parking system (rear only), Satellite Navigation system with MMI-buttons (monochrome),
Price: €32.145,00
Performance: 140hp / 320nm – 9,4 seconds to 100km/h
Top speed: 207km/h
Fuel consumption: 7.3/100km (32mpg / US)

* The Ambition-package includes:

Door sills with aluminium inlays
Aluminium medial inlays and door trims
Dynamic cloth upholstery
Alloy wheels 7,5 J x 17 10-Spoke Design
Passenger seat adjustable in height
Driver information system
Fog lights
Sun-blind in rear parcel shelf
Sports suspension (lowered by 15mm)
3-Spoke leather Sports multi-function steering wheel
Front Sports seats

Audi's current A3 has been on the road for quite a few years now, had two facelifts and will be replaced by the new Audi A3 in 2012.


Opposed to the Audi A3 Sportback, the 3-door version misses the rear two doors, significantly altering the design of the car. After the car had its last facelift in 2009, the common sight of the LED's had also been extended to the A3-range. However as this specific car has not been fitted with the optional bi-xenon headlights, it also does not feature the LED-design. This makes the design a bit more suttle and less aggressive.

Audi A3 3-doors

Audi A3 5-doors Sportback

Despite the age the general design of the A3 still looks ok, while the 3-door version features a more sporty look then the Sportback. Included in the Ambition package are alloy rims in the 10-spoke design that enable the car to stand out more between the standard leasing-A3 that take to the roads every day.
2.Handling & Engine

Included in the “Ambition” package are options to underline the sporty ambition of the Audi A3. A sports suspension, sport seats and sport steering wheel differ the “Ambition” A3 from its standard brother. The sport suspension is quite hard, although fun for short rides “around the corner”, it can be too nervous on longer journeys and be a nuisance to the regular driver. Another point of critique is the front wheel drive, when driving through corners or accelerating fast the driver can feel the forces in the steering wheel, creating an annoying pull, although during normal driving this will be an issue of lesser importance. But still it has been fun to drive this car around the corners in a hilly countryside.

Performance of the 2.0 TDI diesel engine with 140hp is excellent, the diesel torque result in enough power to “master” most normal traffic conditions without a glitch. Only the regular (fast) drivers on the Autobahn will notice that the engine is losing its momentum when driving at speeds in excess of 160km/h (that is 100mp/h). Another great characteristic is the the fuel consumption of this car is relatively low, resulting in both a larger range and lower fuel cost. When driving the Audi A3 almost exclusively on the Autobahn it did 7,3l / 100km (32mpg / US).

3.Interior & Technology
A clean, orderly but maybe slightly boring interior is featured in the Audi A3. As it is a car from a previous generation, the dashboard is not focussed around the satnav (as with newer interior concepts like the current Audi A4) but the satnav still has been fitted in the dash after it had been designed. However the satnav still is a simple monochrome system that utilizes arrows to display the directions (and lacks a map), even when the car was produced (2009) it already was an outdated system.

The rest of the buttons and switches can be reached without a problem. Also the steering wheel and knob of the gear shifter are pleasant to touch, providing enough grip for a more furious driving style. Although it is not of top-notch quality like in the A6 or A8, the interior quality is still sufficient for a car of this size and price range. In contrast to BMW, the AUX-IN socket in the A3 is below the center arm rest instead of inside. This allows the operation of an audio device without having to open or close the arm rest like in a BMW.

4.Final thoughts

A big expensive car, fully loaded with options, is not always required to have fun. With the “Ambition” package the car has extra characteristics that underline its sporty genes. In contrast, the 140hp 2.0 liter diesel engine is a perfect trade-off between fun and economy. The only downside is the basic navigation system and that it might not be perfectly suited for long-distance travel.

Apart from that it is an excellent funcar for a relatively low price.

For pictures of the Audi A3 and Audi A3 Sportback, please click here.

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