I was going to buy a 2nd hand A3 2.0tdi quattro earlier in the year but after the other half moaning about me not spending 8-9K on a car and wanting a 5 door over a 3 door i plumped for a Golf 1.9tdi 130 on a 52 plate but to be honest i'm really not enjoying the driving experience with the Golf.

Don't get me wrong its a nice car but it suffers from extreme poor traction in the wet which isn't helped by the brickwall flat spot in 2nd gear where there is nothing then suddenly full on power, doesn't seem to matter how slowly i press the loud pedal, sometimes the traction control works, sometimes it doesnt, the light seems to be on continuosly in the wet in the first 3 gears, even today i saw it flashing away while doing 60ish in 4th.

So i'm going to get rid of it and replace with either an A3 or A4 with quattro but this is where the confusion really starts as i like the 48 average mpg i have acheived in 4k miles with the Golf but i know i can only get close to that if i go for either a 1.9 or 2.0 tdi on the A3/4 but would also like some extra power to deal with the TD BMW's round here so my mind has strayed towards the 180bhp 2.5tdi A4 as i see you can chip them to 210+bhp but i also see average mpg is down to 35 but i also fancy the 3.2 V6 A3 but that only does 25mpg and the S3 due to its tuneablilty but again only 30ish to the gallon (my old tuned 1.8T passat only did 27mpg on a good day).

So my question really is is the A4 2.5tdi 180 chipped as good a car performance wise (due to extra size/weight) as a chipped 1.9tdi A3, is it worth the drop in mpg for the A4 or should i say sod it and go for an S3? is the A3 haldex part time quattro system as good as the full time A4 quattro?

I probably did the wrong thing and worked out the extra costs in fuel/road tax/insurance to run the S3 compared to 1.9tdi over 5 years and on the miles i do it would work out an extra 1,000 a year to run, over 5 years thats 5k

Sorry for the long post