Just had the use of a courtesy car from dealership, a 57 plate A3 SB S-line in Red with DSG and 2 colour leather (red/Black) for the last week whilst some warranty paint work was carried out on the S3.
1.8T seemed very quiet in comparison to the S3 but still made a nice gruff noise when pushed. The DSG box IMO is far better suited to the 170D but having said that seemed smoother in the petrol variant, considering the car gives away over 100bhp it felt quite 'perky' around town and never felt slow at all. In fact the only time I felt myself willing it on was on the motorway at 80 mph plus when the accelaration was leagues behind the S3 and the wifes 2.0tdi DSG so I'm guessing this is down to the torque deficit. The strange thing was the 1.8T almost felt quicker around town but I put this down to FWD and possibly a smaller turbo which seemed to come on boost earlier, coupled with the DSG this equated to fast, smooth progress.
The switch back to FWD was a bit of a revelation especially with the frosty weather we have had with 'understeer' being very apparent but contollable and great fun neverless, the steering felt much lighter in all situations with less 'feel' than the S3, the handling was perfectly acceptable but not even close to the confidence inspiring set up of the S3, I think once you have had quattro for a while you adapt your driving style without realising and driving familiar routes proved this point to me.
The extra doors of the SB were very useful especially when transporting my one year old and would have considered an S3 Sportback had it been available but this now arrives next summer. (Ref Audi Dealership manager).
I really missed the arm rest, Xenons - (you don't realise how good these lights are until they are no longer there), lighting pack and auto wipers so these are a must have IMO.
MPG was obviously better and increased by 4mpg for average driving, probably more so on a motorway run but i was enjoying playing with the DSG far too much to find out.
I handed the car back thinking how enjoyable it had been to drive for a week, the car looked good enough to make me glance back when parked especially with the new style 18" RS4 alloys, it really was no hardship living with the car for almost a week.
I get back into my S3 and wooooooHoooo!!!!, how quick is this car?!?
I arrived home some 30 miles later grinning from ear to ear.
My conclusion - the 1.8T DSG is a great car but I can't see why anyone would buy one? The obvious choice seems to be the 2.0tdi in 170bhp guise or if you really must have a petrol then I would have to pay the extra again for the S3, on the surface the S3 can look expensive but once you spec another A3 up there isn't a great deal of difference.
The S3 is indeed a 'stealthy' tool that never shouts about its capabilities, I'm still one satisfied owner.