Well I have an A3 1.8T at the moment as a loaner from the dealer while they fix a couple of bits on my 2001 S3.
Thought I would put my thoughts on here - I'm really used to driving the S3 and it's interesting to see what the differences are.
First things that struck me;
How much easier the A3 is to drive than the S3. Don't mean this in any derogatary way at all (to those A3 drivers!) but it isn't as twitchy and you don't seem to need to control it quite as much.
Also noticed the whistly noise of the turbo...
It was surprisingly quick, especially at the low end. Bit of a flat spot at "overtaking speeds" i.e. 45ish - 70ish, and then obviously not as much power as the S3 at the top end.
BUT very nice from a standing start (ESP switched off seems totally necessary), smooth gear changes (although I found the gear box a bit "squishy" in comparison to mine) and cruises at 120kph quite happily in 5th.
imho it could do with 6th gear, but overall I quite liked it. Lots quieter than the S3 which is nice on the motorway.
It doesn't have BOSE and after all the slagging I have given BOSE, it is loads better than NOT having BOSE !
Nice car... but.. still... don't want to swap it for the S3 and can't wait to get my baby back !!