I felt compelled to write up my thoughts of my A3 now that I've had it for a while, and feel it's bedded in. I've had an A3 8P and a VW Scirocco prior to owning this.
In terms of what I've got:
A3 8V 2.0 Diesel S-Line
Bang & Olufsen speakers
Here's some pics:
I kinda hoped the looks would grow on me a little more, I always used to find myself looking back at the Scirocco when I walked away from it, from certain angles it was a great looking car, from others, hideous. However, with the A3 I don't have that same kind of connection with it, it's nice enough, but I wouldn't say it was pretty. I think conservative best sums it up for me.
This, for me, is why I bought the car. The Scirocco was uncomfortable over long journeys and was a bit of mish-mash of the VW parts bin. I decided when getting a new car, the interior was important. I know this is just as subjective as the exterior looks, but I think the interior is excellent. Again, nothing too outlandish, but perfectly formed. The fit an finish is excellent, the textures, just right. Once I'm sat in there I don't really care about much else. Over long journeys it's comfortable and refined, but the tyres are a little bit noisy.
Following on from the comment about the tyres, it's worth expanding on the ride. When I ordered the car, there were a few reviews from the likes of Honest John, Auto Express etc about how great the ride was, how dynamic and sporty it felt. To be honest, I think they just trot this out every time they review an Audi. The ride is no way near as hard as the 8P was, and it's slightly better than the Scirocco (which did have 19s to be fair!). But it's still not the last word in comfort. Again, I've got the S-Line Suspension, so that will detract from the ride slightly, but even so, it's still quite hard.
My personal opinion is that Audi seem to set their cars up (in terms of spring rate, ride comfort) based on German roads, rather than UK roads. If anything we should get a lesser spring rate over here, putting the car into, say, Dynamic mode (which makes the steering very heavy to simulate 'sportiness') seems crazy on some roads, and very uncomfortable if it come across lumps, bumps and potholes. A couple of times while making progress it has unsettled the car, I leave the suspension in Auto now.
That said, you can stick it into a corner, and it will grip. I haven't driven it like much of a hooligan, purely because it doesn't really inspire that sort of confidence. The feedback through the steering wheel isn't that great, and the car does feel quite heavy, though sure footed. With my Scirocco I used to be able to have a little play with it now and again, throwing it into corners, fighting the steering etc, but with this, you don't really get any enjoyment like that. So I'd say, sporty it is not, but it's safe and relatively brisk. It lets you have a little play, but there's nothing dynamic or such here.
The Tech Pack and Bang & Olufsen Speakers
I've always been the sort to fit my own speakers (usually JL Audio components, subs and amps) and head units (previously Alpines) in my cars, I just naturally assuming most standard in-car audio was naff. I had Bose in the A3 8P which was rubbish and the standard set up in the Scirocco which was actually OK. With this car I decided I couldn't be bothered ripping out door cards, hunting around for rattles and loose cables and so on. I also persevered with a slow, knackered TomTom with a rubbish battery and a huge mat to hold it on the dash. Bored of all of that I went for the Tech Pack due it's rave reviews and the B&O speakers pretty much on a whim, hoping they'd be decent. To me, next to the interior, these are the best bits about the car. The Tech Pack is brilliant, intuitive and perfectly integrated with all the car controls. Some real thought has gone into the control methods, the switches between key modules (phone, radio, media, nav) are excellent, voice recognition (after some training) is great and the ability to play virtually all media, through many different sources is so good to see.
The B&O Speakers, after some running in are really good, the sound stage is impressive to say the least. Obviously the bass isn't up there with dedicated subs in boxes, but it really holds its own. Listening to Michael Jackson, uncompressed at a high volume produced some great results. I'm very impressed with that package as a whole.
The Scirocco I had previously had the CR140, which was a massive step up from the 1.9 TDI I had in the 8P, it was more refined, more fun, and still returned good economy. Downsides were the coilpacks failed, the turbo blew up after 50k and a vacuum unit failed, clearly reliability was an issue then. Moving up the 150 in the current A3, I'd say the engine is more powerful, it feels more usable than the CR140, more torquey, and I'd be surprised if it actually was 150PS. That said, it's not very economical (right now anyway). Typical runs I'd do in the 140 would return ~50mpg, will now return 40-45mpg, if that. I guess that's the trade off you get for more power. The tank is annoyingly small too, but I guess they wanted as much cabin space as possible.
The driving select thing is a fad in my view, the economy mode actually seems to decrease MPG, Dynamic mode makes the steering stupidly heavy, and comfort mode, too light. Leaving it in auto seems to be best. I should have got the comfort pack, but at the time of ordering it wasn't clear what it came with or costed, but I don't hugely miss the auto lights or wipers.
There are a couple, the door catches don't seem to line up quite right. Even with a decent slam the door doesn't close every time. I've also got an issue with 'notchy' steering. Essentially there's a slight gap between dead centre, and the electromechanical steering force, which makes the steering quite sensitive on occasion. The ride is still fairly hard, but I've got S-Line Suspension so I can deal with that.
I think my overriding view of the 8V is that it's got some great points (interior, tech pack, speakers) some low points (the issues I mentioned) and some in between, namely that it's not exactly inspiring to drive. Sure, you can launch it into a corner at a fair rate of knots, but it doesn't really want you to drive it like that, I find the steering pretty lacking in feel, and although the MQB chassis is supposedly lighter, the car feels heavier than the 8P, to me at least. I wouldn't say I love it like I did my Scirocco, but it ticks other boxes the Scirocco didn't, and overall it's a good car.