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5 Months of Ownership

Nardies Apr 16, 2013

  1. Nardies

    Nardies Member

    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
    Tech Pack
    Folding Mirrors
    Bang & Olufsen speakers
    Alcantara/Leather Seats
    Cruise Control

    Here's some pics:


    The looks

    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.

    The interior

    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.

    Other stuff

    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.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
    XXXCorps likes this.
  2. S3 Rav

    S3 Rav Well-Known Member

    Good read there. Do you have pics of your car?
  3. icebun

    icebun New Member

    Great read.

    Can you comment on the ride and levels of road noise?
  4. Vertigo1

    Vertigo1 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting read, thanks for that.

    Most interesting is that your spec is very close to mine (see sig) and your impressions pretty much echo mine exactly. I can't say I've had any problems with the doors or the steering myself but, as for the other points, bang on the money!

    One thing I will add is about the looks. I agree with you on the whole. It's a decent looking car and obviously looks more "modern" than the 8P but, if I'm being brutally honest, I think the 8P looked better. Side by side the 8P looks a bit antiquated compared to the 8V but that's understandable because it's an older design but, if you take that out of the equation then I think it looks better, if that makes any sense.
    XXXCorps likes this.
  5. markwiggy

    markwiggy Third Gear

    Good read mate, funny reading it really as I had a Scirroco and always thought of it a bit of an ugly duckling and I never really gelled with the interior either.

    I don't have my new A3 yet but I must say after a short test drive in a 20TDI Sport I felt immediately at home and my mind was made up instantly. I had been running a Range Rover Evoque for 12 months, but I just loved the A3, the Evoque was up for sale immediately and has now gone.

    XXXCorps likes this.
  6. Daveotto

    Daveotto Moderator Staff Member Moderator Team Floret Silver Gold Supporter Audi S3 S3 Saloon

    Great post and first comment I have seen on the smaller 50l tank compared to 8P 55l. I also think 8v tank is a little small, 55l on the 8v might have meant one tank of fuel a month for me assuming I can get 52-53mpg but at 50l will have to fill up my 2.0TDI more than Once a month when I finally get t.
  7. frazzeld

    frazzeld Member

    Have you been back to the dealers about the doors? I dont have any issues with doors or the steering wheel, I find the ride alot smoother than the 8P having said that! the previous car was a Sport and this is an SE so I suppose you would expect the ride to be softer, the one thing I didn't like was the wing mirror shape "the actual mirror" got used to it now though and strangley enough I find myself looking back at this car more when I get out
  8. squiretolley

    squiretolley Active Member

    It's not just me then who's noticed the small fuel tank! Bloody annoying.
  9. TreborA4

    TreborA4 Active Member

    Me too!

    It was disappointing to see the initial figure of 365 miles to fill up in the DIS.

    As I now have over 1200 miles on the clock and mpg going up, the miles to fill up is increasing! 485 miles when I last looked.
  10. Nardies

    Nardies Member

    Added some stuff about the ride, and some pictures from another thread.

    RE: The doors, I haven't bothered yet, no. I'll get them to look at it when it goes in for it's first service. I'm pretty certain it's just an alignment issue on both doors.

    Vertigo - Agree with you on the looks front, and know what you mean about the 8P looking antiquated, but still better. I think the 8P Sportback Black Edition looked the best of the bunch, but the interior was getting quite dated. I think Audi were in a fairly unique position, like VW with the Golf, they just have to ensure they don't screw it up when they release a new one, and people will buy it.
    XXXCorps likes this.
  11. Nardies

    Nardies Member

    I know what you mean about the Scirocco, I used to like it from certain angles, namely rear 3/4, front 3/4 and the side profile. From the front and back, straight on, it looked all wrong somehow. It did also look like a roller skate on those massive wheels.

    Interesting about the Evoque too, I was looking at those to initially, but the price bracket just grew too much once I started adding options, seems like I made the right choice then :icon_thumright:
  12. mjcourtney

    mjcourtney Well-Known Member Team Mythos Audi A4 Audi Avant Owner Group S-line owners group TDi

    I have the same issue with the doors. The passenger side always takes a few slams to shut properly, whereas drivers side always shuts first time. Its going in next week to be checked.
  13. viperfire

    viperfire Active Member

    I don't agree with the old a3 looks better than the new a3 lark. I walk past a black edition sportback every day in the office car park and it looks blocky compared to the new one. The new shape s line is very sleek and looks way more modern. I entertained buying an old shape A3 when they offered the deposit contribution but couldn't get away with the ugly dated looks of it. Each to their own
  14. XXXCorps

    XXXCorps Member

    A great review there Nardies. Funny how most of us think alike really; I too think the 8P is the better looking car, and the Scirocco was a mish mash of the worst parts from the Golf V; on the Scirocco I could never understand why there was no cover over the binnacle in the centre console like the Golf and a louvred cover over the cup holders; two of the things that always put me off that car. Little things I know but there you go...
    Anyhow; they're part of the many reasons why I'll be in a TT by the end of next week. However, the car I really wanted to change to was an A3 Sportback Black Edition 8P but I won't pay used car prices or even have a used one so that was cancelled out before anything.

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