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Mini Review - A3 Sportback 1.4TFSI 122 SE

rozel Apr 6, 2014

  1. rozel

    rozel Member

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    Hi all, this is my first Audi in the 43 years I have been driving and wanted to share a few things in the few days I have been driving it. It came with no additional options fitted so it is as per the SE brochure.

    1. Engine - without doubt it has to be the most refined 4 cylinder engine I have ever driven. I bought the car with this engine on the superb reviews I read earlier in the year and I have not been disappointed one bit. You do not know it is running at idle sometimes and unless, when driving, you put your foot down which brings in the turbo it is difficult to hear when the radio is playing. It moves with pace when you want it to and it is economical if you want it to be. When driving hard, and in this respect "hard" means 3500/4000 revs in any gear whilst running in, mpg can be quite low (36mpg) but if driven sedately as my advancing years prefer then I have mangaged 50mpg to and from work. My daily trips to and from work cover a distance of 17.5 miles and is on rural roads which to say the least are very twisty, bumpy, full of pot-holes and far from "open". I have yet to try it out on a lengthy motorway journey. I know the roads making up the journey like the back of my hand and have driven it with numerous cars over the past 10 years. Best mpg in any car I have driven in, over this journey has been a 2.2 deisel Turbo Primera @ 43mpg, worst my ex Merc CLK 320 @26mpg. This 1.4 engine rocks my boat full stop.

    2. Gear Shifting - first noticeable thing is that the markings on top of the lever are slanted towards the passenger, as if it were designed for a left hand drive car and so far haven't found a way to turn it the "proper" way. Second thing is it feels a little (very slightly) notchy shifting through the gears. Nothing bad I would say but in a car of this quality, I would have expected silky smooth gear changing. Otherwise no issues so far.

    3. Cabin - inside it is very well designed indeed. Everything is where it should be - especially the stalks for the indicators/lights and the windscreen wipers - both first class. Haven't sorted the courtesy lights out as yet but need to read the manual more. We went out last night and when the doors were opened they didn't come on. Rear leg room was very good indeed. I am 6 foot tall and so have my driving seat pushed back somewhat but my 5 foot eight daughter was more than comfortable. I suspect there are no footwell lights - disappointing.

    4. Other miscellaneous items - Disappointed that paying over £20,000 for a car of this class, that there is/are no: -

    a. rain-sensing wipers
    b. "Auto" lighting so lights come on as needed
    c. Navigation isn't activated/provided - Audi must be having a giraffe if they think I'm going to shell out over £500/600 quid for it, when all the hardware has been installed already!
    d. No self-closing driver/passenger door mirrors when the ignition is turned off.
    e. Expected keyless ignition

    The overall build quality of the car is wonderful - shutting the doors can say a lot about this and they shut beautifully :). My car was provided with Pirelli tyres a really nice suprise as, if I had received the poor and noisy continentals then I would have had them changed, given what I have read. I chose the SE mainly because of the suspension - best of the lot I believe - and the smaller 16" tyres. I truly have had a belly full of super-wide low profile tyres which in my experience do not add anything to normal driving but in freezing or wet weather can be lethal and just make the ride more uncomfortable. I also preferred the 10 spoke alloys too after seeing the whole compliment available. I have uploaded some pics in another thread and have taken a close-up of one of the wheels. The overall ride is more than comfortable over the roads to and from work. The CD-Player/SD Card slots are in the glove compartment - how is one supposed to change a CD when driving alone? OK a move towards SD cards is inevitable sadly (I say this because MP3's are c**p even at 320kbps which is the maximum the MMI will accept - god knows why it cannot play back flacs but hey-ho) so changing won't be as common place, if using a larger 64gb card. But a design flaw imho. On the other hand my existing Galaxy S2 has fallen in love with the MMI already and feel sure my new S5, coming this Friday will love it also. The DAB radio is, to me, a revalation - no more listening to the break up of Radio 5 Live in the mornings depending on the weather! Listening to the main radio stations on our back roads, in an area where no 3G exists, let alone 4G, I have yet to have any break up of signal - quite superb. That said this is my first expeience with Dab.

    I am coming to this Audi after driving a top of the range Mercedes CLK 320 cabriolet vintage 2002, from new. This was my pride and joy and simply the best car I have ever driven so I am being critical in writing this. My other car is a 3 year old Mercedes B160 Sport, something more useful to compare against. So I won't compare against the CLK but as for a comparison between the A3 and the B-Class then the A3 takes most of the honours. Apart from those little things I have mentioned in 4. above, which the Merc excells in.

    So in summary I am not suprised one little bit that Audi have sold so many units as they have in GB this past month - wonderful cars and so many engine variants to suit so many tastes/preferences/tax regimes etc. But nothing will ever take away my sheer driving pleasure I have had with my beloved CLK which I will always use as a yard stick when comparing cars.

    For a four-cylinder car - this A3 model is breathtaking. If I can fix the the Gear Knob and a Dealer could fix the "notchiness" of gear-shifting then I will be over the moon.

    Feel free to comment or argue or agree with anything I have said and add some more of the wonderful support I have received already from these forums.

    roz
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  2. Daz Auto

    Daz Auto Active Member

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    Yeah, you would think that any modern car should have certain things as standard - such as light/rain sensors - especially a "premium" brand like Audi. My sisters 14 year old Clio had more kit as standard.

    Completely agree about the petrol engine - quiet and smooth. Unfortunately, we had to have a diesel for the extra economy. It is neither quiet or smooth at low speeds and the stop start is really noticeable. But we knew that from our test drives.

    Also loving the ride comfort with standard suspension on 16 inch tyres. We drive on mostly rural roads too. Certainly a lot more comfortable than my Golf with sports suspension and 17 inch tyres and the 2 A3s we test drove.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  3. yetirider

    yetirider Active Member

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    For less than£600 you could have had the auto lights, wipers, and dimming mirror added, plus the interior light pack.
    Pity you didn't spend a bit more to have the perfect SE.
     
  4. rozel

    rozel Member

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    Had no choice but the point I am making in 4. is that this lot should have been included for a car of this cost.
     
  5. MA3RC

    MA3RC Well-Known Member TFSI Owners Group VCDS Map User Audi A3 Team Brill Red

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    I agree with what you're saying in the fact that most of the options you've listed should be standard. I had to spec them on my car. But the reason they do it is so anyone can own an Audi. With the base model starting at £18k it allows a bigger market to buy into the "Audi brand". Then you make the car your own. Not paying for extras you don't want.
     
  6. rozel

    rozel Member

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    I agree MA3RC - but even £18,000 for a new 5-door hatch is expensive considering what is on the market - my B-Class 160 Sport came with this lot at appx the same price as this and my daughter's Ford B-Max came with it all on! and that was substantially cheaper than either.

    Not making 4. a big deal though, just commenting - everything else makes up for it, I feel.
     
  7. veeeight

    veeeight I am a very pretty girl VCDS Map User Black Edition

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    A lot of the Audi pricing structure in the UK is guided by fleet sales - the bulk of Audi UK's income.

    To get an Audi with the minimum P11D value, and to get it under certain price points, very basic packs and equipment standard only make it.

    Thus anything extra is an option.
     
  8. rozel

    rozel Member

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    Let me throw this into the pot.................

    If I had have had just over £30,000 to spend on a car, would I have had an Audi? A definate no.

    Would have been the Jaguar 6 cylinder deisel without a shadow of a doubt. No A3 is worth circa £30k imho. So Audi need to decide whether they are a luxury car manufacturer or not and price accordingly. Just my tuppence worth - shoot me down if you want :)
     
  9. h5djr

    h5djr Well-Known Member VCDS Map User Gold Supporter quattro Audi A3

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    It's also part of the German culture for buying new cars. If you were to purchase a standard A3 in Germany it would have none of the 'goodies' that come as standard on UK models. The spec on UK models is primarily aimed at giving company car buyers what they want without having to pay for extras.

    Whatever is on the car someone has to pay for either as options or in a higher basic price. Personally I like this way of doing things. It means I can choose my basic model and add options to it that are important to me and not have to pay for things that I will never use. I generally spend quite a bit on options so that I get just the car I want within what Audi offer. The new 8V I have on order will have just over £4,500 worth of options and a lot will not be what a lot of others would include. No extra Audio, nothing for a phone, nothing for Sat/Nav for example.
     
  10. h5djr

    h5djr Well-Known Member VCDS Map User Gold Supporter quattro Audi A3

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    The slight problem with your argument is that Audi are selling more and more cars. 1,575,480 in 2013 compared with 1,455,123 in 2012 so they must be doing something right and seem to know what their market's want.
     
  11. rozel

    rozel Member

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    Like as has been said Audi are concentrating on the Fleet Sales market not the private buying public. Nothing wrong with that but it's not for me - I want an up to date car and the options I listed in 4., were definately not those that I would regard as "options" these days.

    How about some people commenting on other things in the review please? People just seem to focus on the bad things in a review possibly because they are biased towards Audi. Again I have no problem with that because after all this is an Audi forum but it would be helpful too for unbiased opinion to come forth and not just on point 4.
     
  12. veeeight

    veeeight I am a very pretty girl VCDS Map User Black Edition

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    A dealer will sort out the misaligned gear knob, and the notchiness in the shift will ease a little with mileage.
    But it will still be a slightly notchy shift, as opposed to silken.

    CDs in cars are going the way of cassettes, use the SD card slots, and to be honest, 320kbps mp3 is fine in your standard audio system :p

    Alternatively, set up Bluetooth streaming from your S5. Had you spec'd the tech pack, then AAC or FLAC would have been possible using AMI.
     
  13. rozel

    rozel Member

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    You know this already? I have searched on the forum about this but not found anything. I am concerned if the notchiness cannot be sorted and that it is apparent in all A3's with 1.4 engines.
     
  14. veeeight

    veeeight I am a very pretty girl VCDS Map User Black Edition

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    How notchy is it?

    One mans notchiness is another mans silken.

    I drove a 1.4 8V manual the other week, the shift was "positive", but I guess some would call it notchy. It all depends what you are starting out from.

    i would describe a Merc manual (apart from a mistake) clunky.


    How about nipping into an Audi dealership to compare the stationary gearshift quality of other A3's ?
     
  15. rozel

    rozel Member

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    C**p in = C**p out and I cannot hear the difference between a std MP3 and a 320kbps one. Don't think anyone can. But bet your bottom dollar you can tell the fifference when you play a flac :) As said in my review, my S2 loves the MMI and plays back flacs superbly and when I get my S5 this Friday they should sound even better. To be honest the standard sound system is ok quality wise in another thread I have mentioned that the Trble and mid-range are sweet but the bass is too woolly imo.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  16. veeeight

    veeeight I am a very pretty girl VCDS Map User Black Edition

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    Far be it from me to suggest deafness :p but I can certainly hear the artefacts between a 128kbps and 320kbps mp3 in a blind test (and regularly do) :)
     
  17. rozel

    rozel Member

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    Very slight but you can definately feel it. not a smooth notchiness more of a clicking but you cannot hear it - sorry for the poor description but yes I will be taking it in soon - nearest Dealership is over 45 miles away :(
     
  18. rozel

    rozel Member

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    lol

    Most audiophiles cannot hear the difference it's said in many forums. There is so much more to recording MP3's than the bit rate. MP3's are imo not worth it. Give me lossless or a CD anytime :)
     
  19. arad85

    arad85 Well-Known Member Team V6 Audi S5 Black Edition

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    But not in a car doing 50mph... And I have more invested in my hi-fi than I do in my 184Q so do know the difference between lossless and lossy compressed music :)
     
  20. rozel

    rozel Member

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    In my A3, playing a flac file from my Galaxy S2 using bluetooth provides better quality. I was travelling at 70mph on a dual carriageway yesterday and a Coldplay track recorded as an mp3 (not sure what bit rate it was recorded at) sounded poor by comparison. I was trying out the bluetooth connection as I haven't yet worked out how to play back via cable using the phone's players. My car is very quiet.
     
  21. arad85

    arad85 Well-Known Member Team V6 Audi S5 Black Edition

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    Without knowing the encoder and bitrate used, or how the player operates on the S2, neither of us can comment. A 192kbit variable or 320k fixed bitrate encoded with LAME is pretty good. I am 100% FLAC at home. I can tell the difference. Easily. I long ago lost interest in trying to tell the difference in the car - it just isn't worth it....
     
  22. Itguy

    Itguy Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't that be the cheapest most basic spec jag they do? - ie lacking a load of proper options too?
     
  23. rozel

    rozel Member

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    My ears could tell quite easily and I've commented.
     
  24. rozel

    rozel Member

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    A fair point on the options but I would sooner be driving the Jag. The overall cost of options though would be comparatively less on the Jag in proportion to the basic cost of the car.
     
  25. veeeight

    veeeight I am a very pretty girl VCDS Map User Black Edition

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    Um, you do realise that when you stream audio (eg your FLAC file) using Bluetooth, it uses a lossy codec (most likely apt-X) to get the audio on the stream ..........

    So you are in fact listening to a 384 or 320 kbps stream.
     
  26. arad85

    arad85 Well-Known Member Team V6 Audi S5 Black Edition

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    and

    I.e. you have no idea what has been done to the source or how it has been encoded or treated so you do not know what you are listening to. It is impossible to draw any conclusion which is meaningful (and that is without adding listener bias into the equation which will further throw out the results).
     
  27. rozel

    rozel Member

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    I understand all that has been said and has motivated me to find out more about the MMI system in my car. Today I travelled to and from work - 18 miles on rural back roads listening to a classical recording. I listened to this via VLC Player on my Galaxy S2 connected via bluetooth. On the way to work, I listened to the mp3 (320kbs file) of the classical piece and on the way home to the very same recording but using a flac file. I set the volume on the S2 to max, the input volume on the MMI to quarter past and the main volume control to 29. It was remarkable just how much better the flac file sounded. Stereo separation and the dynamic range much improved. I had set the treble to 12 o'clock and the bass to quarter past.

    To my ears I have no wish to upgrade the sound setup other than to install a subwoofer - see my other thread on this topic. But I would like to know (and I am researching at the moment): -

    1. What bluetooth profile the S2 uses - I think 4.0 but not 100% sure
    2.What profile the MMI uses
    3.And as you say what codec is used.

    There is very little known about the 2013/2014 MMI and if I cannot find anything on the net then I shall write to Audi. In the meantime on Audi's website I am confused. After selecting A3 as my car and my phone there are so many things I'm not sure of. What the do the - and • mean? especially as some of the columns do not show either. Then whats the difference between MMI Radio and MMI Navigation Plus mean? Just exactly what is the name of my MMI system?

    Audi make it so complicated. Maybe the MMI's newness is why I am struggling to find any information?
     
  28. arad85

    arad85 Well-Known Member Team V6 Audi S5 Black Edition

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    I have no wish to argue with you over hi-fi and music reproduction (I have done enough of that with people over time and I got thoroughly bored with it). I will say that the human mind is a powerful thing and testing things in different environments (beginning/end of the day and with knowledge of what you are doing and which is playing) is a dangerous thing to draw conclusions from.
     
  29. rozel

    rozel Member

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    So please don't because I'm not with you.

    But feel free to comment on the questions I have asked if you can - the MMI seems a current mystery :sadlike:
     
  30. arad85

    arad85 Well-Known Member Team V6 Audi S5 Black Edition

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    No idea... I haven't tried the Audi website for phone usage (I'm OK with a bluetooth connection to take calls and play all my music from an SD card (mp3's :)) or listen to the radio.
     
  31. Joetidman

    Joetidman Well-Known Member

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    For a, getting outdated, jag XF with a V6 diesel you'd need to spend £36K, which for that money you can get a specced up S3 with 300BHP...I know what I'd choose...
     

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