Thinking of buying A3 any things to look for or be wary of?

lodgey47

Registered User
hi
I'm new to the forum and looking to buy probably an A3 3.2 with DSG gearbox has anyone any advice or tips that may help in my search? thanks
 

SootySport

Registered User
DSG box should change up and down smoothly in auto mode, using the shift stick and the paddles, try all 3 modes. When cold DSG seems a bit lazy engaging drive but a little extra throttle gets it moving. If a quattro version ram the throttle into the carpet, the front wheels should not spin as the Haldex coupler should engage and 4wd will engage.
Check the service history for Haldex and DSG services, should have been done roughly at 40k intervals.
These V6's do have a cam chain and if noisy it,a an engine out job and expensive as the chain is at the gearbox end of the engine.
A few do have ignition problems and were subject to a recall years ago, can still be done free at a dealer.
There's lots of electric equipment on A3's so check the lot, parts are expensive.
Most important is along test drive to check for rattles, overheating and smooth gear changes. If you're not entirely sure of the car have a look at other cars or even an S3 which will cost about the same the run.
Happy car hunting.
 

strada

Registered User
Personally, if I was looking for an 8P A3, I don’t think I’d be looking at a 3.2 with DSG. There may be owners of such vehicles on here that would disagree, but they’re at an age where the DSG could become problematic/expensive to repair, feels a little outdated compared to more modern variations compared to a manual. The V6 isn’t that quick, the handling isn’t so sharp and it’s thirsty.

A mildly tuned Manual 2.0 TFSI or 2.0 TDI 170 would be quicker, nicer to drive, far more economical and easier to find a nice example that has received the requisite maintenance.
 

-Ju-

Well-Known Member
VCDS Map User
The 2 x A3 3.2 dsg's I owned were great cars.
I would agree though that if you don't make a careful purchase it could bite you big time.
The engine is sublime but has been known to have chain issues, more so the early pre 2006 ones and the dsg box is expensive to repair so check it's silky smooth.
At the time it was also the only A3 to get dsg and quattro until 2008 when the facelift model came out. Make sure the quattro works by trying to intentionally slip the front wheels.
If you can get one with a warranty then do and April 2006 models onwards are in the higher tax band but will probably be a safer bet.
I'm on my 3rd S3 but would still have an A3 3.2 if needed!
 

lodgey47

Registered User
Thanks for all the advice. I've just been to look at an 04 3.2 with dsg and the service history is massive and included a brand new dsg box in 2012 from Audi and certainly it was silky smooth in operation. I couldn't detect any cam chain noise on start up from cold or when warm so hopefully that seems ok the only things a did notice was it seemed to suffer a bit of torque steer when planting the throttle and lifting off, darted left on hard acceleration then right on lift off which I wasn't sure it should be that noticeable ??. The other thing was a blowing front pipe but unsure if there is a cat in the front pipe or not?? I've walked away for now
 

-Ju-

Well-Known Member
VCDS Map User
The front pipe is a known issue, there are 2 side by side flexi joints in the downpipe and the cat is part of that pipe. You can have them replaced like I did if you know a decent exhaust place but the replacement pipe is about £1200 iirc
I had no issues with torque steer etc, just a bit of understeer if pushing on
 

lodgey47

Registered User
The service history shows the front pipes had flexi's replaced in 2012 so I guess by now a full replacement will be necessary and at c£1200 that's a non starter. Thanks for the information to everyone.
 

ch1z64

C'mon you's bhoy's in Green
VCDS Map User
Silver Supporter
It might be worth given @NHN a PM as he was selling a bumper off a A3 professionally retrofitted with the best off gear ( well known and respected member ) spec can be checked if you stay in the A3/ S3 section and go to the Ebay sticky and go to page 22 and have a look at what you would get for the price .
 
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gokiwi64

Guest
My 2004 3.2 "FrankenAudi" has nearly 130k miles on the clock and although I have a fair bit of history there are no documented major repairs. It still starts and runs fine, the dsg is slow to pick up when cold so I kind of let it roll forward on its own before accelerating and then its fine.
Rust in the lower wings is an issue as it is in the lower door edges.
I push mine hard (I mean hard) and so far (touch something wooden) its doing okay. So I would say that you are buying it not for practicality or fuel economy but for a lovely soundtrack and its 4 wheel drive capability.
Its lardy at 1500 kilos but in my mind that just makes it a bit more stable , although a bit power under steery, a decent set of arb's will sort that out.
They are way over brake boosted so the brakes are on the sudden side of sharp but you soon get used to that.
 

splbound

Registered User
I also purchased a 2005 3.2. One year of ownership now having bought it with 90K on the clock and put a goof 5K on it the past year.
Not the fastest and not light and nimble but as gokiwi64 said the soundtrack and AWD make up for it.
I average about 26MPG but its a weekend driver so fuel economy is no big deal for me.

Mine had blown flexis, only found out when I went to get a cat back resonated Milltek fitted @AMD.
Chose to get the Cobra flexi+downpipes and sports cats instead of getting the original flexi+cat+downpipe part fitted as the price was pretty much the same. The cobra has the flexi and downpipes as separate parts from the cats so if the flexis ever go later it would cost less to to fix.

Also fitted the Bilstein B12 Pro kit which has done wonders over the original ageing suspension.

I have timing chain noise but things are still in tolerance so planning to get the chain and guides changed at the end of 2018.
May also fit some 268/264 cams while it is open as well as some slightly thicker ARB's st the same time. I think I will call quits on further mods then unless I get 10K to throw away and go turbo just for the hell of it..... wishful thinking.

I admit that it for me it has not been a cheap car to own but this has outweighed the fun it has brought me.
My last memorable moment was booting it down Military road on the Isle of Wight, the soundtrack is intoxicating.

In hindsight I probably should have gone for an S3 for the bigger HP potential. Looking at my past years usage, unless I track the car all that extra HP will just sit there as I find I'm just pottering around in in normal traffic 90%of the time. I guess my hoon days are behind me and relegated to booting it on the on ramps of motorways. The 3.2 is great at pottering around though but happy to give roar when you feel the need.
 
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Cornish John

Guest
Personally, if I was looking for an 8P A3, I don’t think I’d be looking at a 3.2 with DSG. There may be owners of such vehicles on here that would disagree, but they’re at an age where the DSG could become problematic/expensive to repair, feels a little outdated compared to more modern variations compared to a manual. The V6 isn’t that quick, the handling isn’t so sharp and it’s thirsty.

A mildly tuned Manual 2.0 TFSI or 2.0 TDI 170 would be quicker, nicer to drive, far more economical and easier to find a nice example that has received the requisite maintenance.

I agree!
 
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gokiwi64

Guest
I have to agree as well, I came from a very well sorted Leon Cupra R , out of the box its 300kgs lighter than the A3, better fuel economy but high maintenance but (big but) the A3 has that sound track that no 4 pot can have (and if you are old like me and owned several V6 Capris - back in the day) you will understand what I mean, also the 4 wheel drive is damn handy (especially in a heavy old thing like the A3). I dont think you own a V6 for cost reasons its more a "something a bit different" kind of purchase.
 

jackal_s3

Registered User
Check the front arches for corrosion/paint bubbling. Have this on my S3 and have since discovered it’s common on A3’s, not massively expensive to repair if caught early enough but still something to consider and check.
 
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gokiwi64

Guest
Both my front wings were shot (as per previous post) pattern wings can be had unpainted for approx. £40 ea but the fit is *****, got 2 genuine ones fully finished for £200
 
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Cornish John

Guest
I have to agree as well, I came from a very well sorted Leon Cupra R , out of the box its 300kgs lighter than the A3, better fuel economy but high maintenance but (big but) the A3 has that sound track that no 4 pot can have (and if you are old like me and owned several V6 Capris - back in the day) you will understand what I mean, also the 4 wheel drive is damn handy (especially in a heavy old thing like the A3). I dont think you own a V6 for cost reasons its more a "something a bit different" kind of purchase.

I agree with that as well!

I have a Audi TT 04 plate 3.2 and its just a weekend fun car, wouldn't think about using it as a daily workhouse.
But it was bought for that reason, work on it myself, bit of summer fun etc.

My 2010 plate A3 2.0tdi has just hit over 240K and no rust problems in wings/arches.

Before I bought the A3 in 2012 I had a VW Passat X 2, wings in both cars were shot.
 

jackal_s3

Registered User
Both my front wings were shot (as per previous post) pattern wings can be had unpainted for approx. £40 ea but the fit is *****, got 2 genuine ones fully finished for £200

That’s a great price for both wings, mines isn’t at that stage yet and a simple touch up is all it needs but that’s good to know a full replacement isn’t exactly gonna break the bank.
 
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