2010 Audi A3 Quattro (783)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2010 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Quattro Auto S-Tronic. We’ll look at the A4 next week. Can you believe it is 2010 already? I don’t think I’ve even filed my ‘08 tax return yet … like so many others.

Well, here we are with German product reviews after so many weeks of Japanese cars. GM and Ford have pulled way back on promoting their products in keeping with all their other stupid management decisions. One has to wonder how long they will be around. Don’t you wonder also if they still fly around in company owned jets? If you’ve been wondering what their doing with our bail out tax dollars you don’t have to look very far. Indiscriminate spending, golden parachutes, parties and bonuses to undeserving execs. Now that is the nice version. My liberal friend and auto engineer Merkel unloads with even more passion.

The bottom line is that journalists are writing about cars from automakers who still consider critical review of their cars as important. Yes foreign car press fleets are being cut back as well but not as deeply as American car companies – therefore there are fewer cars available for review. Chrysler has been the exception in this area and I continue to do reviews on those. Merkel would chime in with “we’ll see if Fiat can influence Chrysler in a positive way”. One can only wait and wonder.

General Info:

Parts – US/Canadian 1%, Germany 75%

Assembly – Ingolstadt, Germany

Class:  – Small Station Wagon

Cars: – A3, A4, A5, A6, A8, Q5, Q7, R8, RS4, S4, S5, S6, S8, TT

Handling & Performance:

Surely a lovely driving experience always. Merkel reminds me often that foreign (especially European) car companies seem to be able to get 100 hp out of each liter. US car makers have seldom got close to that kind of engineering. I suspect it has more to do with cheaper gas in the US so necessity forced the Europeans to be thriftier with the gooey substance that costs at least twice what it costs still in the US. Merkel says it is inferior engineering talent.

Styling:

This is their utility model but for most others in the lineup you couldn’t get prettier designs at any level and from any other car company. Good job Audi. Probably the most striking design from Audi is the classic R8. That is very special and a wonderful driving experience on or off the race track – but to keep this in perspective you could buy 4 A3’s or competitive cars for the price of one R8. Pretty always cost you . . . a lot.

Engineering and design includes a clearly superior balancing of the rear hatchback. It is well balanced so it closes with almost no effort. Fabulous. And then I have to say where were those genius’ when it came to designing the accelerator pedal made for a teency weency feet, being way to close to the brake pedal.

Fit and Finish:

German quality in my view is every bit as good as the best of what is produced in any country in today’s world. Workmanship doesn’t get any better.

Cost:

Not bad and right in the middle of the range of cars in this class – and that is good.

Conveniences and comfort:

No question that creature comforts built into this Audi is really nice. On the negative side I have never been fond of the electronics controls from all German car makers. They just think differently from us simple Americans. They are so “foreign” – as in strange, unfamiliar or alien relative to all other makes of cars. It seems to be a German thing-eeee. They simply can’t simplify.

For some features complex is ok and can even be a good thing. The seats, for example, are super comfortable and easily adjusted. The keyless entry and smart key in particular is really nice. I haven’t taken the key out of my pocket since I got the car because it is well thought out and works flawlessly.

Consumer Recommendation:

I haven’t been in the auto repair business for many years, but back in the 90’s Audi had some mechanical issues… along with Fiat (Fix it againTony) and Jaguar was an engineering disappointment in many areas until Ford got involved and we noticed a marked improvement in the product. Remember the old mechanics refered to a “Ford Tool”. When dad would ask me to get one I knew he meant a Hammer. And if it were a really tough job you just got a bigger one.

VW has always been more pragmatic in their approach to the products they build and I think that has carried over to Audi way less than it needs to be. So my concerns for the mechanical side of Audi in the past are probably just that… in the past except for the controls for radio, Navigational for example. All my testing on and off the track is surely impressive for the brand and in fact I just looked at an A6 for my own use. I didn’t buy it because of some body damage I didn’t want to fool with.

If you own an Audi and care to share your experiences with our readers send your comments to me at joe@autolove.com.

I think this buying decision would be a tougher one if it weren’t for the pricing. My choice in order from first to last would have to include Volvo, Acura, Audi, BMW, VW, Infiniti, Mazda & Mitsubishi. Now throw price into the mix and the picture is much different because they are all tough and capable competitors. Note the absence of American made cars in this class.

Recognized Competition:

Audi A3 $27-31,000, Acura TSX $29-38,000, BMW 1-Series $29-40,000, Infiniti EX $34-37,000, Mazda 3 $15-22,000, Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback $19-28,000, Volkswagen Rabbit $16-19,000, Volvo C30 $24-26,000.

Good News:

Good fuel economy, a joy to drive, comfy seating and powerful.

Bad News:

Electronics controls drive me bonkers & accelerator pedal is ill conceived.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 200 hp 4-cylinder engine, Auto S-tronic transmission, Quattro all wheel drive system, ABS, Electronic Stabilization program, 17” alloy wheels, auto dual zone climate control, power windows & locks, cruise control, 60/40 split folding rear seat, manual adjust front seats, tilt and telescopic leather wrapped steering wheel, AM/FM with in dash CD player & Sirius satellite radio, leather seating, trip computer, front and side and side curtain airbags, power mirrors, anti-theft alarm system, LATCH for children, tire pressure monitor.

Options: 

Nav system plus ($2050), titanium sport package including sport suspension, front sport seats, 18” titanium optic wheels & high performance tires ($2000) , Premium plus model – Xenon headlights, modified leather steering wheel, Illumination package, 17” ten spoke alloy wheels ($2000), Convenience package – auto dimming interior mirror w/ compass, rain and light sensor, Bose premium sound system ($1000).

Gas Stats:

$2.98/ Gal avg. October 25, ‘09

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

21 City and 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $30,850 plus options packages noted amounts.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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