By on September 20, 2012


Are you longing to drive something on the MQB platform but too insecure to drive a Volkswagen Golf? Have we got something for you!

The Audi A3 Sportback, seen here, won’t be available in the USA; instead we’ll get a sedan variant that will be closer in spirit to the now iconic B5 Audi A4. With the 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the A3 weighs just 2,657 lbs, down roughly 200 lbs from its predecessor.

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20 Comments on “Audi A3 Sportback Begs The Question; Would An MQB By Any Other Name Smell As Sweet?...”

  • avatar

    Not bad looking at all. Wished they offered this here in the US.

    I will admit, especially from the side, and from the rear doors, rearward, it looks strongly like my 03 Mazda Protege5 in its shape.

    Yes, it’s a 5 door wagonlet, sportback type of vehicle and can vouch for this body style’s usefulness.

  • avatar

    Yet another good-looking, lightweight, sporty hatchback/wagon that won’t be sold in the USA. Instead we are stuck with the tall, numb Q5 mommy mobile. Can’t blame Audi, though. The previous A3 wasn’t really a sales superstar.

    • 0 avatar

      It was a small hatchback that cost a fortune and didn’t perform well. I’m not surprised it didn’t sell well. I wouldn’t touch one with a 10-foot pole.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        I always thought they were a badge engineered Golf. Same body,lots more money for a much nicer interior. Now my old boss has an A4 wagon with a V-8. That thing’s a beast and worth it.

    • 0 avatar

      They didn’t sell many because Europe took the majority. Still they didn’t stay on dealers lots long. It is more than a “badge” engineer Golf. Go for a drive and compare the two. My 2007 performs well. Not sure what I can replace it with that I would like as much.

      • 0 avatar

        Your assertive assuredness piqued my interest.

        How would you define “badge engineering”?
        Why do you claim the A3 is more than a badge engineered Golf?

        I’m not claiming you are correct or incorrect, but I would genuinely like to get to the bottom of what has become a more “muddied” issue with the introduction of VAG’s MQD (German acronym for “Modular Transverse Matrix”) system.

        For the record, a different exterior design, more standard features or options available, light/subtle (the issues of what are “light” or “subtle” is a whole other problem) alterations in suspension components and the motor(s) would not be enough to separate the Audi as a distinct vehicle versus a badge engineered VW, IMHO.

        Would the availability of AWD alone suffice? I’m not so sure, either.

        It’s a tricky, borderline epistemological, at least for me.

      • 0 avatar

        @ DeadWeight
        When I think of “badge engineering” I think of GM in the 70s where the cars were identical except for some trim, literally. Many if not most manufacture’s have a common platform by which they make mulitple vehicles. The MQD is a platform. Any car is more than a collection of parts. The Britsh sport cars of the 50s and 60s were prime examples. All I’m asking is that someone state what they know and not repeat often heard internet fables, “I prefer the GTI over the A3″ is fair, but to say the A3 is just a Golf is uttered by those who I suspect have never driven let alone sat in either.

  • avatar

    Maybe it’s because I had such a fun time with one in Spain, but I always thought the A3 was kind of the perfect small car. Really fun to drive, has some timeless looks, and with the small wagon form has some space to work with (plus it’s easy peasy to park).

    Unfortunately it never came in a quattro AND a manual (it was either or), so it never made it on my shopping list. I still think a non-quattro manual is perhaps in my future.

    The sedan I really have no interest in. At this size, maximizing space is more important than trying to appear stately.

  • avatar

    The interior looks a a bit sharper, but I still prefer the current generation’s lines, which harken back to the classic ‘austere bar of soap’ era of the B6/B7 A4.

  • avatar

    “Begs the question” is short for “beggaring the question,” and I don’t think it applies here. From Wikipedia:

    The fallacy of petitio principii, or “begging the question”, is committed “when a proposition which requires proof is assumed without proof”…

    The Wikipedia article includes this lovely example: “Opium induces sleep because it has a soporific quality.”


    • 0 avatar

      That’s just the technical sense used by philosophers. The general and popularly used sense simply means “leads to the question of…” On a car blog the popular sense is all that can be expected. On the other hand, there is nothing about fuel injectors in Quine’s “Methods of Logic.” And your statement about opium is sometimes considered a tautology, but not by essentialists. Which leads me to conclude that the A3 hatch is an answer to question no one in America is really asking. Which might be considered a logical absurdity. Or something Zen.

  • avatar

    Sad its not coming over here…It would have been on the short list when I move on from my ‘Speed3 (perfect size!). However, I’m sure it would have cost at least 40k or more with a few basic options. Stupid German cars are so expensive these days. Maybe a TSX wagon, V40, the next-gen Mini Cooper 5 door S. Idk…any diesel manual wagons out there? jk

  • avatar

    Actually, Audi of America has stated its intent to bring the A3 Sportback over – just not initially. The idea as of now is to bring it in “alternative drivetrain” formats, which might mean CNG, hybrid and/or all electric.

    The sedan, which should be at dealerships by August next year, will likely come in two 2.0T versions: one at 220hp and an S model at 280hp. As far as whether we’ll get all wheel drive variants: you can bet the S3 will be AWD but we’ll probably once again be limited in the standard drivetrains.

  • avatar

    Any opinions on MQB? I have heard two different people claim

    1) MQB will make quality VW cars for next to no money, and will start VW’s True World Domination; and

    2) MQB will cheapen VW cars up to the point where VWs will become modern cheap Yugos, and this will start the end of VW As We Know It

    • 0 avatar

      Too soon to tell, but I think those two points are a bit broad and generalized.

      MQB will:

      1. Substantially improve efficiencies
      2. Substantially improve plant flexibility
      3. Substantially reduce development time
      4. Provide more chassis options to more people (read: USA)
      5. Provide more design flexibility, wheelbase options and overall vehicle variants

      It has the potential to introduce massive headaches if they discover a major flaw once production is underway or if a large number of subassemblies/components are bad.

      By far, MQB is a massive step forward just as MLB has been for Audi. I see it as a significant win for everyone if they can continue to improve reliability, keep price points reasonable and increase the drivetrain/model options available to consumers.

      If VW executes with MQB as Audi has with MLB I think things will be just fine.

  • avatar

    My wife has had an A3 since 2006. It is a great little car and it is not a VW. It shares the same bones, but it is built better (I’ve owned several VW products and am well qualified to say this), and shockingly, it isn’t that much more expensive than a Golf unless you go nuts with the options, and then you have no one but yourself to blame.

    That being said, bringing over the A3 with a 1.4L engine makes no sense to me. I wouldn’t buy it. You don’t buy a gasser A3 to go slow. you buy a TDI to go slow.

  • avatar

    i really start to dislike audi – it is SUCH a pity this wont come stateside – this is the perfect car –
    sweetspot of size, performance, utility and mileage
    had a 2007 – not one issue – well – except a dead battery

    – comparing this to a golf misses the point –

  • avatar

    One more abused semicolon and I’m gonna puke.

  • avatar

    Put me down as another very satisfied owner (2009) who is disappointed the MQB-based replacement won’t be offered (at least initially) as a sportback. The sedan that Audi has shown looks great, but the 4-door hatch/mini-wagon has been the most practical vehicle I’ve ever owned. In 3.5 years of ownership it’s also been 100% trouble-free, so I’m definitely game for another A3. The question is whether I’m willing to wait.

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