By on April 16, 2014

 

Audi-A3-TDI-Sportback-01

Audi will bring a diesel version of the A3 Sportback to America, using the same 2.0L TDI engine as the upcoming Golf.

 

With 150 horsepower and 236 lb-ft, the A3 TDI is sure to be a stout little hatchback, but the lack of a manual transmission is a bit perplexing. Even though manual transmissions are on the decline, one would expect that TDI buyers are more inclined to row their own gears. At least the 6-speed S-Stronic dual-clutch gearbox isn’t so bad.

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51 Comments on “New York 2014: Audi Announces A3 TDI Sportback...”


  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Looks like more headroom than the old model which I could barely fit in. Shame about the manual though.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    I’m guessing this was free for Audi to offer because it uses the same powertrain as the Golf? Otherwise, pretty annoying that they would go to the trouble for a diesel anything while the S3 is automatic only.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Drove one of these last month in Germany as a rental. TDI with a stick. I really enjoyed it. Certainly better than other diesels I’ve driven in its ability to Rev and actually be at least a little bit fun. Seemed like a good car, good size, nice enough etc.

    I am not a MANUAL EVERYTHING guy (current car is auto and last car was a DSG)… But I agree. This car needs a manual gearbox. It is really really nice. Not a Miata, but solid feel and super easy clutch. Made me really miss driving stick frankly.

    Maybe when the new GTI arrives? If it is all about engine and gearbox combos, then the 2.0L gas and manual in a GTI would have to be the same as in the A3,no?

    Would make a killer little car with that gas motor, Quattro, and manual Trans.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      you answered your own question, even you as an MT guy are willing to go AT or DSG. So why would they offer MT? the 10 people who totally insist on MT buy used anyway.

      Unless VW goes into business to produce cars with 200k miles on it, the MT fans are not their target audience.

      MT really was a deal-breaker for me years ago when MT was 5-gear and AT was 4-speed. but in reality now you have 5-8 speeds in AT, and most MT offered have such high rpm, that driving fast is loud and less fuel efficient than AT.

      Maybe it is just time to move on, but MT is dying. Even Mazda only offers it on low-spec cars mostly, most of the cars don’t offer it at all. And the few that offer it, don’t really have stellar sales. It is the buyers fault. If there really were many AT takers for Audi, they would offer it.

      and you forgot the most important complaint, the car shown is not brown.

      • 0 avatar
        daver277

        I understand that the sales would probably be low for the 3 pedal version.
        I am a used car buyer and am finding it very hard to get interesting cars with a manual transmission and the true drivers cars go for a premium. Now we have the paradox of paying more for an auto which is worth less in the used market. Dealers will tell us otherwise and they never mislead us do they?
        For example, Maseratis with the electronic shifters are very problematic and are a dime a dozen but if a true manual was available, it would go for a premium.
        The thought of fixing one of the new zillion speed autos terrifies me and would often cause it to be parted out whereas a simple manual would get repaired.
        BTW, the EPA test numbers often show autos doing better but the real world numbers they also post almost always show the simple manuals do better.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      “Would make a killer little car with that gas motor, Quattro, and manual Trans.”

      You can actually pick this up on your local VW lot today. It goes by Golf R.

  • avatar
    Tom Szechy

    Can anyone tell me why these fetishes – apparently – go together at TTAC? I mean diesels and manuals… and sometimes wagons.

    • 0 avatar
      Rod Panhard

      Yes, I can explain.
      - Diesels can achieve great fuel economy, and they are kind of nerdy. People who hang out in specialized online forums are nerds.

      - Stationwagons can achieve great utility. In many cases, even better utility than a Crossover Utility Vehicle or Sport Utility Vehicle. Stationwagons often have flat floors for the once-in-a-blue moon load. Plus, station wagons are kind of nerdy. People who hang out in specialized online forums are nerds.

      - Stickshifts appeal to traditionalists. There’s something nerdy about it. Yes, the DSG and paddles and all that are like new Formula One race cars, but traditionalists would rather drive like Jimmy Clark, circa 1960. It’s kind of nerdy.

      If I could have obtained my station wagon with a diesel and a stick shift, I would have. But alas, it’s powered by a v6 automatic.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Replace “nerd” with “hipster.”

      • 0 avatar
        alsorl

        +1. Your right on point.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I’d argue that a CUV is just a station wagon with a taller body. How would the smaller interior height measurement in the station wagon have greater utility than a CUV? I could see the argument that it is easier to get things ON the roof of a wagon, but for getting things inside, a unit body CUV is going to be more space efficient.

        Otherwise, I agree with most of your points. It is hipster/nerd/counterculture.

      • 0 avatar
        daver277

        Stickshifts REALY, REALY appeal to people who wrench own ride.

        • 0 avatar

          The DSG transmission requires a very expensive trans fluid change at 40k. You can DIY but it needs special tools. It is a $400/$500 day. That is why I wouldn’t have bought the automatic, even thought it is a nice box. I do 30k per year so that would be a big expense of ownership.

          Fuel: Diesel fuel varies more than gas, station to station. The fair price is usually the price of midgrade to premium. There are a few stations around here that do charge 50 cents more than premium, so I never go to them-with a 500 mile range, you can be picky. Diesel prices did spike this winter, though.

          The daily driving for diesel is better, IMHO. Torque is king, and off the line and in traffic, you are limited only by tires. The only time you miss gas is when you need to pull off a quick pass on a two lane with a dotted yellow. In many ways it is the polar opposite of my 330i, where all the power is up top. Interestingly though, the road noise at 80 mph in the TDI and the 3 series is about the same…the TDI is way quieter than you’d expect.

          40 mpg at 70 mph isn’t too shabby. The only downside is that outside the NYC metro area, diesel means truck, and you have to use a special funnel nozzle if the station has truck pumps only.

    • 0 avatar
      3800FAN

      Because they appeal to internet people because they’re not mainstream. Meanwhile the honest truth of the general buying public.
      1: Diesels while offering better mpg are offset by the upfront cost and additional cost of diesel fuel to the point where you NEVER make up the premiums by higher mpg over the life of the car. Add the higher cost of maintaining a diesel engine and the urea fluid ( adds about 40 cents/gallon of fuel for a passat tdi) and they are a total MONEY LOSER. Then hope you don’t live in a cold climate where your diesel will gell, fuel system will clog and stall out in cold weather. I’ve seen it happen to several jetta tdi drivers and they want to trade them in for the new 1.8l gas turbo.

      2: manual transmissions. I like driving one more till I’m in congested traffic…then it’s a pita. Add the fact that new automatics get a better epa mpg and then say whats the point except for a special application like a sports car?

      3: I wish there were more wagon options but don’t need a diesel or stick… just give me the old focus wagon. It’s sadly interesting that the focus wagon has more passenger room and cargo room than an outback or jetta sportwagen. Todays wagon options are few and sucky.

      • 0 avatar
        TDIGuy

        Some of your assumptions are not quite on.
        1. Not everywhere is gas cheaper than diesel. Also when you look at the fuel costs for real-world mileage, the costs look much when you consider diesels regularly get better returns than the EPA estimates.
        2. Urea fluid (adblue) is not required in the small models like the Golf/Jetta (admittedly I’m not sure about the new A3, but the old ones don’t).
        3. Fuel gelling certainly wasn’t a problem with me and we had a really cold winter in the great lakes region. Still would suggest a block heater though if your winters regularly go below freezing.

        • 0 avatar
          3800FAN

          In the USA gas is cheaper everywhere…usually by 50 cents a gallon.

          Compare the jetta 1.8t to the TDI..the $$ savings from fuel will only benefit you about 25-50 bux a year..you’ll never make up the added cost of the diesel motor from that and you’ll have a car that’s slower and costs more to maintain.

          Diesel=fail

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            Gas is not cheaper than diesel everywhere in the US. Near SF, I routinely see diesel priced comparably with 89 AKI.

    • 0 avatar
      brux2dc

      I insist on stick because normally they are much more reliable, and simpler to repair than an automatic. Especially the DSG and the like. The feeling of man-machine bond is just a bonus ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        3800FAN

        I’ve owned both on cars dating back to 1985 and really see no downside to an automatic as far as reliability goes. We’re not in the 60s anymore. There’s really no reliability advantage to a stick and there hasn’t been for decades. The biggest problem with a manual is if you buy one used, how did the prior owner drive it? DId they ride the clutch? You’re rolling the dice with a used manual because so much of a manuals reliability depends on how it’s driven.

        • 0 avatar
          brux2dc

          I don’t disagree with the owners driving habits being key, but the same can be said of an automatic, especially the DSG as far as maintenance goes. It boils down to a new clutch for 1200+ vs a new auto for 4000+. I’m a hedge my bets guy, but many are not. I don’t mind a manual in traffic, but most do. To each their own.

  • avatar
    geee

    I dont get it. Other than taking away the manual option, how is this car any different than the 2012 and 2013 model A3 TDIs?

    As an aside, I owned one with an automatic, only because the other driver of the car didnt want a stick. If you’ve never driven a diesel automatic like this, you’ll be shocked at how different it is from most other automatics. A lot of front wheel spinning, very jerky,and mostly an unpleasant time in anything other than full on acceleration or highway cruising. Very clunky and jarring around town.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Because of MQB it seems to me that the best way to purchase any VW Group product, should you be overcome by such irrationality in the first place, is to find the cheapest model that has the features you want. Because they’re all the same, really. Pity they don’t sell Skoda in North America.

    An A3 TDI Sportback probably costs $10K more than a Golf version. So you’d have to be a complete berk to buy the Audi, be married to an insistent fashionista, or be so turned off esthetically by the Golf’s plain lines that you could not countenance such an appliance besmirching the driveway of your mansion.

    • 0 avatar
      Rod Panhard

      I pretty much think the same thing, without the insults. But let’s take it a step farther.

      You can spend $XX,XXX on the Audi A8, but not a VW equivalent, yet. However, you can spend $xxx,xxx on the Porsche Panamera.

      You can spend $XX,XXX on a Toureg, a bit more on it’s Audi, and quite a bit more on the Porsche. If we could drive blindfolded, how many of us would really notice the difference?

      How much longer could one man bore the rest of the readers with these pointless comparisons in the VW/Audi/Porsche product lines?

      Point is, they’ve got this figured out, and they’re laughing all the way to the bank. BMW and Mercedes-Benz can’t do that.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      “An A3 TDI Sportback probably costs $10K more than a Golf version.”

      this is the idea of premium brands…. why don’t you complain about Lincoln, Lexus, Acura…. they all just re-wash the base brand car, put a more powerful motor in, use some fancier interior and viola, you have a premium car for $10K more + Add a dealer who gives you a loaner = sales success.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Yup ! The only premium brands left that don’t Badge Engineer their ‘ premium ‘ cars out of every day common place pedestrian rides … charging very premium prices for very mundane cars .. being Mercedes Benz and BMW . But … this to may change as now Mercedes in Europe is selling a Renault/Nissan van as a Mercedes … and rumor has it theres a Toyota/BMW [ or three ... or four ] in the works as well . Not to mention a raft of Toyota 4′s finding their way into BMW MINI’s and the new FWD BMWs

        But why complain about Audi in particular you ask ?

        Because A) They are by far the worst of them all B) Their customer service being the only thing worse than their over priced VW’s etc … and C) Because they’ve been the most successful at conning the consumer

        Thats why

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      If you want a more comfortable seat and more soundproofing you often have to pay for it.

    • 0 avatar
      geee

      You’re sure a pleasant one! Let me straighten you out on a few things -

      For some people, it doesnt matter if it costs $10,000 more, because the price is irrelevant if you have the income and you are trying to buy a particular car. If price isn’t a deciding factor, which it seems to be for everyone in your universe, you go for the looks and features. Like, oh, show me a Golf that doesnt have fabric seats. These are a non starter for certain types. Im not saying the pleather is great in the A3, but it doesnt collect dog hair or soak up liquids.

      I could go on, but you seem to have an axe to grind.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    My wife has a stick A3 (gas model) from 2006.
    This shiny new 2015 model from a full decade later looks like a midcycle refresh of my wife’s 06.

    Putting aside the rest of the VAG nonsense that suggests that every extra ring on the grill is worth $5k, isn’t anyone concerned that Audi basically has had ZERO new style ideas since about 2009?

    the most forward thing they’ve done since the (then) new A4 was the A7, which still isn’t ‘that’ different than the A6.

    The new A6 looks like the old A4, the new TT looks like the old TT, the A3 looks identical to the A4 and the A6.

    Even the new allroad looks substantially like the old allroad, but at least they’ve stripped it of any definiing characteristics to the point that people either just buy a Q5 or pocket the $15k price difference and buy an Outback.

    don’t get me started on the Q5 and Q7. Two more model years and I think you can historic plates for platform.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Note that VW is also going to sell a Jetta SportWagen with the same 2.0T diesel, but that car will be available with a 6MT and AWD.

    Also, I don’t follow VW’s three-letter engine acronyms anymore:
    TDI = turbocharged direct injection
    TSI = turbocharged stratified injection
    FSI = fuel stratified injection

    Don’t those basically all mean the same thing?

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    ……… neither of which [ Golf TDI Wagon or the A3 TDI Sportback ] … will sell worth a damn in the US .

    Because when it comes to wagon sales in the US … and especially diesel wagons … to borrow a quote from the movie ” Ronin ” ;

    ” Everybody loves you till the rent comes due ”

    Automotive Translation for those for whom this went right over their heads ;

    Everybody wants one till its time to write the check .

    BWTM – So …. diesel wagon lovers … just how many of you … if you were to purchase one … which you won’t ….

    How many of you would be taken in to pay Audi prices for what is in essence [ actually its all that it is ] … a VW Golf with an Audi badge on its snout and the price tag to go with it .

    Badge Engineering – Living proof consumers these days have lost all sense of discernment … not to mention reality and the Value of a Dollar . Audi being the all time Badge Engineering / Fooled you Sucker Kings of the last 30 years

    And yes .. having owned an S4 Avant in the past : I learned my lesson the hard way … damn it !

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      In 2008 I test drove both the Audi A3 and Golf GTI. They look different, they ride different, the interiors are different, and the service is different. All you have to decide is if that difference is worth the extra money. It’s about $5000 at the time which was over my budget but I found a low milage 2007 A3 and never regretted it. I miss that little car.

    • 0 avatar
      aensc_driver

      Couldn’t agree more. I drove both the VW Golf GTI and the Audi A3 2.0T, and I bought the Audi. It cost more, but it was also quite a bit nicer in a number of small ways. The driving dynamics were surprisingly different for cars so similar outwardly (and sharing a drivetrain).

      I’ll still drive the Golf and A3 both before writing a check. Perhaps the MQB Golf is good enough this time around, and it’s not like I prefer the expensive car intrinsically…

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    I have a 2012 Golf TDI DSG. Unless you’ve driven one, save your breath. It’s smooth, fast and fun. Very few people trying it would be inclined to trade it for a manual. This manual thing reminds me of old-timers saying they miss the good old days before smart phones, the internet and cable TV. Get over it. The VW DSG transmission is better than any manual I’ve ever had, including in Porsches, Hondas, etc. The manuals will soon be history, just like crank windows.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      I would prefer a manual one just for reliability and cost reasons. Friend had a TDI Jetta and the DSG needed a $600 service every 30k miles. Taking enough risk buying VAG product would want to minimize it. Also DC area crawling rush hour(s)appear to confuse the DSG.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Its every 40K miles. Some places ask $600-800 for the service. If he lived in the Detroit area, I’d do it for the cost of materials and two six packs of craft beer. I’ve done the DSG service 4 times, and its easy now. For those that don’t want to do it, you can probably find a dealer to do the entire 40K service for under $600. Its still ridiculous though.

        Full disclosure: I no longer own VW products. Buy a Focus ST instead of a GTI. You’ll save money at purchase and 5000-7500 mile service will cost $29.95-39.95 instead of being raped by the VW dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        daver277

        Totally agree. DSG owners: hang onto your hat if and when it ever breaks.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Waingrow

        You may be right about the long-term reliability. I only keep cars for three years, so not an issue for me. My VW dealer quoted me $300 for the 40 thousand DSG servicing. As for stop-and go problems, I haven’t encountered any, though you may get an occasional lurch. But compare that to a manual in city traffic, no contest.

  • avatar
    moorewr

    The previous A3 came with the TDI engine, but FWD/Auto only. Quattro was auto only as well. Perplexing. More perplexing is that VW is showing off a manual TDI AWD SportWagen “concept” here in the US. What’s up, VWoA and AoA? Get your wires crossed?

  • avatar
    sproc

    I’m quite glad to see the Sportbacks creeping back into the line. The sedan looks good, but at this size the five door is vastly more useful. I know it’s not everyone’s taste by a long shot, but I think they look sharp.

    As to the Audi premium, a few years back my wife and I did cross shop the ’08 4-door GTI and the A3, both with the DSG. Both were excellent cars, but we both liked the A3 ride, noise isolation and ergonomics a lot better. Got a great model year closeout on the A3. At most, we paid maybe a $2k premium over an equivalent GTI. Almost six years later, we still love the car. Audi service departments have been good experiences as well.

    Now if they’d just bring the S3 Sportback to the States, I’ll be camping in front of the dealer with a check in hand.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Its’ lines are a much more attractive Malibu MAXX.

    I like!

  • avatar
    doublechili

    Okay, we get that the DSG is a great transmission and that the modern ATs are also great at what they do.

    I don’t care. To paraphrase the gun people for my feeling towards MTs, “my cold dead fingers yada yada”. MTs are just way more fun. I’ve driven a DSG, and it was missing something. Right, actual shifting and a clutch pedal. I feel like DSGs are pretend shifting, and ATs are too, I don’t know, automatic.

    Driving an MT is a more complete driving experience. DSGs and the 17 speed ATs may be nice. MTs are better. We just define “better” differently.


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