The Truth About Cars » audi a3 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:46:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » audi a3 New York 2014: Audi Announces A3 TDI Sportback Wed, 16 Apr 2014 04:59:29 +0000  


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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QOTD: Pump Up The Volume Fri, 25 Oct 2013 14:59:26 +0000 mercedes_is_betting_a_lot_on_smaller_cars_with_the_new_a_cla_large_104251

With the wraps finally off the BMW 2-Series, we now have a full slate of entry-level products from the German luxury designed to bring a whole new demographic into the arms of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. As much hand wringing as there is over the possible brand dilution going on here (all in the name of ever more important volume), it’s a damn good time to be a German car fan with around $30k to spend.



The Mercedes-Benz CLA is the first to hit the market, with the all-important sub$30,000 pricepoint. $29,900 gets you a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and swoopy, pseudo-CLS styling. But you won’t be staying there for long – pretty much everything is an option, and the price can creep upward really quickly.


For the same $29,900, Audi will also offer you a same sedan that is front-drive, with an engine 200cc smaller and the same “looks like a big Audi, till a big Audi pull up” styling. The A3 at least has a fair bit of standard equipment: xenon lights, leather and a moonroof are all standard.

digital post production: Ole Bunger

Of the Germans, only BMW has breached the $30,000 barrier, with its all new 228i, which starts at $33,025. But the 228i offers two things that the Audi and M-B can’t give you at any price: rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission. Of course, it’s also got two doors, while the other have four.

Tell me which one you’d prefer in the comments, or if you’d rather have a W-Body paid for in cash because owning one of these past the warranty period is an exercise is masochism.

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Nurburgring Diaries, Part II – Audi A3 1.4TFSI Sportback Wed, 16 Oct 2013 12:45:42 +0000 IMG_3282

As soon as I arrived at the rental counter in Stuttgart, I realized I’d made a fatal miscalculation. In the weeks and months preceding my trip, I thought the task would be easy – obtain two back-to-back rentals of vehicles that aren’t sold in the US. Simple. But that fickle foe of the flat-earth car enthusiast, globalization, had conspired against me. Turns out that despite my “premium class” upgrade, the EU-spec vehicles made from pure unobtainium that I’d reserved failed to materialize. Instead, my options in Dusseldorf – our first roadside waypoint on this European Vacation® – were limited to either a Toyota GT86 or an Audi A3 Sportback. Great, I thought. Two cars that, despite being sold in slightly different configurations abroad, were still known quantities back home. I went with the GT86 for the first leg because, well, I wanted to tear into it on the mother of all public racecourses, the Nurburgring. You can read how that went here. I also figured that in Stuttgart, there’d be a larger selection of rental vehicles to choose from, since the city’s slightly more populous and naturally the airport must be larger, too.

Whoops – the airport’s not larger. Less passenger traffic by half, as it turns out. In fact, the rental garage has only about a third as many cars as we witnessed in Dusseldorf, and not nearly as many interesting ones. Sauntering up to the counter, I am offered – a Toyota GT86. S#*%! After much begging and pleading my options open up to a Ford Focus diesel, a BMW 3-series, and… Audi A3 Sportback. Wonderful. Well, let’s take the car least like something we get in the US (for the moment) and hope it turns out to be interesting enough to write about.


I say “the least like something we get in the US” because, for the moment, the US doesn’t get this car. Nor are we likely to ever get the 1.4TFSI-powered Sportback version I drove since, with 138 blazing ponies and front wheel drive, it doesn’t quite fit in with the upscale-techie-hip-urban-luxury vibe Audi’s been cultivating in this country for some time now, with moderate success. In Germany, you purchase this car when you’ve graduated from junior to lower-middle management and need the requisite notch up from your Golf to prove it. In America, I’m not quite sure who buys the A3. Not too many people, mind you, but some people. Probably the same people that used to drive Golfs and want more or less the same thing, but with a bit more cachet and a nicer interior. Such is the Audi A3’s raison d’etre, to serve as a cleanly styled and practical stepping stone to other brand purchases down the line, like the A4, A6 and (step on enough corporate throats and cross your fingers) A8.


Anyway, I’ll dispense with the build-up and give you the car itself – in all its glory. It’s a nice looking thing, the third-generation Type 8V A3 Sportback. I always prefer a hatch to a trunk, so while the A3 sedan we’ll be getting in a few months isn’t exactly frumpy in its 15/16ths scale A4 sheetmetal, it’s just a bit too “been there, done that” for my eyes. Flinty headlights and requisite LED running lamps give the new car a more slimmed down, sleek appearance compared with the previous 8P-generation car. Inside, the Audi is a clear step up in both design and materials over its Mk7 Golf platform mate.



Comfortable cloth sports seats (good luck ever seeing those again in a US-bound Audi) provided all-day comfort, while the rest of the major touch points in the cabin were all leather-trimmed. There’s a clear absence of buttons and clutter in the A3, with everything besides basic climate controls being handled via the MMI knob and motorized display screen. Everything functions intuitively enough and it’s a nice place to spend time; in traditional Audi fashion, the interior is likely to be the trump card for over BMW and Mercedes-Benz competitors for many shoppers.


Out on the road, the A3 continues to acquit itself quite well. Around town and trundling up to highway speeds, the 1.4TFSI builds speed smoothly and predictably, with little turbo lag or flat spots. Nor will it ignite your loins on the way there, with a quoted 0-60 time of around 8 seconds. Autobahn left lane velocities were achieved with much less fuss than in the Toyota GT86 – the A3 felt more composed at high speeds (130 mph indicated) than the Toyobaru did, with obvious care put into wind and tire noise suppression and overall stability.



Granted, the Toyota got to those speeds more quickly, but once there, the Japanese coupe was far less happy. It’s one thing to “feel” the German-honed qualities of a car on pedestrian American highways and byways, but out where they are truly in their element, you gain a newfound respect for the difference in where engineering attentions are paid for the Audi versus the Toyota. It might not make a lick of difference in terms of long-term resilience or the ability to crack 200k miles without putting a dent in your retirement account, but at the very least, for regular Autobahn cruising it’d be hard to recommend the Toyota over the Audi.


In terms of driving involvement though, there’s no contest. The A3 is as isolated as the GT86 is involving. Being that they’re not competitors, these differences are beyond academic. But it highlights an interesting quandary that cross-shoppers of the upcoming Mk7 GTI and FR-S/BRZ will face – what type of driving pleasure do they value? The damped responses and rounded edges of the GTI, a car that will cruise happily at 150mph all day long and take up a back road in stride, but leave the driver wondering whether all that ground he just covered was actually curvy or straight? Or a car that will strain every sinew in the hunt for more enjoyment and send all that feedback directly to its driver? It’s an interesting difference, and one I felt was worth pointing out.


Unlike the GTI, the A3 is no hot hatch. Nor does it pretend to be. It is comfortable transport that’s as happy pootling around in congested urban centers and shutting itself off at every stoplight to save fuel as it is soaking up the autobahn at 130 mph. The perfect car for Germany, then, and a pretty damn good car for the rest of Western Europe and Asia. It’ll be interesting to see how that character translates when it makes its way back across the pond to the US. Hopefully the larger engines and heavier options necessitated by our new car marketplace don’t blunt the inherent “rightness” of the relatively basic version tested here.


2013 Audi A3 Sportback S-Line 1.4 TFSI 6MT (Mad-tite Euro Edition)

Base Price: 28,700 EUR

Powertrain: 1.4-Liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive – 138 horsepower, 184 lb-ft torque

S:S:L-observed fuel economy: 31 mpg US

This vehicle was rented, insured and fueled on the author’s dime. Photos by the author.

DSC_0892 DSC_0893 DSC_0894 DSC_0895 DSC_0896 DSC_0897 DSC_0939 DSC_0940 DSC_0941 DSC_0942 DSC_0943 DSC_0944 IMG_3282 IMG_3284 IMG_3286 ]]> 18
Are We About To Witness MQB’s First “Cascading Failure”? Mon, 09 Sep 2013 10:00:31 +0000 IMG_3667-Medium-550x366

Reports out of the Berlin desk of Reuters suggest that VW could have a fairly large problem on their hands, one that TTAC discussed during heated battles over modular kit architecturesthat of “cascading failures”.

Reports by German auto publication Auto Bild suggest that improperly installed HVAC draining tubes in the all new Mark VII VW Golf can leak water into the driver’s footwell. VW confirmed the problem to Reuters, and suggested that 46 individual cases are known to VW.

On the other hand, Auto Bild has suggested that the number could be as high as 300,000 cars, including the Seat Leon and Audi A3, due to the “cascading failure” phenomenon. The new Golf is built on Volkswagen’s MQB architecture, along with models like the Leon and A3, with the architecture having a high degree of common parts across Volkswagen’s entire range. While this allows for cost savings, manufacturing flexibility and shorter assembly times, it also increases the chances of significant failures, in the event of a bad batch of parts or a common engineering defect. The swift felling of hundreds of thousands of cars (or more) due to the failure of a single component is not necessarily new in the auto industry (we’ve seen mega recalls before) but it would be relatively new for it to affect a group of vehicles derived from a single common architecture.

If this is indeed related to a batch of faulty parts, then it would be evidence of a cascading failure. However, it could also be a procedural error committed by a worker, a poorly implemented assembly process or some combination of the above. This could be one of the more interesting stories of the year, as it may be one of the biggest examples of the downsides of the move to modular “kits”.


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Audi A3 And S3 Revealed Tue, 26 Mar 2013 23:59:13 +0000

You won’t see them at the 2013 New York Auto Show, but Audi took the wraps off the MQB-based A3 and S3 for North America at a private event today.

The standard A3 was revealed with its world engine lineup; a 1.4T making 140 horsepower and 184 lb-ft, a 1.8T making 180 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque and a 2.0 TDI engine making 150 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. Audi hasn’t announced on which engines will come to America. The S3 will get a 296 horsepower 2.0T engine mated to a DSG gearbox and all-wheel drive. There will be no manual for the American market across the board, unfortunately.

Audi has also announced that we will get the A3 Sportback, though the S3 Sportback hasn’t been confirmed. The Hungarian-built A3 will go on sale in 2014.

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Audi A3 Sportback Begs The Question; Would An MQB By Any Other Name Smell As Sweet? Thu, 20 Sep 2012 13:32:11 +0000  

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.

audi-a3-sportback. Photo courtesy Audi. audi-a3-sportback. Photo courtesy Audi. audi-a3-sportback. Photo courtesy Audi. ]]> 20
Upcoming Audi A3 To Weigh Nearly As Much As First-Gen Car Fri, 04 May 2012 16:08:19 +0000

Audi claims to have broken the dreaded “weight spiral” with their next upcoming A3. The new car will weigh nearly as much as the first-generation car did in 1997, despite being faster, safer and more luxurious.

The new car should closely match the old car’s curb weight of 2658 lbs. The new MQB platform is lighter in every respect, from the materials used in the car, to the new generation of turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines. Despite the weight loss (as much as 176 lbs on some models), the vehicle’s size will remain the same as the portly second generation car.

The notion of continuously advancing technology, powertrains and safety while fighting curb weight and increasing vehicle sizes is one that has TTAC quite pleased. The upcoming VW Golf, which will be a close relative to the A3, should be even more significant, in that it can bring this kind of technology to a much wider customer base.

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2013 Audi A3 To Only Come In Sedan Form For U.S Market Thu, 08 Mar 2012 19:57:00 +0000

“We decided not to take it,” said Audi of America CEO Johan de Nysschen, regarding the Audi A3 hatchback. The Detroit Bureau quotes Audi’s head man in the USA stating that not only will we not get an A3 hatch, the sedan version won’t share a single body panel with the Euro two-box version.

Our A3 will likely be along the lines of the B5 A4, which arguably pulled Audi out of the “unintended acceleration” era and into the “coveted aspirational brand” phase in America. de Nysschen thinks that sales of the A3 will triple, to 30,000 annually, once the sedan launches. If you must have a hatchback, the current model will be in production till 2013. World markets will supposedly get the A3 sedan as well now that everything has been finalized. But wagon fans in the U.S. are out of luck once again.

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Geneva 2012: Audi A3 Previewed, Minus Two Doors Tue, 06 Mar 2012 20:08:29 +0000

The Audi Q3 may not have much visual impact, but this is an extremely important car for the Volkswagen Group. As the first car to be built on the new MQB modular platform, the A3 is literally the next generation of car for the entire consortium.

Europe will get a diesel (2.0L, 150 horsepower) and two gasoline TFSI engines, a 1.4L 122 horsepower or a 1.8L 180 horsepower mill. This 1.8TFSI engine is expected to replace the venerable 2.5L 5-cylinder so derided by VW fans. The hatchback is 176 lbs lighter than the outgoing car – North Americans are expected to get a sedan, but news of any hatch variants have been scant. The 5-door is far more likely to arrive than the 3-door seen here. We’ll also be getting a 2.0TFSI engine as well, with a diesel likely to follow.

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Audi A3 e-Tron Gets U.S. Pilot Program – But You Can’t Sign Up Thu, 01 Mar 2012 20:11:33 +0000

Audi fanboys who want emissions-free motoring will be sorely disappointed; the pilot program to try out an A3 E-Tron, will be limited to Audi personnel in Denver, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

For between 12 and 18 months, employees will evaluate the A3 e-tron, before an electric A3, based on the next-generation car, debuts in 2014. Unlike BMW and Mini, customers won’t be providing data to Audi to help develop the car, like with the test programs involving the Mini E and BMW 1ActiveE.

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Audi Adding More Models To U.S. Lineup As Its Insatiable Quest For Volume Continues Fri, 06 Jan 2012 19:05:58 +0000  



In the endless race to the bottom to be first in overall sales in America, Audi will be adding more models to their U.S. lineup, hoping to increase overall volume while copying Mercedes-Benz and BMW’s strategy of creating unwanted and useless niche models to pawn off on vulgarians with adequate credit to qualify for leasing  money.

The Q3 and A3 sedan appear to be the first products making their way over, and they will surely be the darlings of sorority house parking lots across the nation. Audi will also build cars in the United States starting in 2015, though details regarding vehicles or the location of the plant weren’t announced. Automotive News has Audi boss Rupert Stadler eyeing growth over here in both the SUV and sedan markets, so it’s only a matter of time before we’re flooded with even more derivative products – hopefully the forthcoming A2 concept is as innovative and weird as its predecessor.

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