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Audi A3 2.0 TDI S-Line Mini Review


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Hello all.. I’m new to this forum and this is my first post so here goes nothing.

I have just had the pleasure of driving one of the new DSG equipped A3 2.0 TDI S-Line.

My current car is an A4 2.5 TDI SE Quattro and as it’s a company car its coming towards the end of its lease.. so time to choose something new.

I have decided to downsize and get something quick and with some extra kit so I organised a 24hr test drive of the A3. I didn’t expect the S-Line to arrive only a 2.0 TDI Sport with DSG, but alas along it came.

It was the latest spec with the spoiler on the back and everything else looked as it should, extras fitted were the rear parking sensors and Cruise control, however it didn’t have the S-Line badge on the steering wheel.. Strange.

First Impressions

After it was delivered I was keen to find out what the gearbox was really like. Well its true what all the magazines have said. The gearbox is very impressive sluring up and down gears exactly the same as a normal automatic would but obviously without the mpg penalty. The only problem I found was whilst trying to park it close to a garage that was at the top of a slope. It crawls quite fast and as soon as you even slightly press the break the car disengages the clutch and falls back slightly, then as the clutch finds the bite point again it surges forward at which point in a normal auto you slowly then press the break again to slow it down only in the DSG the car to falls back down the drive again and then looks for the bite point to continue up the drive. Am sure I would get used to it and there may be even a way around it or maybe its one of the DSG limitations.

It was a little wet early on in the test drive and I couldn’t believe how much wheel spin I got the first time I planted the throttle turning onto a main road, I can understand why everyone is waiting for the Quattro now (Have gone from rear to 4 wheel drive and had forgotten what wheel spin was almost). Under normal less brutal driving however traction was not a problem.

The seats were very supportive and comfortable as was the whole driving position. Although I did think that the DIS was set a bit low. I am 6ft. 2ins and I have to have the steering wheel set quite high to get it over my knees but when set to the maximum height it restricted the view to the gear change view with is placed right at the bottom of the display. I noticed when I got back in my A4 that is was set quite a bit higher… some thought required there I think Audi.

One thing that did surprise me was the amount of road noise that came from the tyres, especially from the rear. The A4 is excellent on that front and I except that the tyres will make a big difference but I was still a little disappointed with the harm to the refinement they generated.

The Stereo was ok but again not quite as full as the A4 and certainly not as good as that in my previous Lexus that the A4 just matches and certainly betters in the mid range. Would recommend going for the BOSE for those that care about the sound that comes out of the stereo. Although I must stress that it sounds a lot better than just about every basic set-up in any BMW that I have travelled in and is fitted with, equal to the hi-fi set-up in BMWs. So for most they will be very pleased by the sound the system produces. Not sure the base is that clear from the rear tho.. the Sub vibrating in its rear panel quite a lot.

On the great debate of Audi Steering and especially the new electronic-hydraulic servo that has appeared on the A3.. all is not as bad as the magazines make out. No it doesn’t feel quite as linear in response to a normal hydraulic power steering set-up but it is by no means terrible. In most situations you would struggle to notice any major difference. On one occasion I felt it straight away, whilst making a quick u-turn in a wide road I had to suddenly put a lot of lock on very quickly, as a result the system failed to catch up. It, thought I wanted a firm straight ahead but in turning sharply I got a very stiff almost completely unassisted feel to the steering meaning all the ability to turn came from my arms and not the assistance from the system, this only happened once whilst doing this manoeuvre but it was a little disconcerting. In all other situations the system was fine and would certainly not put me off the car.

The engine was ok. I have been used to the V6 diesel in my car that has a nice tune to it and a very un-diesel like note most of the time. I however am not a real fan of 4 cylinder diesels and was impressed ish but you can still never get away from the diesel coarseness especially high up in the rev range. Mated to the DSG the combo was excellent and had loads of pull and was superb at motorway cruising speeds albeit with the noisy un-refined road noise generated from the tyres.

I took the car out at night on a road I know well and gave it a bit of stick. The DSG was fun to use but I would have liked it if it stayed in Semi-Automatic for longer and not defaulted back to full auto. The roads were wet but the car gripped well and with understeer well restrained for a front wheel drive car. The ride was also good and not at all jarring for a car running such low profile tyres. I did drive the car in the dry but didn’t have the chance to take it to any quiet roads to judge its dry road handling.

I would include the interior light pack as well, it does such a good job at lifting the interior at night.


All in all a great car. The fit and finish inside was excellent and nothing could really be faulted with the controls except for the sighting of the DIS. It didn’t really feel any smaller than the A4 either for those down sizing, just a slightly cosier feel to it really. The diesel is impressive with its power and refinement at cruising, just not my cup of tea. The steering and handling were also good. All in all I couldn’t really find any major fault with the car and would heartily recommend it to the young and old alike.

As a result on Tuesday of last week I ordered an Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 T FSI – DSG, I wish November would hurry up !!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Quick update.

I had my first Sit in an A3 Sportback today.

It was bright red which wasn't really my thing but it really looks the business. New face looks brilliant best of the new snouts by far.

Boot was big and deep ish and had the luggage pack fitted.

In the drivers seat the car was fitted with BOSE and full Sat Nav but was in Transport mode so I couldn't play. The sighting of the DIS was much better than in the A3 and as a result made it easier to find a good driving position and be able to see the lower most portion of the DIS screen for the Gear change view on the DSG.

All in all the car looks wait and I can't wait to get mine even more now.


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