Audi A3 2004 review
There is little doubt Audi is setting the pace in styling terms over its most direct European competitors.
Look at the new A3 – a sexy looking, well-proportioned car if ever there was one.
With subtle links to the first A3 from 1996, the new model has progressed to the point where other companies would be silly if they didn't copy elements of the A3 look. And they will, wait and see.
Like all the other Audis in the currentl line-up the A3 with its high door sills is body beautiful.
And then you drive it.
Things get better from here. v This was the "base" model, 1.6-litre, three-door hatch with optional six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission selling for about $37,000. v What is impressive about this powrtrain is the auto trainsmssion – not yet available on any other car in this segment. Others make do with four or five cogs in their small car automatics.
EVen better are the A3's steering wheel shift buttons so you can pretend you are behind the wheel of an F1 car.
The 1.6-litre hi-tech, petrol engine is good for 75kW/148Nm output.
Not a lot on the face of it, especially in the weighty A3 but the six-speed auto does an excellent job of marshalling engine output and feeding it through the front wheels to the road.
This layout – small capacity engine with a six-speed auto – could point the way to the future, especially in small petrol-powered vehicles.
The engine is sweet running and economical and has good response from low in the rev range. It spins out freely and is quiet in cruise mode.
The auto shifts smoothly and adapts to various drivin styles and conditions.
Audi has given the new A3 tidy dynamics that deliver a sporty, taut on-road feel which flows through to other areas of the car. The electric steering for example is direct and firm and the brakes are powerful.
It is well suspended and feels like a larger car. It is in fact slightly larger than the previous A3.
The interior is up to expected generic high Audi standards and is functional and attractive with some arty touches to liven things up.
Access to the rear seats is OK, aided by a clever front seat folding mechanism. Once you're there the rear seat isn't bad. The boot is large for a car of this size.
It is well equipped and has quality ancillaries.
Can't wait for the five-door version to arrive.
Range and Specs
|1.6||1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN||$4,290 – 6,270||2004 Audi A3 2004 1.6 Pricing and Specs|
|1.6 Attraction||1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$4,290 – 6,380||2004 Audi A3 2004 1.6 Attraction Pricing and Specs|
|1.8||1.8L, PULP, 5 SP MAN||$4,620 – 6,820||2004 Audi A3 2004 1.8 Pricing and Specs|
|1.8 Turbo||1.8L, PULP, 5 SP MAN||$5,610 – 7,920||2004 Audi A3 2004 1.8 Turbo Pricing and Specs|