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2011 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI FWD Roadtest and Review

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2011 Audi A3

Is the 2011 Audi A3 Your Perfect New Car Match?
Audi Buyers Guide - Specs, Comparisons, Reviews



Model: 2011 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI FWD
Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC turbocharged 4
Horsepower/Torque: 200 hp @ 5,100-6,000 rpm/207 lb.-ft. @ 1,800-5,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed S-tronic
Wheelbase: 101.5 in.
Length/Width/Height: 169.0 x 69.5 x 56.0 in.
Tires: P225/45R17 (compact spare)
Cargo volume: 19.5/39.0 cu. ft. (2nd row seats up/down)
Fuel economy: 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway/27.3 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 14.5 gal.
Curb weight: 3,296 lbs.
Sticker: $35,250 (includes $875 destination, $5,725 in options ($1,100 sun roof, $2,050 navigation, $475 paint, $2,000 Premium Plus package)

Five reasons to buy this car
1. Compact station wagon with all that encompasses
2. Great handling
3. Very good road manners
4. Station wagon practicality with small sedan maneuverability
5. Sporty car with added features

The Bottom Line: While it may look like a lost stepchild next to the massive Q7, the Audi A3 is, in fact, spacious and comfortable, with all the assets of a station wagon as well as those of a compact sedan.

The all-knowing EPA classifies the Audi A3 as a small station wagon. This compact sedan with a hatchback may technically qualify as a wagon, but it also qualifies to some extent as a crossover. No, our tester didn't have all-wheel drive, although quattro is available. But it did have the versatility that most crossovers offer in a neat compact package.

And still, it isn't all that compact. The A3 is built on a 101.5-inch wheelbase, which is at the upper end of the compacts. Its overall length, however, is only 169 inches, which makes it short. But it also has a healthy 19.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity under that hatch and 39 cubic feet if you decide to fold the rear seats down.

When the A3 is parked next to the massive Q7, it looks like a lost stepchild. However, it's roomy inside with good seating for four. Rear legroom is tight, but acceptable. Entry and egress is easy.

Couple that cargo versatility with a tight 35-foot turning circle diameter and you have a car with a mixed personality.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four that delivers a healthy 200 horsepower over a 900 rpm range. The engine drives the front wheels through a 6-speed Tiptronic transmission. That coupling makes for a sporty car that can deliver when it has to. For example, I was the fourth car in a convoy when, for whatever reason, I was relegated to a different lane. I used the turbo boost to move up to number three in the correct lane, and I felt as if I did the maneuver safely.

Even with the station wagon rear end, there's good vision all around, which added to the feeling of good road manners and comfort on long trips. The ride is equally comfortable on Interstates and back roads.

One feature I didn't like was the navigation system. I couldn't figure out how to program it. Audi's multi-function interface is difficult, but intuitive, so you can figure it out. The MMI controls the audio and HVAC systems as well as the navi. That said, the audio and HVAC systems are excellent. The HVAC kept us comfortable in some uncomfortably hot weather. We plugged our iPod into the connector in the small glove box for entertainment.

Child seats are easy to install in the A3, but with the center arm rest folded down in the back it's sometimes difficult to find the seat belt receiver.

Overall, we found the A3 to be just the ticket for most of our needs, and we feel most of yours, too. It's practical as a people or cargo carrier, yet offers the sportiness of a compact sporty car.

© 2011 The Auto Page