Audi, until very recently, 2006 in fact, had always kept their compact cars in the European market for fear of a lack of interest by Americans. While that statement was partly true, up until a few years ago, there was never much demand for fueld efficient compact cars Stateside. Now that Audi has started the sale of the A3 in the United States for a very reasonable cost, they’ve opened a whole new market of customers that can enjoy fine German engineering, luxurious cabins, great fuel economy, and a cheap price tag. It’s a recession and all of those things matter, which is why the 2011 Audi A3 should definitely be on your watch list if you’re looking for a hint of luxury without all of the now seemingly gaudy American tanks that rule the roads.
As always, Audi spares no cost in the construction of their vehicles. Almost everything about the interior and exterior of the A3 gets top marks. It is very well constructed on the inside with great attention paid to the details. Things like Audi’s signature metal rings around all of the controls on the dash are still in place, along with blue tooth and a navigation system to boot. The car may be priced well below many of the other models in Audi’s lineup, but no corners were cut to make the interior just as luxurious as their larger counterparts. You may be a little cramped for space considering this is a hatchback, but that’s to be expected.
“How about under the hood?” you ask. Here is where things get interesting. The A3 has more options than you would expect for what’s under the hood. In Europe the popular choice of engine is the 2.0L turbodiesel engine that puts out just around 140HP. But, since most Americans aren’t too keen on the idea of a diesel engine, we’ll focus more on the gasonline powered 2.0L 200 horsepower side of things. If you go gas you’ll have the option of getting either a front wheel drive car (a little cheaper) or Audi’s newly redesigned all wheel drive suspension. If you opt for the front wheel drive version, which is recommended by us considering it’s a hatchback, you’ll have the option between a six speed manual transmission or the Audi’s S-Tronic automatic system. The all wheel drive option doesn’t have a mnual option, but instead only offers the S-Tronic automatic shifting system.
“What’s all of this going to cost me?” is the next question. Current generation models of the Audi A3, assuming you don’t get all of the extra frills like an upgraded stereo system, heated seats, and the other luxuries we often dream of, you’ll be looking at spending right around $30,000 for a new A3. If you’re of the crowd that thinks that’s a little too much to spend on a hatchback that gets right around 30 MPG, you can always get a used A3 (it will have to be from 2006 or later as the A3 wasn’t around before then) for right around $15,000, almost half the price. Most of the 2006 models will barely have 35 or 40 thousand miles on them, and for $15k, that’s a steal.
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