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PERFORMANCE | 9 out of 10
“a remarkably well-balanced machine”
Audi Magnetic Ride provides the ultimate in cornering and stiffness
Car and Driver
more than a full second slower than the sportier Mazdaspeed 3
yields good maneuverability
Nearly everyone agrees that the 2010 Audi A3 is a very enjoyable car to drive; whether with the turbocharged 2.0T gasoline engine or the TDI turbo-diesel, the A3 is surprisingly good on gas.
Most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com applaud the A3's acceleration and braking prowess. ConsumerGuide is thrilled that "rapid takeoffs induce minor torque-steer" and says "braking is strong." Kelley Blue Book finds that "the Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) facilitates lightning-fast gear changes."
About the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, Edmunds says “our test car reached 60 mph from a standstill in only 7.2 seconds—which is about average for most competing cars, but more than a full second slower than the sportier Mazdaspeed 3.” Cars.com informs drivers that this speedy engine delivers "5,100 rpm and 207 pounds-feet of torque at 1,800 rpm."
New this year to the A3 is a 2.0-liter turbodiesel (TDI) four-cylinder engine, producing 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. It’s the same engine that VW already offers on the Jetta, several reviewers point out. Autoblog cites the engine’s plentiful torque and calls the TDI “more than adequate for pretty much any driving.” MotorWeek track-tests the A3 TDI and times its 0-60 mph dash at just 8.7 seconds. They report 42.7 mpg overall and add, “There is prodigious torque and the TDI feels faster then times indicate.”
The dual-clutch transmission, termed S tronic, is an editors' favorite, providing very quick shifts either in Drive or via the steering-wheel paddle-shifters. Autoblog notes that “tapping the paddles on the back of the steering wheel, meanwhile, induces quick and smooth shifts.” With either engine it’s a great choice.
Several reviewers who drive an A3 with the available magnetic suspension end up advocating the option. “We were duly impressed by the Audi Magnetic Ride adaptive shock absorbers supplied by Delphi,” remarks Car and Driver, and the “Audi Magnetic Ride provides the ultimate in cornering and stiffness—which posed a problem when trying to produce a noticeable amount of body roll at the behest of our photographer.”
As TheCarConnection.com’s own editors note, the Audi A3’s steering feel is a little too light and doesn’t wind or unwind in the way that’s expected from performance-oriented cars. Cars.com agrees that the 2009 Audi A3 "yields good maneuverability," but "steering is on the light side."
Whether on a winding road or in the straightaway, the performance of the 2009 Audi A3 will keep you grinning.