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Audi A3 (2003-08)

Overall Rating

4 stars

New generation A3 improves on an acclaimed sports hatchback formula. It only really has the latest Golf to beat which it does in terms of prestige, build quality and equipment.

For
  • Latest A3 benefits from new Golf technology
  • Strong grip, precise steering, responsive handling
  • Very safe, beautifully built, smooth and refined
Against
  • High prices: even cheapest 1.6 is over 15k
  • And options push prices even higher
  • 1.6 is not all that lively
Road Test

The current A3's elegantly restrained lines are too close to the previous car's to be truly distinctive, but the Mk 2 represents advances in every other area. Yes, it's expensive but its only real rivals are BMW's 3-Series Compact and the Golf, with which it shares engines and a chassis. Construction and finish are outstanding is built to last as long as the rest of the car. Equipment is adequate although air con is an expensive option on basic models. Safety standards are high. Confident roadholding and accurate steering mean keen drivers can get the best out of the punchy 2.0 petrol and turbo-diesel engines; the 1.6 and 1.9 TDi are responsive enough but lack real verve. A supple ride and excellent refinement are where this A3 really wins out over its predecessor. It's quiet, composed and very comfortable at all speeds.

Need To Know

JD Power stars: 3

NCAP: 4

Best Models: 2.0 FSI, 1.6, 2.0 TDi

Worst Models: 1.9 TDi

Replacement: 2008


Alternatives
Audi A3 (2003-08)
Star Ratings

Handling

4 stars

Comfort

4 stars

Quality & Reliability

5 stars

Performance

4 stars

Roominess

3 stars

Running Costs

3 stars

Value for Money

3 stars

Stereo/Sat Nav

4 stars
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