Posted By RichC on August 30, 2010
Comments from the review:
We relished the torquiness of the 2.0-liter TDI, with its 236 pound-feet of torque on tap for passing maneuvers. Strangely, this motor suffered from turbo lag, something we didn’t experience in its VW cousins. It takes a bit to get used to, with a lighter foot offering better initial acceleration than a mashing of the throttle. The turbo lag situation was exacerbated by the S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox, which was great when underway, offering quick upshifts and precise downshifts. From a stand still, though, it was annoyingly dimwitted. The gearbox waited too long before shifting from first to second, and was hesitant to transmit power in the first place. Audi was the pioneer of dual-clutch transmissions, which makes an issue like this frustrating. We would happily order a manual in our personal A3 TDI, except that Audi doesn’t offer one. We understand the DCTs are more fuel-efficient, but if a six-speed stick is offered on Jetta TDIs and Golf TDIs, why not the A3 TDI?
We were also befuddled by the lack of a Quattro all-wheel drive option. A diesel-powered, all-wheel-drive, five-door hatchback; are we the only ones who are excited by this prospect? After all, Quattro is available on the gasoline-powered models. Unfortunately, TDI drivers will need to make do with front-wheel drive only, which might hurt the A3’s appeal in the Snow Belt.
Being an Audi, the A3 is nose heavy, with understeer cropping up quickly and without much provocation. The overall ride, however, is balanced and comfortable with vertical motions well controlled. A bit more roll stiffness would have been appreciated, as the car leaned too much during hard cornering.