Consumers steered clear of hatchbacks for a while but Audi has brought a stylish, functional, high-end option into the arena and buyers have responded. The A3 TDI offers all the versatility and performance you expect from Audi in a non-traditional package topped off with an efficient diesel engine.
Dual climate control, leather seats, knobs and controls with a high-quality look and feel abound, which isn’t surprising coming from Audi. The back seats fold down to allow for maximum flexibility and use of the 19 cubic foot cargo space, and you can opt to add the Bluetooth Value package which also adds 8-way adjustment of the driver’s seat, including lumbar support.
Changes for 2012
The A3 went through some refreshing in 2009 but remained pretty much the same through the 2012 model.
What We Like
The higher torque offered by the diesel engine in the TDI allows for vigorous pickup, especially in stop-and-go driving around town. The gas mileage is also out of this world, thanks to the lower horsepower.
What Concerns Us
The price of the great mileage means that the horses don’t like to get up and go as fast when passing on the highway or accelerating from 0-60 (the TDI measures up at about 8.9 seconds in testing). In addition, the A3 can present a challenge for particularly short drivers, as the seats don’t pull up excessively far.
2.0 TDI Premium Hatchback:
- 2.0L 4-cylinder diesel 6-speed automated manual with 236 lb.-ft. torque, 140 HP, and 30/42 (34 combined driving) mpg (the automated manual – known as S Tronic – makes for smooth gear shifting).
October 2011, in the infancy of the TDI’s release, Volkswagen issued a recall due to an issue with fuel injector line 2. This malfunction presented the potential for a fuel leak which in just the right circumstances could lead to a fire. VW offered to replace the fuel injector line at no charge to owners.
In an issue that doesn’t appear to be related to the recall, the NHTSA has received complaints of the high pressure fuel pump breaking in the middle of travel, spraying metal pieces throughout the fuel system and requiring full replacement of all fuel system parts, from the engine compartment to the gas tank.
Another reported issue cited by the NHTSA has been a fuse that melts. The fuse is identical to one that was recalled on Volkswagen vehicles, but has not been recalled on Audis.