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Average User Score
4.8 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 14 reviews
2008 Audi A3 Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 14 reviews
On sale since 1996 in Europe where small hatchbacks thrive, it was the second generation Audi A3 that reached our shores in the 2006 model year. There are only minor changes for the 2008 model year.
Engine choices are the highly refined 200-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 front-wheel drive and the 250-hp 3.2-liter V6 Quattro. The former has two transmission choices: the standard six-speed manual with Audi's S tronic sequential-shift optional. Reviewers rated the sequential-shifter as one of the best Formula 1 style gearboxes available. Gear changes are lightening fast with rev-matching downshifts. You can switch to automatic mode if flicking the steering column mounted paddle shifters gets tiring.
Audi modestly estimates the turbo four does 0-60 in 7 seconds, with the V6 - pulling the extra weight of the engine and Quattro system - only two-tenths of a second faster. Most reviewers gave the nod to the turbo four. The smaller engine rates 22 city/29 highway mpg, while the V6 gets 18 city/25 highway mpg; both use premium fuel.
Handling with either the front-wheel driver or the Quattro is up to Audi standards - sporty, yet comfortable. The A3 comes with the full lineup of Audi's technical wizardry. The newest Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) incorporates ABS four-wheel disc brakes, EBD (electronic brake-force distribution), ASR (traction control) and other technologies to make the ride as safe and surefooted as possible. The A3's standard cabin safety features include front seat front and side impact airbags and the latest seatbelt technology. Rear side airbags are optional.
Although considered an entry level Audi, the A3 has the traditional Audi quality interior. Materials are of high quality with impeccable build and fit. Most reviewers, however, found the back seat space cramp citing lack of leg and headroom.
As an entry level luxury hatchback the A3 cuts an impressive figure. However, when reviewers matched it up against wagons like the Mazdaspeed 3, the Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Limited, or the Saab 9-3 SportCombi they questioned the economics of paying for the Audi badge.