Blurring the lines between hatchback and wagon, wearing subtle but aggressive styling, and shod with large alloy wheels, the 2011 Audi A3 is a stylish choice for the sporty luxury compact buyer. A diesel version lets the enthusiast satisfy any green inclinations, too, clocking 42 mpg. At MotorAuthority, we score the Audi A3 an 8 for its performance and luxury features.
It's the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that most will opt for, however, and its 200-horsepower output will satisfy. Paired with the quick-shifting S tronic gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive, the A3 is a bit of a miniature drivetrain tech powerhouse as well. A manual transmission is available as well., though you'll give up the quattro all-wheel drive to get the stick shifter, as you will with the TDI.
Handling is light and direct, with a refined ride quality that doesn't take away too much from the outright performance of the car. That's enabled in part by a magnetic ride system that adjusts damping on the fly to match road surface and driver inputs.
Inside, the A3 is a quality affair, with a simple yet well-crafted interior. There's plenty of space in the hatchback as well, making the A3 a highly practical solution for a single-car household, or for the buyer that wants a fun, capable, yet comfortable daily driver. For the price, there are very few cars that can compete with the overall quality, style, and refinement of the A3.
There are a few downsides, however: the standard leather bucket seats up front don't offer as much side bolstering as we'd like, and longer trips can spawn backaches, particularly for taller drivers. The rear seat is small, with just barely enough room for two adults if the front passengers scoot their seats forward a bit. Road noise and tire thrum are noticeable, but tolerable.
Like any good Audi, the A3 packs a solid equipment list, outstripping most of its less-luxurious hatchback competition with items like automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a 10-speaker, 140-watt sound system, and keyless entry standard.
For a complete look at the 2011 Audi A3, check out the full review at TheCarConnection.
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