2006 Audi A3 -First Impressions

I recently purchased a new 2006 Audi A3 to replace my 1996 Audi A4. I have been eyeing this car ever since my last trip to Germany in 2000. I liked the A4 well enough, but the 170HP engine felt a little anemic for the heft of the car.

Photo: Front Grille View

Interior

The interior fit-and-finish is typical Audi. Some people are complaining about the "textured" surface of the black rubbery areas, but I have grown to like it. The aluminum trim and beige interior are highly recommended, especially living in Southern California and just getting out of a black leather interior.

Photo: Front Area

One of the things that surprised me most about the car was the rear seat space. Although not overly capacious, you can see from the photos that it fits both a large child seat and a rear-facing one as well with room for both forward passengers. I am 6'3" and have no problems with space in the current seating position.

Photo: Rear Seat

Getting to the trunk, you can see what happened to all the space. There is very little trunk room, and it appears that the long wheelbase was used to maximize the main cabin dimensions and road manners. Since we already have a Passat wagon, this is not an issue. I cut out a rubber mat to protect the carpet surfaces. To those that have complained about the lack of roof-rails, the solution is simple: get a folding bike ;)

Photo: Trunk

Photo: Trunk with Folding Bike

I purchased the car with the optional open-sky sunroof system. Normally I forgo sunroofs to maximize headroom. However, after driving in both a standard A3 and the open-sky system, I decided on this for three reasons:

  1. The rear portion of the sunroof (window-only) allows the kids to see out of the car in all directions.
  2. The light that comes in from all directions gives the car an added dimension of space, similar to a sky-light in a house.
  3. The fact that the roof slides parallel and outside of the car diminishes the actual loss of headroom. Plus, the cutout is right where it should be so your head fits.

Having driven with the open-sky sunroof in "only" 70 degree temperatures, I am starting to think that some sort of extra tinting will probably be required. The screens are not opaque and let in enough heat and light to be potentially annoying. Also, I miss the system found in the old A4 where you could just dial in the sunroof position. You have to tap-tap the button to open it, and keep it depressed to close it all the way. This seems like a step backwards.

Exterior

It's blue. It's pretty. It's a $450 option.

Photo: Right Side - From Front

Wheels

Some people don't like the 16-spoke wheels. I think they look sportier than the standard 5-spoke ones. Plus I just came from the A4 with 5-spoke wheels, so the change is nice. However, I washed the car for the first time today and .... I like the 5-spoke tires again. Have fun getting into each nook and cranny. Maybe this is a car you bring to the car wash...

Driving Experiences

Coming from the A4 mentioned previously probably doesn't allow me to be fully objective in evaluating this car, but it's fair to say that this car is a lot of fun and really goes if you want it to. The turning radius is ridiculously good. I think the steering is a little light, but I've heard that since this car does not use standard power steering (nor does it have a power steering pump), you can have a technician dial in a more sporty setting. The setting from the factory is 8.

I have been following the lamentations of "Why no Quattro?" Now I know why people are lamenting. My A4 was FWD and I never, ever felt the need for all-wheel drive. Maybe my car is different than others, but I do notice torque steer, and a lot of it. It could be the tires. The annoying part is it kicks in at strange times. In LA traffic, the most important maneuver is the quick left-hand turn as there are a lot of unprotected left-hand turns. If you get on this, it hop-hop-hops like a little bunny and then once tire meets pavement, you're off. Maybe somebody can help me correct this. (Is this even considered torque steer?)

Since I only have 450 miles on it, this is about all I can think of right now. Check back later if I still have any energy left to see my further impressions.

Please leave a comment below and let me know of your experiences.

zaftig defined

zaftig |ˈzäftig; -tik| (also zoftig)
adjective informal
(of a woman) having a full, rounded figure; plump.
ORIGIN 1930s: Yiddish, from German saftig ‘juicy.’

Featured Gallery

Sites I Like