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So far I've just read the reviews but I finally got a chance to drive the 2010 Audi A3 TDI myself. I've also driven the 2009 Jetta TDI and Audi A3 2.0T gas for comparison. For anyone considering the car....you will like it!:nana2::nana2: Sorry, no pics, you all know what it looks like. If not, google it.

The engine/transmission is the same as the 2010 VW Jetta TDI and Golf TDI so there's nothing surprising there. It's fast compared to older TDI engines and even though it's 140 hp is very close to the 138 hp BHW engine in the mk4 Passat TDI, it feels very different. Power is much smoother and linear. The BHW pulls harder down low but power isn't nearly as smooth. The only transmission is DSG so response is much, much better than the BHW engine which is auto only.

The Jetta TDI w/DSG I drove had an occasional minor delay/hesitation from a stop when you apply the accelerator pedal. This Audi did not.

For whatever reason, the first 1" of brake pedal travel was overly sensitive. Good brake pedal feel is a combination of travel and effort and this was too much. The 2009 VW Jetta TDI DSG didn't have paddle shifters but they are standard on the VW Golf TDIs. The A3 only has paddle shifters on the plus trim. IMHO, this is a bad move on Audi's part since paddle shifter buttons on the steering wheel change the driving experience and Audi is a premium name.

I try to keep opinion out of the FAQ pages like the Audi A3 TDI buying FAQ and delivery checklist :http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q_how_to/8p/audiA3tdi_checklist.htm
but the A3 could have been a knockout instead of the decent car it is. Now that I've had a chance to drive the car here is some more opinon.

Pros: slightly nicer trim/materials - you can't see it in pics but it's there.

Side note: I had a chance to see the 2010 Golf and I noticed that while there are some interior improvements, there are also some downgrades. As stated before, the new Golf is better overall but another main goal of the Golf was to build it more efficiently/cheaper. The plastic scuff plate (the piece bordering the trunk/bumper) is much worse compared to the mk4 VWs. You'll never see it until you open the hatchback but it's there and finish/texturing is of much lower quality than I remember. It feels cheaper and thinner. On the bright side, the main interior plastics which you do see are of pretty good quality.

The basic front suspension is the exact same but tuning is different. It felt a tiny big better (smoother yet still controlled) than the Jetta that I tried w/16" wheels, even though this one had 17" wheels. I haven't ridden in a Golf TDI so I can't compare it to the Golf's sport suspension with 17" wheels. It was a dealer demo car and I couldn't wring it out so this was just a first impression on the suspension. I saw a comment elsewhere that the A3 TDI had cast control arms vs. the stamped control arms of the Jetta/Golf. This is not true, only the quattro had cast control arms, the FWD A3 TDI has the same basic design of front suspension. The control arms are the exact same part in FWD A3/Golf/Jetta TDI.

More features in the A3 vs. the Golf/Jetta. Some are standard, some are optional. Power seats, leather, sport suspension, alcantara suede seats, are some of the options.

Cons: even if you don't buy these options, you pay for the opportunity to have them. The price of developing/stocking/training employees to install them, overhead/etc., options is spread among all cars. Choice costs money.

No quattro for the reasons stated in the Audi A3 TDI FAQ and checklist.

The fact that the Jetta sportwagen/Golf wagon TDI exists. The A3 is larger and uses space better than the Golf/Jetta sedan. But the Jetta wagon is bigger, uses the same engine/transmission, the VWs have a much nicer GPS/navigation system, and is cheaper. If the wagon didn't exist the A3 would be the big cargo hatchback and be very unique. Right now it's biggest competitor is the fellow TDI, not the Lexus 250h entry level greenwash hybrid.

The Audi definitely isn't the value leader and the higher the price, the higher the depreciation. I would buy the Audi A3 TDI over the Jetta TDI but the Golf TDI gets the new body this year and the Jetta wagon has more space for less. Of course, my preferences aren't anyone else's preferences, and anyone who does buy the A3 TDI will be very happy. The A3 is supposed to be totally overhauled for model year 2011 or 2012 and it will be interesting to see if they offer the 170 hp TDI engine or quattro. As a total guess I suspect the overhaul may take place in 2012 because the current body is relatively new and because it would be pretty unusual for it to be a 1 year only model.
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