The 2008 Audi A3 serves as one of Audi’s most affordable cars, a good value for entry-level buyers looking for a combination of luxury and the practicality of a four-door hatchback body style. Although the A3 has been on sale in Europe since 1996, it didn’t debut in the U.S. until 2006, when hatchbacks and wagons suddenly started to become more popular with American drivers. The A3 comes in three trim levels: 2.0TS, 2.0 T6, and 3.2 Quattro. The numbers refer to each trim's engine displacement, while Quattro is the name of Audi's all-wheel-drive system.
Body Styles: four-door hatchback wagon
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 3.2-liter V-6
Transmission: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic
Models: Audi 2.0 TS, Audi 2.0 T6, Audi 3.2 Quattro
The 2008 Audi A3 does not show any major changes, but a few small changes include an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and satellite radio as standard features. In addition, iPod integration and manual rear sunshades become optional on all models.
The A3 exterior in profile has a coupe-like downward sweep of the roof, which is supported by a strong shoulder line that joins the front, sides, and rear of the car. This gives the appearance that the A3 is about to spring forward. Cluster lights make the face of the 2008 Audi A3 look like it’s frowning. In addition, the A3 has prominent low intake grilles, and wraparound taillight clusters accentuate the broad sweep to the rear, giving the impression of a small spoiler. Dual exhaust tips protrude below the bumper and make the A3 look very sporty.
The A3 comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels. Audi also offers several packages. The Titanium package adds 19-inch titanium-finish alloy wheels and a black front grille. The Cold Weather package adds a removable ski rack, heated windshield washer nozzles, and heated exterior mirrors. A sunroof also remains optional; however, only one of the two glass panels open.
The interior of the 2008 Audi A3 feels upscale with a combination of comfort and utility. The A3 offers high-quality workmanship and materials for the most part, with the exception of the dash. The cockpit logically lays out the controls, and the gauges look easy to read. The center console sits higher above the seats, giving it a sports-car feel. It offers adequate legroom in both the front and rear. The rear seats feel quite comfortable and supportive; however, the sporty, sloping roof means a tall passenger in the rear would have compromised headroom.
The split rear seat easily flips down, substantially increasing cargo space, and the wide doors make for easy access. Additional interior features include driver and passenger power-adjustable lumbar support, driver and passenger height-adjustable seats, remote power locks, a folding center armrest with storage, and power mirrors and windows.
Convenience features include cruise control; a center console with storage; cup holders; remote trunk release; seatback storage; electric speed-proportional power steering; 12-volt outlets in the front, rear, and cargo area; a telescopic and tilt steering wheel; and audio controls mounted on the steering wheel.
Additional interior features include dual-zone climate control, charcoal air filters, cargo area lights, front reading lights, leather on the shift knob, and dual vanity mirrors.
Performance & Handling
Passing and maneuvering through traffic is not a problem in the 2008 Audi A3, and it does an outstanding job on curves due to the well-tuned suspension.
The A3 hatchback has the power and feel of a sports car. Due to the 3.2-liter engine, this hatchback has plenty of pep and quick acceleration, but with a surprisingly smooth start, which remains smooth beyond 70 mph. All that power distributes evenly due to all-wheel drive.
The driver feels safe and secure while riding in the A3 thanks to extensive safety features such as front-seat side airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and optional seat-mounted side airbags for the rear passengers. Additional safety equipment includes a remote anti-theft alarm system, emergency brake assist, an engine immobilizer, traction control, and tire pressure monitoring.
Crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the 2008 Audi A3 “Good,"" which marks the highest possible rating in frontal-offset and side-impact tests.
EPA Fuel Economy
Audi A3, manual: 20/29 mpg city/highway
Audi A3, automatic: 22/29 mpg city/highway
Audi A3 Quattro, automatic: 18/25 mpg city/highway
- Enjoyable driving experience
- Roomy interior
- Excellent safety features for a small car
You Won't Like
- Tight rear headroom
- Pricey, with minimal optional features
A compact economy vehicle with the comfort, security, and luxury to make it the perfect family car.
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