Reader test: Audi A3
Dave Coetzee, Port Elizabeth
Having previously owned a '96 model Audi A4 1.8 with over 300 000 km, my recently purchased '99 Audi A3 1.8T with 133 000 km, is considered to be quite an upgrade.
Although I'm a total petrolhead, I don't believe in spending too much money on cars, but I believe the price of R65 000 via a dealer was the best I could do.
Like most Audis the interior has quality materials that still looks good after 10 years and three previous owners (rather three careful owners, than one abusive, I say!).
It has most of the creature comforts and safety equipment that I need, while the leather-bound steering wheel adds a sporty touch.
The Audi Concert (Bose) sound system is an absolute pleasure. After taking delivery, my son discovered a six-CD shuttle behind a panel in the boot. I noticed this car even had mats protecting the Audi-fitted mats that protect the carpet and looks brand new.
Like most coupes, it's not very entry/exit friendly, with its wide doors and sporty bolstered seats, but with my wife karting the kids in her little car, it's only me that's affected.
Performance and ride
The 20-valve 1.8T engine must rate as one of Audi's best because it's still doing service in the latest VW Polo GTI. It's deceptively fast, quiet and refined, most unlike that of a hot hatch.
Unfortunately, within the first few days of ownership, I noticed that the clutch was slipping and the engine sounded like a diesel. I obtained a written second opinion from a VW/Audi dealership.
Fortunately, the dealer from which I bought the car had the clutch/flywheel replaced, while the diesel-like noise was rectified by the replacement of a cambelt/chain tensioner - all at no cost to me. I provided the necessary parts for a service which was due at that stage.
Although it doesn't come with a new car warranty, my Audi A3 1.8T costs less than any new car available on the market today, while it performs a lot better, is much safer, more comfortable and refined.
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