I've owned my A3 for around 6 months now, replacing a BMW 1 Series, so I've experienced it in a range of driving conditions and journey types. Nothing to date has changed my impression of a solid, reliable vehicle that does everything expected of it in a no-fuss, thoroughly competent way.
STYLING: compared to the sculpted lines of the BMW, the Audi has an exterior that's modest to the point of blandness, absolutely nothing to object to, it's just built for function rather than any wow factor. I chose a red one to liven it up a bit.
PERFORMANCE: very reasonable for a car where the emphasis is on driving economy rather than raw power. It won't burn rubber but it'll get you up to the speed limit quickly and effectively. The gear changes come in at sensible intervals (much better than the previous BMW where the engine management system would cut in disconcertingly to override hard acceleration); together with an innovative gear-change advice display on the dashboard this is one of those cars where the rev counter instrumentation is just about redundant.
ECONOMY: given that it's quite an expensive initial purchase with not much in way of extras included, running costs are pleasantly low, I chose the diesel engine and I'm convinced a full tank of fuel would take me from Land's End to John o' Groats. CO2 emissions in the latest model are very good resulting in road tax savings.
COMFORT: As with many cars it can be a bit awkward sliding into it, but once seated the seats give good support, controls are in easy reach and everything makes you feel at home. Luggage space is reasonable but a family of 5 going on holiday might need to think about a roof rack.
OVERALL: The Audi A3 is a good all-rounder, unpretentious but capable. It's not a car to fall in love with, but it's one you'd be very content to live with.
I have owned my A3 for almost 6 months and I can honestly say I am delighted with it. It is absolutely superb for long distance driving as it offers ultimate comfort and is good on petrol. I drive to Sheffield quite regularly from Norfolk, so it is a good 300 mile round trip and I can happily say that is really puts the fun into driving. It corners superbly and there is a lot the engine has to offer in terms of power. For a 1.6 it quickly picks up speed which is useful on motorways and dual carriageways. The engine is relatively quiet but there is little more satisfying than hearing the "Audi growl" as I call it when you put your foot down. It has a top sound system with a CD player that is incredibly easy to use, loads of boot space (which is ideal as a cricketer!) and has plenty of room in the front and the back of the car.