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2006 Audi A3 2.0 T MT6 Review

Less is More

A three-quarter front view of a red 2006 Audi A3 2.0 T MT6

In short: A practical, sporty and good-looking 5-door vehicle.

A view of the 2006 Audi A3 2.0 T MT6's engine
A front interior view of the 2006 Audi A3 2.0 T MT6
A view of the 2006 Audi A3 2.0 T MT6's roof

History repeats itself; as gas prices go north, car buyers are thinking twice about their next purchase. Lucky travelers to Europe can scope out some of the cute and sporty econoboxes available there. Finally, Audi has brought to the U.S. the small A3 (but not the even smaller A1), which our tester demonstrated to be perfectly functional and rather sporty.

Starting at a base price around $24,000 you can easily get trapped into spending another $6,000 for the sport package and other options that include the open sky system and the upgraded Bose Premium sound system. You’ll go from cloth to leather upholstery, ride on 17” alloy wheels with performance tires and sport suspension, turn a multi-function leather sport steering wheel and be cuddled in sport semi-bucket seats. Overall, the car is a pleasure to drive, even for long distances, but perhaps not with five adults on board. Lightly loaded, it is very quick to 60 mph from a standstill. Up front, you get an automatic dual-zone climate control system. Rear seats have the ski-thru configuration or 60/40 split fold set-up, giving you a good station wagon cargo environment. Our brilliant red tester had the full glass roof with a retractable delicate mesh screen, allowing us to filter how much light came in. Options such as an automatic transmission with Tiptronic paddle shift on the steering wheel can be had. Other things we noted were a tilt sensor, the Homelink system and a sunblind on the luggage shelf, but no seat heat.

The beauty of the 2.0 T is its Turbo. It’s as if you had two cars in one: an easy, go-about convenient five-door wagon under 4,000 rpm, and a quick sport-back at higher revolutions level. With its 14.5 gallon fuel tank and conservative driving, you’ll get a range superior to 350 miles, but should you gun it a lot, we’re sure you’ll be losing those miles quickly.

For those who know how to wait, we hear there is a beefier model on the way with a 250 hp V6 Quattro!

A three-quarter rear view of a red 2006 Audi A3 2.0 T MT6

Warranty/Service: 4-year/50,000-mile limited warranty; 4-year/50,000-mile no-charge scheduled maintenance; 12-year limited warranty against corrosion perforation; 4-year 24-hour roadside assistance coverage provided by a third-party supplier.


QUICK SHEET
Price as tested: $29,110

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Engine:
2.0 liter 200 hp DOHC turbo charged 4-cylinder with FSI direct injection, 207 lb-ft at 1,800-5,000 rpm

Transmission:
6-speed manual transmission

Safety:
Driver/Passenger advanced two-stage airbag supplemental restraint system with occupant sensors; active front head restraints; SIDEGUARD® inflatable curtain airbags; electrically adjustable outside rear view mirror; LATCH system.

Top Speed: 130 mph

Acceleration: 0-60 in 6.4 seconds

Braking:
Anti-lock brake system, Brake Assist, 60-0 in 138 ft.


Fuel Economy: 24 city, 32 highway

Handling:
FrontTrak®, front wheel drive system, Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP), Alloy wheels, McPherson strut front suspension, Four link rear suspension

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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 08/25/09 SV)


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