Audi made a good move with the A3 in 1996. Established on the basis of the Golf, it aims to be more upscale and renews the premium compact category, invented by the Lancia Delta in 1979. Exceeding the commercial expectations of its manufacturer, it quickly sees its price revised upwards, which does not hamper sales at all! So when it comes to renewing it, designer Gary Telaak, who will be working on the TT mk II soon after, does not break the mold. Presented in 2003 at the Geneva Motor Show, the second-generation A3, coded 8P, therefore follows in the tradition of its predecessor, when in reality it has almost nothing to do with it. Indeed, it inaugurates the Volkswagen Group PQ35 platform, very interesting since it is equipped, for example, with a multi-link rear axle.
Initially unveiled as a 3-door, the Audi almost immediately received the famous VR6 unit, in its 3.2-liter version already seen in the Golf IV R32, except that in the Audi, it went from 241 to 250 hp. This respectable cavalry travels to all four wheels via an all-wheel drive fitted with a Haldex coupling: the rear axle only receives power when the front loses traction. So it is by default a pull. For its part, the gearbox has six gears, whether manual or dual-clutch.
At € 37,190 (€ 45,000 today), the A3 V6 is not that expensive, not much more than the much less sophisticated Alfa Romeo 147 GTA. As standard, in Ambition finish, it receives 17 rims, car air conditioning as well as the chassis and sport seats. At 40,840 €, the Ambition Luxe adds leather, reversing radar, walnut burl and even the CD changer. For the DSG box, it is necessary to add 2,070 €.
At the end of 2004, the A3 was available in 5-doors Sportback, lengthened by 8 cm, but in 2006, the S3, with a turbo 4-cylinder engine of 265 hp, cannibalized sales of the 3.2 l. The coup de grace is given to it in 2009, shortly after the slight restyling of 2008, the fashion then being downsizing. By disappearing, the A3 3.2 carries with it the only V6 ever fitted in an Audi compact. A collector in short.
How much does it cost ?
Unlike Volkswagen, Audi did not associate the V6 with a specific and iconic finish. It could have been the S3, but this one received a turbo 4-cylinder. Suddenly, the A3 3.2 l remains relatively unknown, which earned it a very low rating: from € 5,000. Obviously, at this price, the mileage reaches 200,000 km and the car is not perfect. At € 8,000, we get a very nice copy of around 150,000 km, a figure that can be halved by adding € 2,000. The most expensive are € 15,000: phase 2 full of options, such as the sunroof or GPS, showing less than 100,000 km.
Which version to choose?
Between manual gearbox and DSG (or S tronic), it comes down to a simple matter of preference. On the other hand, it is with the equipment of the Ambition Luxe finish that the A3 V6 is the most pleasant.
It will be an example with very few kilometers (80,000 maximum), in perfect original condition and with a maximum of options: leather, heated seats with electric adjustments, double sunroof, large color screen GPS , xenon, 18 inch rims. Such a car has become very difficult to find.
What to watch out for?
The A3 8P is an Audi as you might imagine – that is to say, perfectly built: the car looks good for a long time, both inside and out. The engine is very robust, although you have to be careful of the chain tensioners around 100,000 km. The gearboxes do not pose any problems either, provided they are properly drained, from 60,000 km for the DSG / S tronic. On manual versions, pay attention to the condition of the flywheel. If it vibrates under the clutch pedal, it may need to be changed, which costs $ 2,000. Loss of traction on acceleration? As a result, the rear wheels do not engage properly, indicating a failure of the Haldex system pump (which should also be drained regularly).
Finally, electronic glitches are not uncommon, but often benign.
It's crazy what it looks like in a TDI, the A3 V6. This is in its interest if you like discretion. The interior is most attractive, between its polished design, its perfect finish and its good roominess. The impeccable driving position does not spoil anything!
At startup, the V6 is distinguished by its discretion. It's smooth, almost silky, and pleasingly round. In the city, it's a pleasure, and on the road, it delivers without seeming to force top-notch performances, in a velvety and refined tone. However, it remains very linear, unlike a more explosive Alfa V6. On our copy, it is harnessed to a DSG gearbox, in my opinion the best suited to this unit for a smooth ride. It changes gears imperceptibly, in a flash on the upshift, but with a little hesitation on downshifting.
Dynamically, the A3 V6 is a total rigor. Riveted to the ground, it obviously benefits from unassailable traction, which allows you to get the most out of the engine. With its judiciously guided running gear, it is precise and goes very quickly in bends. However, all this has a downside: the car is not playful, preferring whatever happens to understeer once its limit is reached. And she is clumsy in the virolos. Obviously, this is not a sports car, despite its high performance, which is confirmed by its forgiving and comfortable cushioning.
In short, a very pleasant little GT, muffled and efficient, the main fault of which is to drink a little too much: 11 l / 100 km on average.
The youngtimer alternative
Audi Coupe V6 (1992 – 1996)
If the Audi 80 B3, released in 1986, will not go down in annals for its chassis, its line marked its time. Very fluid, this sedan was equipped with a luxurious version 90, itself declined in coupe in 1988. More simply called Audi Coupé, this one receives a plethora of engines including, from 1992, a V6 available in 2 , 6 l (150 hp) and 2.8 l (174 hp). A block that has nothing to do with VW's VR6. We can nevertheless consider the Audi Coupé as the ancestor of the A3 V6 3.2 l, because it is also compact and benefits from a hatchback, as well as a Quattro all-wheel drive (only with the 2, 8 l). Extremely well made, very safe dynamically if not sporty, and expensive to buy new, it again foreshadows the A3 V6, but still proves to be significantly less efficient. Forgotten, it can be found for very little: from € 3,500.
Audi A3 V6 3.2 l (2005), technical sheet
- Engine: 6-cylinder V, 3189 cc
- Power supply: injection
- Suspension: McPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar (AV); multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar (AR).
- Transmission: 6 manual or dual clutch, 4-wheel drive
- Power: 250 hp at 6,300 rpm
- Torque: 320 Nm at 2,500 rpm
- Weight: 1495 kg
- Maximum speed: 250 km / h (manufacturer data)
- 0 to 100 km / h: 6.3 seconds (manufacturer data)
> To find second-generation A3 ads, visit the La Centrale website.