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2009 Audi A3 S line 2.0T quattro Review

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Rob Rothwell
A Sports Car for Five
The Audi A3 is a seductive hatchback - make that 'sportback' to use Audi-speak. It conceals its true sports car character beneath a fairly sedate exterior that includes four doors and a rear lift-gate. Sure, its low roofline and broad stance telegraph a performance orientation but there's no escaping the "small wagon" image it also exhibits - that is of course until one slides behind its ergonomically-perfect steering wheel.

The Audi A3 is a seductive hatchback - make that 'sportback' to use Audi-speak.

Little visual change for 2009
Audi launched the A3 as a 2006 model. Back then they described it as the first four-door car with the sportiness of a TT Coupe. It may possess such qualities dynamically but certainly not visually. That said, from all angles the A3 is a great looking exercise in compact automotive styling. It's proportioned beautifully while adhering to Audi's tradition of "cleanliness" in design.

The business-like cabin remains essentially unchanged but that's a good thing given the outstanding build quality and premium materials encompassed within. The gauge cluster includes a speedometer and tachometer of massive size. These units are a pleasure to read thanks to the clarity attributable to their immensity.

4-cylinders connected to 4-wheels
My tester was fortified by Audi's award-winning turbocharged 2.0-litre DOHC inline-four that produces 200 horsepower @ 5,100 rpm and 207 pound-feet of torque at only 1,800 rpm - that's impressive for such a little guy. Laying into the throttle provokes a response that is truly satisfying.

There's plenty of low-end propulsion produced by this turbocharged mill. The fortitude stays in place through to its 6,500 rpm redline. Along the way, the engine emits a refined growl that never sounds strained or frenetic; in fact, polished comes to mind.

The surge of power isn't wasted on wheelspin thanks to Audi's optional quattro all-wheel-drive technology. Pulling quickly away from a stop sign while making a sharp turn on a wet highway can literally be fatal in a vehicle that relies upon one or two wheels worth of road adherence. With quattro-induced traction at all four corners, the A3 S line slingshots itself forward with complete control and stability.

My tester was fortified by Audi's award-winning turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four that produces 200 horsepower.
Rob Rothwell
Rob Rothwell
Automotive expert
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