Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI Sport
Week ending August 30
Driven this week 150 miles
A call, at last, from Audi customer services - although their realisation of my annoyance at the continuing turbo clip rattle from the A3 Sportback came through the strangest of routes. In fact, I’d sounded off on Twitter about the saga - and Audi’s American feed must follow me (or be monitoring all Audi activity) because they got in touch to promise a UK response.
The internal phone lines must have been buzzing, because within a day or two I had a tweet from Audi UK, asking for further details, and then a call from an efficient-sounding chap called Dominic who informed me that he was chasing it up.
Sure enough, within another 48 hours I had an appointment made with Audi Camberley to have the offending turbo clip replaced. It’s due to happen the week after next - and I can’t wait to get back to just enjoying the 1.4 TFSI’s smooth power delivery, without the accompanying percussion section.
Dominic, meanwhile, has promised to ‘have a chat with me’ once the work has been completed. This could be to give me an official Audi HQ ticking off for airing dirty laundry in public - which would mean a fairly short conversation, you won’t be surprised to hear.
By John McIlroy
Week ending August 23
Driven this week 340 miles
Have you ever complained to a dealer via social media? We had a bit of a communal rant last week about the wall of silence from Audi Camberley regarding our A3 Sportback's turbo clip rattle, you see – and it's proved oddly effective.
First, Audi America picked up the cause, replying on Twitter and suggesting that their UK colleagues would probably be in touch shortly. In fact they weren't, but a day or two later I did get a Twitter mention from an Audi UK customer service account, asking me to email them with some more details.
I've now done that, and am being pursued by an ultra-keen customer service rep. It could well be, of course, that he knows I'm a hack; it wouldn't have taken Audi UK long to check my Twitter account, which mentions what I do for a living. On the other hand, I find it interesting that what's presumably a centrally run service is keen to get involved, whereas there's still nothing to report from the dealership itself.
Another example of marketing departments and central office being more in tune with the customers than the actual point of direct contact? Could be.
Week ending August 9
Driven this week 542 miles
I've been up and down the country this week and have been in the A3 for all of it. It was my first opportunity to get behind the wheel of our long-termer and I can see why it was our What Car? Car of the Year for 2013.
The ride and refinement are excellent - turbo clip issue aside - and the cabin is a great place to spend time. The simple, classy dash is a pleasure to use and the seats have lots of adjustment. I arrived at my destination after four hours behind the wheel without a single ache.
The A3 was a worthy Car of the Year and it's clear that Audi is proud of the result as I popped into an Audi garage for another photoshoot to be greeted by an A3 Sportback sporting the What Car? logo.
By Matthew Burrow
Week ending August 2
Driven this week 180 miles
I hear encouraging news from the depths of an Audi A3 owners forum, because it seems at least a few owners are now having their rattling turbo clips replaced. Still no news on that front from Audi Camberley, who have now racked up four weeks without even a telephone update - but surely it can't be long now.
The maddening thing is that this unwanted underbonnet percussion section is spoiling an otherwise-excellent performance from the Audi as it moves through the 3000-mile mark. It's proving extremely comfortable on longer journeys, the in-car infotainment system is accurate and easy to use (I particularly like the ability to scrawl postcodes into the touchpad that's integrated into the top of the dial) and the economy continues to impress.
I've long since given up trying to eke out 50mpg on my morning commute and now target pace instead but even so, the overall average is still north of 40mpg - and in no apparent danger of dipping beneath that figure.
That's some way short of the claimed average, of course - as we've come to expect these days. However, for a reasonably hard-driven turbocharged family hatchback, I don't think it's too bad at all.
I just wish it could do it with one rattle less. Audi? Audi Camberley? Anyone?
By John McIlroy