Our cars: Audi A3 Sportback - July
Week ending July 26
Driven this week 413 miles
Audi A3 Sportback review
The A3 Sportback now has a crack-free windscreen, thanks to a second visit from Autoglass the other day. This time the correct glass was on board the technician's Transit, and the switchover only took around 45 minutes (plus an obligatory hour to allow the glue and seals to set). The price still looks hefty, at almost £700, but the Autoglass chap probably didn't help my view on this by enthusing about how cheap it was.
'Original Audi part, that,' he commented. 'It's a doddle to fix when they fit so perfectly.' I was happy for him - although in all honesty, it is good to not have a chip and crack right in my eyeline any more.
On a more negative note, I've heard absolutely nothing this week about the rattling turbo clip that's down to be replaced. It's been more than six weeks now since the car visited the dealer to get the problem diagnosed, and I count that as too slow a fix.
We've criticised manufacturers like Mazda in the past for parts availability on early models, so it's only fair to dish out a bit of the same here. Frankly, the buzzing noise at anything from 2000rpm upwards is taking a fair chunk of the shine off everyday motoring with the A3 - and with not much more than 2500 miles on the clock, that's a disappointingly early end to the honeymoon period.
By John McIlroy
Week ending July 19
Driven this week 100 miles
Sitting inside the Audi A3 Sportback for much of my commuting this week gave me a good chance to get familiar with our 2013 Car of the Year and it’s easy to see what the fuss is about. Outside, it is neat and tidy if a little understated, but everywhere you look in the elegant, simple interior, little design touches and flourishes leave you in no doubt of its considerable class. It’s tiny details that impress the most. Take the fresh air vents. They look great, they work brilliantly and bring a genuinely premium fee to this small family hatch. All the switchgear too has a reassuring solidity to it too.
It’s still not perfect though. For the unaccustomed, having three rotary dials in the lower dash area, for fan speed, volume control and MMI controller, make it easy to change radio station when you meant to turn up the volume. It’s a tiny niggle though. I'm sure that more time spent behind the wheel will ensure that familiarity breeds contentment.
By Nigel Donnelly
Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI Sport
Week ending July 12
Driven this week 130 miles
Week ending July 12
Driven this week 110 miles
No progress to report on either the A3's turbo clip or its windscreen (I'm getting worryingly used to squinting beyond the crack, actually) but this week I've started to put the Sportback's practicality to a sterner test.
A couple of runs to the dump gave me the chance to fold down the rear seats - just pull a handle at the top, then shove them forwards - and pile up junk in the boot space.
Fact is, the A3 was perhaps a little more capable here than my previous long-termer, the Range Rover Evoque, purely because the Audi's roofline doesn't slope down quite so much. The floor remains pretty flat with the seats down, too.
Less impressive is the shortage of boot hooks. True, there is a fold-down one on the right hand side of the load bay, but it's pretty feeble - good enough for only one well-filled shopping bag, in fact. My missus's Kia Cee'd has double the quantity of hooking points, and their design can cope with a couple of bags each.
Given that we're just talking about plastic mouldings here, I'd have thought Audi's engineers could have been a teeny bit more creative - and generous.
By John McIlroy
Week ending July 5
Driven this week 40 miles
Our Audi A3 Sportback is currently waiting for two parts - which is hardly an ideal state of affairs when a car has done less than 2500 miles.
?First, there’s the turbocharger clip, which continues to buzz at around 2000rpm. I’ve had some correspondence from What Car? readers who have encountered the same thing, although the response from Audi dealers seems to be patchy. Some, such as my local outlet Camberley Audi, say it’s a known problem. Other parts of the network deny all knowledge.
In any case, my customer rep from Camberley left me a voicemail message the other day to say that there’s no sign of the new clip arriving just yet. It was a progress report detailing, er, precisely no progress, but at least it was some communication, which is a good thing.
In other news, the A3’s windscreen had a stone chip which turned into a nasty crack as soon as the Autoglass repair man tried to repair it, so I’m currently waiting for a replacement screen. In fact, scratch that: I’m waiting for a second one, because the first example wasn’t ordered to the correct specification.
I can imagine the plethora of options and screen-mounted sensors makes modern cars a nightmare for glass replacement firms and indeed, the nice chap from Autoglass said their system wasn’t necessarily prompting the telephone orders team to ask the right questions. As it was, he’d turned up with a screen featuring big gap to make room for a lane departure warning system (I think), and our car doesn’t have that feature. Cue another special order, and another wait.
So there you go: not even 2500 miles done, and waiting for two parts. I’m sure it’s going to be more straightforward after this, right?
By John McIlroy