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2006 Audi A3

In Shakespeare's play, "The Taming of the Shrew", Katherine is portrayed as insufferable and sharp-tongued, a personality to be tamed due to her strong opinions and independent spirit. Rather than adjust their way of thinking and embrace her rich personality, her two would-be suitors choose instead to play it safe and pursue the soft-spoken sister Bianca.

The 2006 Audi A3 2.0T is in many ways, the metallic embodiment of the fictional character Katherine.

2006 Audi A3

The autonomous personality of the new A3 makes clear Audi's intention to penetrate the affordable car market with bravado. With taut hatchback looks and a sprinters stance, the Audi A3 2.0T enters center stage with instant presence. Audi's new grille design and multi-spoke alloy wheels help further define its independent spirit.

After spending the better part of a week driving the car, I found most observers enamored with the bold new approach taken by Audi for their first entry into the "affordable" sports car market.

There were, however, a few who dismissed the new Audi A3 2.0T as being to obvious with its European styling, stating emphatically that a hatchback would never be accepted in North America. They, like the would-be suitors in the Shakespeare's drama, would rather play it safe; thereby missing what, is in my opinion, one of the brightest new stars in the market.

The Audi A3 comes standard with a DOHC 2.0L, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with VVT technology. It produces a lively 200 hp @ 5100-6000 rpm and 207 lb-ft of torque @ 1800-5000 rpm. Torque is readily available throughout the rev band making turbo lag for this car a non-issue.

Transmission choices range from a 6-speed manual to the 6-speed DSG "automatic". 0-60 mph is achieved in 6.7 seconds with the DSG equipped A3, while an additional .2 seconds required for the manual to reach highway speeds. Top speed is rated at 130 mph.

Audi is renowned for its all-wheel-drive Quattro technology. In fact, it is the standard by which all similar systems are compared. Surprisingly, Quattro-drive is not available on the A3 2.0 T. It is only when choosing the more expensive Audi A3 3.2 that AWD is included as standard equipment.

To compete in this highly competitive category, Audi employs a sophisticated front-wheel-drive arrangement for the A3 2.0T. This offers the benefit of keeping costs down, without sacrificing performance when it comes to inclement weather traction.

The front suspension is a MacPherson strut design with lower wishbones, aluminum subframe and a tubular rollbar. It offers a level of steering feel and drivability usually reserved for cars costing much more. In back, a four-link setup with spring/shock absorbers, subframe and tubular anti-roll bar lends further credence to the roadworthiness of this affordable hatchback.

Standard on the Audi A3 2.0T is ESP, (Electronic Stability Program), variable assist rack and pinion steering and 17" 5-spoke allow wheels with 225/45 all-season tires. A tight 35.1 inch turning circle means parking the A3 in a tight space is stress free.

Quick and controlled stops are provided by 4-wheel ABS brakes with EBD (Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution). Driver and passenger front and chest protection airbags, along with side head protection airbags for all four passengers work in conjunction with 3-point seat belts to offer a safe driving environment.

Inside, the Audi A3 2.0T boasts excellent ergonomics with best-in-class design and execution.

2006 Audi A3 Interior

A 4-spoke steering wheel invites aggressive handling, while an even sportier 3-spoke steering wheel is optional. Stereo controls are within easy reach, while brushed aluminum trim accents the hub. This metallic theme is tastefully carried throughout the A3's interior, highlighting the interior door handles, circular vents, HVAC controls, gearshift and center console.

Seats are accommodating, if not close to ideal. Cushion length, thigh support and backrest height are all adjusted manually, once again for cost saving purposes, but you never feel second-class, as fine tuning comfort for both driver and passenger is a snap!

The 10-speaker, Audi Concert II AM/FM stereo with in-dash CD player is standard on the A3 2.0T. The upgrades for the Audi A3 include the Radio Symphony II AM/FM stereo with in-dash 6-disc CD changer, or a Bose premium 10-speaker sound system with AudioPilot noise compensation feature and subwoofer.

Power windows, heated outside power mirrors, power door locks, a rear wiper and cruise control round out a superb interior.

Audi has never been afraid to take a risk. They were, after all, one of the first automobile manufacturers to introduce AWD technology across the whole lineup at a time when others were touting FWD as the way of the future. With the introduction of the 2006 A3 2.0T and the more powerful A3 3.2, Audi makes a strong case for choosing something different, rather than playing it safe. It just may be the shrewdest investment you could make.

Audi A3: Winner of ICOTY Entry-Level Car of the Year

For more information visit the Audi website here.

2006 Audi A3 2.0T
Hatchback Sedan
Model options:


105.1 inches
Overall length:
168.7 inches
Engine size:

2.0-L 4-cylinder turbo with VVT

Manual- 6 speed, Auto- 6 speed with DSG


Power rack and pinion

Power assist 4-wheel disc with ABS/EBD

Fuel mileage city/hwy:

24/30 mpg


$24,740- $26,220