With an opening MSRP of around $26,000, the 2008 Audi A3 is a compact, entry level luxury sports 5-door hatchback sedan. For that amount you get the base model 2.0T, which is powered by a 200hp 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with either a 6-speed manual or automatic. In addition to the three trim levels, 2.0T, 2.0T S Line, and 2.0T Premium, the A3 introduces a new convertible for 2008.
Living up to its Audi heritage, the A3 is a solidly built, exquisitely engineered, sporty vehicle that comes with the trappings of affluence, such as programmed temperature control, with particle extractor, thick fabric seat covers, conformable steering wheel shaft, and select audio system with 10 speakers. Add the unexpected touches to the base 2.0T like remote keyless entry, mechanized throttle control, theft alarm, and cosmetic mirrors, to completely outfit an agile yet ferocious raptor.
Expect the rewards of owning a premium name badge to include sophisticated suspension technology, computer programmed stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, and superior radial tires. To further distinguish the 2.0T S Line, the exterior is more aggressively styled with a more menacing front end and rear treatment. The sound systems in the upper trims are enhanced, as are the seating surfaces and interior trim.
No sporty hatchback would be complete without the full compliment of airbags, including front and side curtains, and rear passenger side impact airbags. Luggage space is ample in the hatchback, with the hatch offering the functionality of a gaping entry rather than the uselessness of a purely cosmetic porthole. One gets the sense of a complete vehicle, with the 2008 Audi A3 giving you the thrill of a sporty sedan and the practicality of a hatchback, all the while engineered into a stylish package.