What Changed for 2009:
- Refreshed interior and exterior
- Quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) available on 2.0T models
- Available Magnetic Ride Control
- Optional S tronic dual-clutch transmission
- Hill-hold assist standard on 2.0T manual
- Standard leather seats and steering wheel and Sirius satellite radio
- New LED front lamps
- Four- or 6-cylinder powerplants
- Optional 18-inch, 5-tri-spoke alloy wheels
- Optional Sport package
The 2009 Audi A3 features a refreshed exterior along with several other improvements for the new model year. The smallest sedan in Audi's lineup, the compact 5-door slots under the larger Audi A4, midsize Audi A6, and flagship Audi A8 sedans. The A3 has been on sale in the European market since 1996, but it didn't arrive in North American showrooms until its second-generation iteration in 2006. Don't let its compact size fool you-the Audi A3 offers fine European engineering in a package with room for five. In fact, the entry-level A3 shares many luxury and technology features with its big brothers. The 2009 model year A3 offers an updated exterior and interior, new driveline choices, and a new suspension offering.
All 2009 Audi A3 models come with a 4-year/50,000-mile new-vehicle limited warranty that includes a 12-year limited warranty against corrosion perforation. Road America provides Audi owners with 24-hour roadside assistance during the first four years of ownership.
All 2009 Audi A3 models share the same 5-door \"Sportback\" (hatchback/wagon) platform and a choice of 4- or 6-cylinder power and front- or all-wheel drive (FWD or AWD). There are two different models: A3 2.0T and A3 3.2 Quattro. The standard 4-cylinder A3 2.0T is available with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed \"S tronic\" dual-clutch transmission and a choice between FWD and AWD powertrains. The more powerful 6-cylinder A3 3.2 features Audi's quattro IV permanent AWD system with torque-sensing center differential as the standard transmission. It is only available mated to the 6-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic.
New for 2009, Audi has freshened the exterior of all models with new LED daytime running lights (optional on some models) and restyled hood, front grille and tail lamps. The interior sports upgrades in the form of decorative inlays, new interior colors, and instrument bezels in white. All models feature standard leather seats and leather steering wheel, dual-zone air conditioning with fully automatic climate control, electronic cruise control, Sirius satellite radio, auxiliary audio input, and the Audi Concert II AM/FM stereo with 10 speakers and single in-dash CD player. Audi's Open Sky system, a powered large two-part panoramic glass sunroof, is optional on 2.0T and standard on 3.2 models. The upgraded 6-cylinder A3 3.2 models feature a Bose Audi Symphony premium sound system, rain-sensing wipers, fog lights, 8-way power driver's seat, and several other additional standard features. Major packages and options include the Premium package, Audio package, Technology package, and the Cold Weather package. The \"S line\" package adds larger wheels and tires, a roof spoiler, upgraded sport steering wheel, fog lamps, an audio package, and several other cosmetic changes. The Sport package includes 18-inch, 5-tri-spoke alloy wheels with 225/40 summer performance tires, sport seats and sport suspension. The Enhanced Sport package adds Audi's magnetic ride suspension. The DVD-based Audi Navigation Plus system is available as a stand-alone option on all models.
The Audi A3 family offers a choice of two different powerplants, and two drivelines, for the 2009 model year. The engine found under the hood of the entry-level 2.0T models is a direct-injection, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that delivers 200 hp at 5100-6000 rpm and 207 lb.-ft. of torque at 1800-5000 rpm. The standard transmission is a 6-speed manual gearbox with EPA fuel economy estimated at 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway. Audi's S tronic 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is optional. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway. The standard A3 2.0T model is now offered with a choice of FWD or Audi's full-time quattro IV permanent AWD system. With AWD, the EPA fuel-economy estimates are 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway.
The 3.2 models receive a direct-injection, 6-cylinder 3.2-liter engine that produces 250 hp at 6300 rpm and 236 lb.-ft. of torque at 2500-3000 rpm. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway. The 6-cylinder is only available with Audi's S tronic 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Audi quattro permanent AWD is standard on A3 3.2 models.
The suspension setup on the 2009 Audi A3 is of a MacPherson design in the front and a 4-link independent design in the rear. New for 2009 is optional Magnetic Ride Control, a technically-advanced adaptive suspension system that allows the driver to choose between comfort or sport settings, depending on the driving environment. All 2009 Audi A3 models feature electromechanical steering with speed-dependent power assist and 4-wheel disc brakes with standard anti-lock control. Hill-hold assist is now standard on 2.0T manual (and already standard on S tronic models). Standard wheels are 17-inch, 5- or 10-spoke alloy, with 18-inch, 5-tri-spoke alloy wheels with high-performance tires optional.
Audi has fitted all 2009 A3 models with dual-stage, next-generation front air bags and side air bags for driver and passenger protection. The air bags have electronic seat-occupant sensors to manage deployment. Front seats feature pre-tensioning 3-point seat belts and active head restraints. All 2009 A3 models feature Audi's Sideguard head-protection air bags for front and rear occupants, with rear side air bags optional. An Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) is standard equipment. The Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system is standard in the rear outboard positions as is a tire-pressure-monitoring system.
The 2006-2008 Audi A3 has been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The A3 earned a \"Good\" rating for the frontal offset test, and a \"Good\" rating for the side-impact test-the highest ratings issued by the Institute. Last year, the 2008 Audi A3 was chosen by the IIHS as a \"Top Safety Pick\" for 2008. As of this writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not tested the 2009 Audi A3.
Audi offers an innovative automatic transmission as an option on the 2009 A3 2.0T, and as standard equipment on the more powerful A3 3.2 model. It is called the Audi \"S tronic\" dual-clutch direct-shift gearbox and, the automaker claims, it delivers faster shifts than any human driver and better fuel economy than a traditional 6-speed manual transmission. The transmission contains two wet plate-type clutches that are electronically controlled to engage in sequence. While a traditional gearbox has just one clutch resulting in a short delay as the gears are engaged, the dual-clutch design of the S tronic delivers quicker shifting as the gears are \"readied\" for the next shift automatically. There is no loss of power between shifts, Audi says, and efficiency is greatly improved. Offering an excellent compromise between a manual or an automatic, the S tronic transmission is designed to work completely automatically or the driver can manually control the shifts via steering-wheel-mounted paddles.