■ General Comments

Overall, in a word, I think it was a good car for a city commuter. It has a good design, good quality, good packaging, and is a well-balanced car in total. In particular, it was based on the concept of a premium compact car. At that time, compact cars in Japan and other countries were usually made with the value system that they were cheap and good, but this car and the BMW Mini have changed that concept.

 There are some negative points. Above all, the life of parts is short, and as a result, there are many breakdowns. This may not be true in their home country, but at least it was true in Japan. The double clutch system called DSG has a very bad reputation, and it is true that my car was also ruined. I was going to drive it for a long time, so I made a lot of efforts, but in the end this was the deciding factor and I had to give it away.

 After all, it is just a good introduction to German cars. There were many variations of engines and drive systems in the home country, and it was a car that could be enjoyed in many ways.








■ Background.

 I rented a VW Golf in Munich and drove it for a good distance while I was in Germany for business around 2010, and I liked it because it was well-balanced from the Autobahn+ to the city. I was going around car shops after all. I knew by ear that Audi and Lambo had joined the VW group, but I had not pictured Audi in my mind. I was looking for a Golf, so the Passat and Polo were not out of my mind, but the A3 was not in my range. I was surprised at the low price of the A3, but now I think it was probably the bottom of the market due to the emission cheating. I test-drove it and found that it was very quiet at low speeds, and I thought it was kind of cool (shame).



■An idle thought about design and all that

 Audi's exterior design was known a long time ago as a running Bauhaus (*even the experts don't know what that means, I'll look it up later). The lines, the sprawling wagon roofline, etc., were sexy even to the untrained eye with a sense of restraint. For the past 20 years or so, Audi has been a notable vendor for its design. It had a good balance of sobriety and sexiness that was grounded in functionalism. This car I owned was relatively early, around 2008, but the elements were already perfected. I felt it belonged to a category that does not look old even today.

 I think the recent (early 2020's) Audi's are more decorative. I don't think it is very suitable for the user group of this car, personally. I have a somewhat negative impression of the recent changes in exterior design, and I think the inflection point was the introduction of up-and-coming designers for the Q2. After that, the design of other segments also gradually changed to emphasize sharp angles. Even if we put aside the trend, I wonder if the fake air intakes are not detracting from the value of the brand from a functionalist point of view. Does it make people think, "Oh, it's just a cheap product? (I don't think so, as far as I know, but it makes sense if you read it as functionalism or progressivism, which is not so bad in some respects). If you are selling your products by design, I hope you will write down your philosophy of design and put it into practice.





■Interior Design

(There is also the legend of Takeshi.) When you buy a new model, it is also the interior that you see all the time. The interior has changed a lot between the model I had and the current model. A decade ago, the VW group's interiors had a sturdy and solid look, and I felt that they were so plain even in the 2010s @ Munich. Also, I had the impression that electrical systems such as car navigation systems were about 10 years behind Japan (not so much now, or maybe the situation has been reversed).

  What I found out from owning it is that it looks frugal, or frugal but not rigid (sweat).  After 10 years, the paint was floating and peeling, especially on the plastic parts. It could be said that this was due to the different weather conditions between Germany and Japan, but considering the price range and the fact that these cars are sold all over the world, it was lousy. (BMW also said that the electrical system would soon fail even in its home country.) Although it is a small thing, the accumulation of small things is important when claiming to be premium. Once the impression of "parts are too fragile" was attached, it could not be removed until the end.

 By the way, it is clear that electric vehicles have led the evolution of vehicle interiors in recent years, and this is more worthy of discussion. The evolution of UI/UX synchronized with software updates and functions required for automatic driving, etc., is proceeding asymptotically without waiting.

   In this sense, I think Mercedes is attacking from the ancient car industry, but it is only by "converting existing instruments to LCD. Audi, too, has introduced an electronic instrument panel in the TT under the title of "Virtual Cockpit," but I feel that simply replacing the instrument panel with LCDs is a lack of ideas. However, from the consumer's point of view, the choice is made simply and cruelly.






■ Fun of Drive (what is a that?)

 I held it for a long time, so this may be a harsher rating than the others. I thought I had driven the Golf (which is a variant) on the Autobahn plus for a long time, but the A3 I owned fluttered around for some reason. When the car enters the ultra-high speed range from 150 km/h and up, the suspension does not settle down well. The suspension is not stable at all at speeds above 150 km/h. Perhaps the air flow is bad, or perhaps the power steering is not set properly, but the car wobbles and does not settle at all. I thought I had bought a German car because I wanted to be free from such problems, but this is a strange story. (Is there a problem with my memory?) I compared it with my friend's BMW3 M-Sport on the same route, but the handling was not as good. I know some people may ask me to compare it with A4, but if we compare FWD cars at least, the handling is not as good as FTO which I used to own. I wonder if this class is designed as a basic city commuter, optimized for 50 km or less.

 By the way, this is just my opinion based on my limited experience, but I am hesitant to discuss it because I don't feel like I am driving an automatic transmission. If I were to put it into words, automatics reduce road information, of course, and it is difficult to know the condition of the engine. Without information such as the sound and vibration of the drive train, it is the same as controlling a game, and you feel like you are running on a hydroplane. This may be another old school opinion, but for me at least, driving is a pleasure, and if I can't enjoy the feeling of a machine and a human being becoming one with various information, I would rather take a cab or a train. As I thought after driving a recent sports car or, for example, the GT-R, I don't think I will buy one for my own use anymore, because an automatic transmission is boring, no matter how fast it is. 

One more thing I want to mention, Audi (this car) has a boring engine. It's smooth underneath, but it's potato-like, it won't turn, it's gurpy and loud even if you try hard, and that's fine if you just want to drive it, but if you drive it as a hobby, it's a tragedy. If I were to use an analogy, it would be like a refrigerator or a white goods appliance. A Honda Step Wagon runs much better. If we were to ask whether it would be more fun to drive a higher grade car, we would find that none of them were very enjoyable. Perhaps Honda is not a manufacturer that is good at engines.