>> It was just named 2010 Green Car of the Year. But saving the planet may not be enough to sell a whole lot of tiny cars at $33,000 a pop. So let's see if the Audi DNA prints on this little guy as we drive the A3 TDI and check the tech. You can get an A3 with a gas engine of course, but this is the one everybody's talking about -- the turbo diesel. Ours by the way is a premium plus trim level and black on black giving this little guy a little more gravitas. Now, the first thing you'll notice about the A3 if you're six feet or over like me is you don't so much as get in this thing as kind of put it on. All right, I can get a little more altitude out of the seat, but it's a tight fit let me tell you. Let's get right here to the head unit where the real interesting stuff begins. This is a little bit old in terms of the Audi's technology, but it's still basically a goody if it is an oldie that's really good map resolution. Notice how readable those street names are even if they are kind of out of kilter up at a different angle as they follow their street. But very visually quick. Audi uses this MMI interface -- the knob and the four corner buttons that correspond to the corners of the screen and it can be a little non-intuitive at times. Like here are four selections on the right for direction, scale, distance to end, things like that. How do you get there? Well, you kind of click around a lot till that appears. And then if I want to get to scale, I click again. I can do that. Then I can click again to move around, I think, but now how do I get back to one of these other guys? I'm sure it's in the manual, but I don't want to read the manual. Now, as you can also see, we have live traffic on this guy -- nice clear indications of traffic issues are shown on the map as you're underway, as well as here in the info display where you can get a list. Let's take a look at the audio system now. Pretty good rig here. In terms of the media options, you've got some good stuff here on the dashboard. This is what the Audi folks call their Audi Media Interface, AMI. This cable goes to an Audi port in there. I happen to have the iPod cable on now. There are other cables you can plug in here like for USB or AUX, for example. If you have this, though, you don't have CD. There's no CD because that would normally go in the glove box and use this same connection -- a six disk changer. So you're gonna have to be good with digital sources. On the other hand, we do have a couple of odd balls. The old SD cards that Audi loved so much a pair of them right back here behind the display. The disk slot above there by the way is not for a CD, that's just your DVD data disk for the NAV rig. And we have something called the convenience package. The name of which makes absolutely no sense in the fact that it brings you the premium audio which is Bose branded. What's convenient about good audio? Well, I guess sort of. It does sound quite good and does some nice kind favors for sources that normally sound like crap like satellite radio. Ten speakers around the cabin whether you get base audio or the Bose audio. The speaker count doesn't change. Let's talk about the gearshift for a minute. It connects to an Audi S-tronic 6 speed. They call it an automatic dual clutch so I'll assume it's a dual clutch which normally isn't what you'd call an automatic because it's a different kind of automatic. But that's exactly what it is with a sport mode if you go back here or over to the right you've got a shifting mode for up and down and you've also got paddles here on the wheel that echo the same thing -- downshift on the left, upshift on the right. So a lot of ways to mix the gears on this guy which isn't all that useful because it's a diesel for crying out loud. Look at the redline -- 4500. This is not a car you're gonna get a lot of joy out of shifting. Okay, the big story on this A3 is here in the engine bay -- a two-liter turbo diesel direct injection motor. That's a very small displacement for a little side saddle inline four, and yes, the horsepower is scrawny at 140 horse but 236-foot pounds of torque ensure that a good time can be had by all. It results in an 8.9 zero-to-sixty time which doesn't sound very good, but it feels faster because there's torque where you need it. And the real story, of course, is right here the proof is in the pudding. Them numbers is good -- 30 city, 42 highway. No hybrid nonsense required to get there. Clean by the way also. An EPA seven for smog and eight for C02. Good numbers. By the way Audi famous quatro four-wheel drive system not available on an A3 turbo diesel. Just like the manual gearbox isn't available unless you get the gas engine car.
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>> Now, underway I love turbo diesels. I rent them whenever I'm in Europe and always wish I could get one here. So here I've got one. These diesels have great everyday power, but it's not, you know, sports car canyon carving power. It comes on differently. It'll make you grin like an idiot when you're driving around town, believe me. But not necessarily when you're out on those twisty roads on the weekend driving for driving sake. That's still a place where the gas engine really shines more. One thing you won't forget is this is Audi's smallest car. It does feel small in the dimensions and packaging. Never quite get used to that. At least I didn't in the few days of driving. And it's not as smooth and creamy as a lot of other Audis. The 5s and 6s and certainly the 8s are just unbelievably smooth underway. This car transmits a lot more road imperfection to you and that's not great. When you're in the car at least, even with the windows down the presence of diesel noise is pretty minor. These common rail direct-injection motors are not terribly clattery. I like to think these paddles and shifting are here for a reason but they really aren't. This is not a really fun car to rev up and play with the gears on. You got a pretty limited range from about 1800 to 4,000 is where you're going to do all your driving. And the power there is stupendous, but that's not a very big alley to play in. Okay, let's price this guy out. Audi A3 TDI 31 base. Then you're gonna add the premium plus package. You can get Bluetooth hands free, upgraded headlights. A few other niceties, control on the wheel that's $2,000 more. And there's the convenience package that's a $1,000 more which brings you Bose audio, automatic wipers, automatic headlights, heated outside mirrors, and then another 2,000 or so for the navigation system and that comes two ways. One that has the Audi Music Interface for your iPod. The other that has a six CD changer.