daytonaer HalfDork
2/10/20 2:51 p.m.

I'm intrigued by the a3 "wagon," they seem to be selling used for less than $10k used and look sharp. the 2L turbo manual transmission specifically is peaking my interest.



I am having trouble sorting through all the vw vortex and or euro info on these cars, I'm looking at US market. There is an incredibly high noise to signal ratio on the internet when looking for VW/audi turbo, oil coking, plastic breaking, carbon buildup, check engine light machines.


I'm assuming the A3 "5 door" is a vw golf gti which was dressed up by audi? 2006 to 2011(12?) seem priced too good to be true.


wikipedia mentions the second gen A3 (first to come to the US) had different engines based on the generations, this is what I gathered, can someone correct me if I am wrong or steer me to a good source:


2004-2008 had a 2.0 direct injected turbo. Wiki lists engine codes as :AXX / BPY / BWA / CAWB. It looks like the AXX and the BWA are europe market engines, and the BPY and CAWB are US spec engines? if that is correct I would assume the BPY is the federal emissions engine and the CAWB is the CA emissions? Is this the same engine used in the GTI, of similar or different years? It appears these have direct injection related issues and deferred maintanence issues. 


2009-2013 had a 2.0 turbo direct injected engine listed as a "CCZA" I can't seem to find any information on this engine. 


These are 2L direct injected turbo engines and my VW friend told me to get one that has been "well maintained," at the current prices these are selling for I can't imagine any babied examples are cropping up.


Does anyone know what engine generation to avoid? Does anyone have a VIN to engine chart (8th digit in vin is what vw engine?) can the audi's be modified with aftermarket vw parts? Know of buyers guide out there (short of pulling valve covers at a buy here pay here lot...)


More importantly, can these be reliable powerful engines if their quirks are sorted? I see plenty of GTI fans modding for more power, any reason the audi version can't be too? I understand these should be fed synthetic oil with regular changes and premium fuel and plenty of consumers don't believe in that, I also understand that people generally take to the internet to complain about cars but rarely blog about how their properly maintained car continues to work as designed, I want to get an A3 turbo stickshift wagon but I feel I should heed the obvious warning signs. 





chrispy HalfDork
2/10/20 4:10 p.m.

I had a 2006 A3 for about 2 years, until the addition of a family member caused us to get a bigger car.   It was a 5 door GTi that later came with AWD, since VW didn't produce a 5 door then, and the initial US release of the A3 didn't have Quattro.  Quattro was later paired with the 3.2 VR6.  Ours was a Sport FWD and was a blast to drive - it was my first turbo and 6 speed.  Audi messed with the trim lines, so Sport became S Line.  The true sport had a bit lower and stiffer suspension, leather sport seats (very comfy), fog lamps, and alloy wheels, and maybe something with the steering wheel - this is all off the top of my head.  Ours also had the big sunroof.  The S Line became an appearance package only.  I autocrossed it in GS and did well locally, I did not have the skill to match the potential of the car.  My recollection is that the early 2.0 FSI engine had some reliability issues and VAG made a number of improvements over the years.  That said, I'd assume any early model still going has had those issues addressed.  This was also one of the first direct injected gasoline engines, so the carbon buildup issue is real.  This issue is prevalent among all VW/Audi products of the era.  I really hated trading it for an Accord, but we didn't lose any money on the deal, trade in value was the same as our purchase price.  I'd do it again, or look for a GTi.

Knurled. MegaDork
2/10/20 5:26 p.m.

The fine pitch timing chains do not tolerate long oil service intervals.


Apparently the bearings that the balance shafts ride in can wear out, and they are serviced as an engine block.  You cannot delete the balance shafts because they are jackshafts in the timing set, and also the water pump is driven off of the back of one of them.

docwyte UberDork
2/10/20 6:43 p.m.

They also have cam follower issues.  Let us cheap and easy to switch out.

I'll say it again, you're buying the owner, not the car.  Absolutely buy one with a documented service history that's been well cared for.

if one like that isn't in your budget then none of these are in your budget as a neglected example will bury you financially in short order

Dashpot Reader
2/11/20 6:43 a.m.

I had a 2011 from new to ~110K, it was a nice car. Ordered it with a 6 speed, sport package & no sun roof.  I thought it drove much better than a GTI, felt like more travel in the suspension but still had good body control. Very solid, never had a squeak or rattle, did have a few service issues but nothing major 'til a turbo near the end. From memory:

80K -  Ignition coils & intake manifold (motorized flappy thing quit, covered under warranty).

88K - Intake valve cleaning

106K - Turbo

110K - BOV

I did 5K oil changes & took good care of it. It used less oil at 100K than it did new. Put it on CL for a couple of weeks (one owner, all maintenance records, blah blah) with no action beyond lowball flippers. Ended up trading it in on a Bim wagon but certainly had no regrets.

AnthonyGS Dork
2/11/20 6:49 p.m.

I've owned several VWs, a 2.7 twin turbo S4 (wish I had wagon "avant" version of one), an S4 with 3.0 supercharged, an A6, and an A4 with the 2.0T.  I've owned zero BMWs.  Honestly, I just feel like Audi makes for a better daily driver.  They are maintenance required cars.  Do not blow off maintenance, or you will pay more.

I drive trucks again because of towing and going offroad.  In slick weather a quattro equipped audi beats all.  



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