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28 October 2005

The Announcement

Of course, being a member of the vwvortex.com A3 forum, I had to make the 'official' announcement of getting my A3:

....I couldn't come up with anything that really 'grabbed' me. Nothing made me go "OMG, I've got to have one!". A hatchback is one of my biggest criteria, and that's a really limited market in the US. The .:R32 was tempting, until I sat in one.
On 01 July 2004, my girlfriend's Integra (I was the passenger) was hit and totaled. She was seriously injured, I escaped with only bruises. When we went shopping for a new car for her, she fell in love with, and subsequently got, a Mazda RX-8. I fell in love with the 8 also, and have been a pretty active member on rx8club.com for a while. It has its quirks, but we love it for what it is. I was ready to get one, but the fuel economy and the tiny trunk opening/no hatch kept me from jumping on it right away.

Then, one day early this year, I saw a truckload of A3s on my evening commute. I didn't know that they were already in the country, and it piqued my interest. I drove a base model, which was a major turn-off. Nothing about it felt right, especially the handling. I lost interest.

The Mk V GTI was the only other thing on the horizon that triggered the 'want!' response with me. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one... but that was just it: I couldn't *wait*. My GTI was racking up miles and losing value daily, and I wanted to replace it *soon*, before something (else) expensive happened.

I drove an A3 again, a Premium this time. Much better experience, but I was still nauseated by the 4 doors and the single-frame grill. Lumbar support on the driver's seat was good, but I didn't like the power seat and they were way too 'flat' as far as the side bolsters went. The handling was still bad - aftermarket sport springs would have been a necessity.

At H2Oi I drove the Mk V GTIs that they had on demo. Unlike the dealer test drives, I got to really exercise the engine and drive it hard on twisty roads. That told me that I'd be happy with the car, but it also told me that I'd probably be happy with the 2.0T FSI in the A3 as well. I got to see & sit in RallyJGD's A3. My initial impression was that I'd hate the sport seats for lack of lumbar support. I also got to see RyanA3's car, and finally decided that the 4-door thing wasn't so bad....

I drove an A3 again, a Sport this time. The ride and handling convinced me. I got over the lumbar support thing, and told myself that from the driver's seat, you can't see the grill and the 4 doors anyway.

The local dealer didn't make me happy. I posted about it here, and one of the responses to my post was from Barry Bryant at Inskip Audi, in Warwick, RI. I can't say enough good things about him, Pam Stolle in their Finance department, and the whole experience in general. It was a completely painless, absolutely no-bullshiat transaction.....
Now, on to making the A3 my A3. There's a lot of little tweaking to be done to make it exactly what I want it to be.

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