Sunday, April 26, 2015

My Audi A3 Technology Diesel - Myra (Part 3 - The Car & Driving Experience)

40 Days, 2200 KM - Experiences Driving my Audi A3 Technology Diesel
In the last 40 days, I have driven Myra in Pune's searing heat and heavy city traffic, let her loose on the Pune Mumbai Expressway and pushed her to the limits in heavy rain and mud on a Pune - Goa - Pune trip. And apart from having to put in hours of my time washing her up after her adventures, Myra definitely gets a big thumbs up from me, and more importantly, from my very discerning daughter!

A Big Thumbs Up - All The Awesome Things!

Haven't regretted buying her, even for a minute!

1. She absolutely glides in traffic, cabin noise is non-existent. More often than not, I tend to switch off the music, open the sun roof and roll down the windows, just to be able to hear the purr of the engine. Absolutely a delight! My daughter gave a big vote of confidence in the comfort of the back seat after an almost non-stop dash from Pune to Goa. On the way back, my wife took it one notch higher, curling up and going to sleep almost through the entire journey.

2. The kick when you press on the pedal is such a high, setting off at traffic signals with tires squealing is so hard to resist! My daughter keeps complaining that she can't sit up close to us, because every time I hit the throttle, she gets pushed back into the rear seat.

3. She glides effortlessly over rough patches if you keep your speed, and that's the best way to handle bad stretches - don't slow down. I found the ride quality so much better than what I have experienced in the Beemers with their RFTs. Of course, my Endy would win hands down on the uneven and rough detours that pop up every now and then on NH4 with all the construction work in progress, which is one reason I took the longer Belgaum-Chorla route into Goa, rather than my usual one through Azara and Amboli.

4. She absolutely hugs the road on tight corners, and with the stabilization program active, I find it hard to drift - although she does allow you to switch off the stabilization. My Ikon used to give me a similar feedback on curves, and I missed that in the Fiesta and of course, in the Endy. The Audi absolutely loves it when you throw her at curves, and is rock solid. Body roll is also almost non-existent.

5. And yes, we hit the expressway a couple of times. Respecting the rules of this forum, I will not talk about high speeds here, but let's say, hypothetically, if I wanted, she would come within sniffing distance of the 215 the brochure mentions, without much of a bother.

6. So far, with full AC and all the tire squealing, she's delivering between 12-15 kmpl. On long drives, put it on cruise control, and the mileage shoots up.

7. Oh, and yes - very important - I have not yet hit the underbody on any speed breaker yet, which is a big relief as far as ground clearance is concerned. This involves every giant speed bump on the NH4 detours, and some monstrous ones in Goa, where I have seen the Hondas grind hard every single time. I have maneuvered through them with a full load of 5 adults and a child, and it's been effortless.

8. Braking is also fantastic, and a big confidence booster. On the way back from Goa, we were doing a pretty good clip when the car in front slammed on the brakes to avoid a speed bump, and for just a split second, I imagined slamming my car into the one in front. The surface was pretty gravelly, but the car responded beautifully; no harm done!

9. A special note on air conditioning. Even in Pune's scorching 39 degrees today afternoon, with the sun roof shades off, the cabin easily stays at a very cool 20 degrees effortlessly. Unlike my Endy, which really needs a long time to cool down, especially if it's left in the sun for a few mins.

The Negatives - Although I Am Really Picking Bones Here!

Cabin Space: Yes, she is tinier than her cousins, and 5 is a close fit, especially on long journeys. The rear AC vents and charging station encroaches on leg room for the 5th occupants. Headroom at the back is problematic for tall persons, although leg space is more than enough. Frankly, I love her compact sports car-like built. And for large family occasions, of course, my Endy steps in well!

Random Squeaks: After the first week or so, the front passenger seat started giving out some squeaky noises, which went away after I adjusted the seat position a little bit. On rough surfaces, sometimes, the "fins" inside the AC vents tend to resonate.

Blind Spot: The car has a definite blind spot at the driver's 5 o clock, especially if you adjust your rear view mirror to capture the side of the vehicle, as I do, worried as I am always about bikes standing too close to Myra at traffic signals. Surprised me a couple of times, and now I am just a tad more careful when turning right.

Useless Spare: The Continental spare tire is pretty useless, half the width of the Pirelli OEMs and god forbid, you blow one of your main tires on a long drive, it will be pretty difficult to get back to town on the spare. Wonder how it will even feel to steer with that combination! Check the after-sales experience later on in the article for more on this.

The Small Things That Matter

1. Absolutely awesome integration with the phone over Bluetooth, including reading SMSes. Very easy to dial using the call list. Crystal clear reception, and voice pickup is great!
2. Very nice navigation system - better than the MapMyIndia system in my Endy. Anyone knows which one this is? Tom Tom? Garmin?
3. Beautiful ambient lighting with some really special touches - foot well lighting, auto vanity mirror lights etc
4. The red body looks especially good in combination with the black sun roof, the black paneling around the sun roof and the grills (not so in the White variants, for example)
5. Electronically adjustable seats including support for the back
6. Auto fold mirrors on locking - so convenient!
7. Auto electronic parking brake in start stop traffic - absolutely delightful!
8. Voice commands activated from steering wheel, navigation control on steering, and a special driver-set button (I use it to switch to next song in the list, or the next radio station!)
9. A nifty handwriting recognition pad which really picks up my left handed scribbles very well! More over, it's the feature that gets the biggest wow when I show the car off to friends and family - especially since they never get to drive it anyway!

One thing missing from the international version, sadly, is the 3G/4G SIM card in the card with Wifi zone. But I guess I can live with that.

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