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Discussion Starter #1
The choices are Audi A3 no nav, single CD, leather, Halogens lights, 200 hp turbo with DSG tranny w/paddle shift (sweet and seamless) 5 door, leather interior, S line package, 17" wheels. Beautiful design.

or

Mazdaspeed 3, interior leather/alcantara seats, NAVIGATION, autodim rear view mirror with compass and homelink, 6 cd changer, plays mp3 files and aux input, Bi-Xenon lights, rain sensor windshield wipers, led rear lights, 263 hp, 18" wheels. This all is approximately $8,000 less than the Audi A3.

What do you guys think? I'm almost 50/50 comfort vs. performance, but slightly. :shrug:

Photo Compare - MSN Autos
 

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Is the Madza a 6 speed or automatic? I think the DSG vs. manual would be the deciding factor unless your big on the navigation.

I've heard for $900 you can chip the A3 to get about 250hp. I don't really if the Madzaspeed is also a turbo but if it is, I suppose that evens it out.
 

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My last 3 cars were all Audi's so I am pretty partial to the brand however when it was time to get the wifey a new car it came down to the GTI, A3, and Mazdaspeed3. We took an unbiased look at all 3 cars and we ended up with the MS3, it was just way more fun to drive. The first turbo upgrade for the A3 would be to go from the K03 to a K04, well the MS3 comes stock with a K04 turbo. It also comes standard with an LSD. If you have any questions regarding the MS3 feel free to ask.
 

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I would go with the MS3. It really is a great car and platform. I don't think you will give up anything but brand name and high repair costs.
 

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well I've owned audis and now sell Mazdas. I think the MS3 is absolutely an amazing buy. my last Audi (S4 cab) was an electrical nightmare. Actually, all my audis were. The MS3, just like all the Mazda 3, have great resale values (much better than the A3). The Speed 3 is the best small car I've driven since the Mini Cooper S.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys for the info/opinions.

I did drive both and the MS3 is just a rocket, but just as the all people that own them, the clutch takes a little getting used to, may be because it was my first drive, but it is super quick at 3150 lbs. and 280 ft/tq, it moves.

The Audi's DSG is such a sweet comfi ride and peppy as well. $ for $ value, certainly the MS3 is the way to go.

We are having our first kid and I need something with more room, which also makes me think that auto is maybe more convenient.

This is killing me.
 

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I drive an MS3 and can tell you that it is one of the most fun cars you can get below 30k.

There is a simple modification that can be made that DRASTICALLY eases the engagement of the clutch and removes the herky-jerky nature of the stock car...
 

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We love the speed 3 and with the price break it's even better, however, when we looked at that vs a few other cars for the wife (yep, her car) we found the insurance on the Speed 3 was going to cost as much as our Lotus, '93 Miata, '99 Jeep Wrangler, and her '93 camry (she was replacing it with the new car) COMBINED! It was ludicrous!!! This is when they first came out. not sure if it was any better. The super stiff clutch pedal was the second deterrent. Her ideal version would be the Speed 3 suspension with the non-turbo drivetrain in the hatch. They don't make that unfortunately.


She ended up with the Civic Si sedan which is fun, but has the worlds worst fly-by-wire throttle (happy hanging anyone? Let off the gas and it will stay for as much as 1.2 seconds before it starts to taper down..This is NORMAL!!??! And no, it didn't do that during the short pre-purchase test drive). Even with the Si, she still longs for that Speed 3...

Lastly, have you noticed the rediculously high resale value of the Mazda 3 hatchbacks? Not sure on the sedans but 2-3 year old hatches are going for just a few thousand less than new even with 40k miles on them! The only other car in that range that I know of with that sort of resale is the Mini Cooper. I am not certain, but I don't recall Audi having that strong a resale though I do recall horror stories about their warranty claims...
 

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We love the speed 3 and with the price break it's even better, however, when we looked at that vs a few other cars for the wife (yep, her car) we found the insurance on the Speed 3 was going to cost as much as our Lotus, '93 Miata, '99 Jeep Wrangler, and her '93 camry (she was replacing it with the new car) COMBINED! It was ludicrous!!!
You just noted the biggest downside to the MS3 (other than being wrong-wheel-drive) - insurance costs. Unfortunately, the MS3 ranks up there with the STi, Evo, and SRT4 for ridiculous insurance premiums.

As everybody else has noted, you can't be the performance for price point factor though.
 

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MS3 hands down. The comfort level is not much below the Audi but it's a much more fun car to drive.
 

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You say "200bhp" for the Audi so I assume you're focusing on the 2.0L Turbo. Have you driven it? I found the car hard to drive. It's not so much the turbo lag as much as the non-progressive way the turbo spools up. To stay out of the boost, you pretty much have to crawl off the line (like a Prius driver focusing on the last 1/10th of the maximum MPG). If you just barely exceed that crawl, you get tons of boost, lots of torque, and you light up the fronts in a very obnoxious exhibition. I only drove it once and that was at 5,000 ft above sea level so maybe it's easier to drive off-boost at lower altitudes. Anyway, I elected for the 3.2 version. The engine was very smooth, very tractable, and capable.

My nits about the car were:
1) the VW quality chassis. The noise and vibrations showed that this car leaned toward gussied up VW rather than entry level A4.
2) the dealer said you could switch off the autolocks but later discovered that you/they cannot. This is irritating if you like to put stuff in the back seat or trunk and have to re-unlock that compartment upon arriving. Unlike a lot of cars that just unlock everything when you put it in park, the A3 does not. All doors open from the inside whether they are locked or not. So it's a PITA to arrive, get out, close your door, and then remember that your backdoor and trunk have been locked by some safety idiot.
3) The open sky system is sorta nice but it's too noisy. On the highway, the A3 with the sunroof open is louder (wind noise) than an Elise with the top removed.
4) That stupid horrible key. Big and bulky in your pocket. Extra labor required to open and close. And positioned directly into the inside of my knee when driving.

Positives: The 3.2L version is very easy to drive. Smooth progressive throttle and brake pedal. Nice steering feel. Easy to toss around in the dry and snow.
 

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If I were considering them both I'd have a hard time not throwing the GTI w/DSG into the mix. My wife has a DSG GTI and recently drove the Mazdaspeed 3 and it didn't tempt her. I liked it too, but for the usage I don't know if I'd choose it over the GTI either.
 

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I like Audis a lot, but I'd go with the Mazda if your first priority is a kick-ass ride, Audi if you're willing to tone done the ride for greater comfort and styling.
 

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MS3 gets my vote.

Only time I would get an Audi is for the Quattro and A3 comes FWD standard IIRC.

Doesn't the A3 share the same platform as VW's Golf/GTI/Rabbit? So, why not a VW GTI instead? Then you're down to VW GTI vs MS3.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Didn't even think about VW, but yeah, A3 and GTI share the same platform. I'm only considering the A3 for its looks and the DSG. The extended warranty on the A3 is 100,000 power plant and 7 years, but I would have to bring it to the dealer even for just an oil change since it's got the "service" warning on the read out cluster. I like doing my own oil changes and save a few bucks.

The insurance is $85 more on the MS3 than the A3 ($170) a year, which is strange with the MS3 being a cheaper car. I think this car doesn't have a good track record with ins. companies. Too many people racing them and wrecking probably?

The Quattro is just too much $. It would jump from an $8K difference on the A3 to probably $15K vs. MS3.

I also think the GTI doesn't have as much room, which I would like to have for more practical purposes.

They are quoting me $1100 p/y on the MS3 and $920 on the A3 with 250K/500K coverage. But that's also because I have four other cars and property under the same policy.

Thanks again for the input / opinions.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My last 3 cars were all Audi's so I am pretty partial to the brand however when it was time to get the wifey a new car it came down to the GTI, A3, and Mazdaspeed3. We took an unbiased look at all 3 cars and we ended up with the MS3, it was just way more fun to drive. The first turbo upgrade for the A3 would be to go from the K03 to a K04, well the MS3 comes stock with a K04 turbo. It also comes standard with an LSD. If you have any questions regarding the MS3 feel free to ask.

Are you pretty adjusted to the clutch and how's the gear shifting, notchy? Livable?
How about fuel consumption under normal driving?
Any maintanance or mechanical issues?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I drive an MS3 and can tell you that it is one of the most fun cars you can get below 30k.

There is a simple modification that can be made that DRASTICALLY eases the engagement of the clutch and removes the herky-jerky nature of the stock car...
If I end up getting the MS3, I'd be very curious to see what that mod is all about. :up:
 
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