I bought my brand new 2014 A-3 on January 2014. Today, April 2019, the car has less than 40, 000 kms.
The car has been maintained by the book. All its scheduled maintenance has been done at the authorized dealer that sold me the car. Yet I have had a multitude of problems: a faulty transmission was changed; a leaking radiator had to be changed, and a whirring noise has been my constant companion for the last year and a half.
I have taken the car almost every other month to the dealer to have this whirring noise, (which I can describe as if a fan belt was slipping). I recorded the noise and shared it with the dealer. The mechanics said it was not clear enough. And despite having the recordings and my complaints nothing was solved. On two occasions the dealer kept the car for close to a month as needed parts had to be especially imported. Every time they said the issue was solved. Yet the noise continued. Since January 2019 the car has spent more time at the dealer than in the streets.
I even sent a recording of the noise. But it was not considered "clear"enough. No follow up with the factory took place. When this last January the engine failure light came on, the technician sent by AUDI to my house to verify if my car was road worthy checked the car and told me there was an issue with some sensors. Regarding the whirring noise he diagnosed an issue with the double clutch. I passed on that information to the dealer. (apparently, the mechanics at the dealer's shop do not follow up with the diagnostics technicians, even though they all work for the same dealer/distributor).
The car was in the dealer's garage for about two weeks. Finally, some parts I cannot describe were changed to eliminate a "clacking" noise. The very day I received the car back from the dealer I took it for a short drive: the whirring noise was still there, and the engine failure light still turned on. Despite all parts changes and work on the car none of the problems had been solved. It seems no effort had been made to check the clutch as the source of the whirring noise as the technician had suggested. So, I find myself one more time without a car, waiting to have the issue repaired, which I assume (and hope) this time will be addressed.
So, the very same day I received the car back from the dealer I was in the same place I had been in January having spent U$400 in repairs: with a whirring noise and lighting sensor showing engine malfunction. That very afternoon yet another technician came to my house to diagnose the car. He diagnosed exactly the same problems as in January: the same sensors failing and, just like the first technician in January, that the whirring noise was a double clutch issue. He even shared with me sound recordings he had from other Audi A3 with exactly the same noise and which the dealer had repaired. The car has been taken to the dealer once again.
Having so many problems from day 1 shows to me, a shoddy manufacturing and poor quality control, both in manufacturing and servicing for a high value brand, that purports to be a "luxury", technically on the leading edge automobile. The inability of the dealer to solve the problem, the fact that it did not follow up and ignored its own technicians' assessment of the problem (an issue with the double clutch) makes me wonder about AUDI's reliability and support for its brand reputation. (throughout all the process there was constant consultation with Audi's factory).
My wife's car, on the other hand, is a 2012 Subaru XV (Crosstrek in the US). The purchase price was roughly 2/3rds of the price of the Audi A3. In all these years we have had only one minor problem: a short circuit in one of the brake lights, solved in a 15 minute visit to the dealer. In short, we get far more reliability and better service from Subaru than Audi.
From my experience and standpoint, Audi's brand value for money is highly overrated. Owning and Audi is not worth the trouble and cost. I will sell the A3 as soon as it is returned to me (at a loss given its history of unreliability and unresolved problem) and I vow not to own, buy, accept as a loaner or rent an Audi ever again, and endeavor to make sure other people do not fall into the Audi trap, sharing my experience of shoddy manufacturing quality and poor service through my social networks.