Re: I'm amazed!
I can, having owned my 156 2.0TS for 18 months understand the attraction of the difficult and costly to maintain, expensive to buy and incredible loss of residual value alfa's, balanced against the style, fantastic handling and individuallity that makes them such a thing of beauty to own.
What I'm flabergasted about is that you are even considering the A3.
Don't get me wrong, I think all audi/VW group cars are superb when you are looking for strength, build quality, practicality and value for money as well as fantastic performance and economy combined.
I do really think they are great cars.
But out of all the cars they produce, the A3 is the only one that doesn't particularly look that great (even with the recent facelift), 3 doors add to it's impracticality, performance is not a patch on other models in the range, there isn't any individuality in owning an A3, all in all there just doesn't seem to be anything in common between your apparent love for all that you get when you own an alfa and your the car you seem to be considering as a replacement?
If, and I am not considering it at present, was considering moving away from Alfa, and looking for something more inherently reliable with a better general build quality, combined with great performance, superb handling and fantastic economy, I would certainly be looking at the Audi/VW range, but would buy without question a Skoda Fabia VRS, they are cheap to buy (£11,500) go like rockets, are only available with the 1.9TDI 130bhp PD engine (a real cracker) which can be chipped up to 190bhp without any other mods, if you are that way inclined, have 5 doors and are certainly more in line with the individuality of the Alfas, coming from a small motorsport and rally bred company/marque and will out perform any similar spec VW's and Audi's.
But there you go, I will probably be constued as barking for even suggesting this! Have to go now, it's time for my medication.