They're standard on all Q3 S-Tronic variants in the UK. As far as using them is concerned, Mrs G's A3 has them and frankly neither of us ever use them - the 'box does a far better job than a human can anyway.
They're fun if you want to play at being a Formula 1 driver but I left that behind long ago, along with my Scalextric.
I have them, I've used them a few times more out of interest than anything else. I agree with Gromit, bit of fun but it's not a sports car and the auto box does a much better job for me. It's my first car with paddles, nice to have the choice was my initial thinking but in reality not used.
I also agree they are never used "in anger!". Only time I have used them is when I do my Michael Schumacher impersonation, and also sometimes on a windy country road near us, but that's more for fun than necessity
Well they come on an Audi for free so I wouldn't knock them.
They are nice to mess about with now and again, I find the S Tronic a bit slow to change down in D when I put my foot down so it's nice to flick the paddle and drop a gear when overtaking
I think the general low usage of paddles reflect the fact that with an automatic transmission, no-one really tends to use the manual override much anyway. I suspect manufacturers include paddles (whether standard or optional) as a bit of fun and to mimic current trends in motor racing, and nothing more
The paddles are good for changing down when going down steep hills when the DSG does not react fast enough. They are also useful when overtaking as you can drop a gear to get a better response. After about 15 seconds it changes back into auto mode automatically if you do not use them.
Used very rarely when engine revs seem too low and I would change down in a manual but the s-tronic hasn't. Also used on a hilly road in the lake district when the auto box kept changing from 2 to 3 only to conclude power was too low and changed back to 2, repeating this party piece until I used the paddles to stay in 2. The s-tronic programme will over ride if revs get too high or too low in a chosen gear so you can't do any damage.
Paddles turn the auto box into the equivalent of a manual without the need to operate a gear stick and clutch. In my experience, this auto manual function is unnecessary 99.9% of the time. The S Tronic box works as well as most people would want, especially as it has the sport mode if you don't want the gear box to change up at the earliest possible moment, for example when the inside lane of a motorway you are joining is occupied by many 40 tonne lorries going at 60mph and you need to get up to that speed asap to merge. Sport mode appears to hold a gear until red line revs under hard acceleration, however, which may (or may not) deliver marginally weaker performance than paddle shifting at revs where torque is maximum, at least in a diesel. Personally I think a reduction in the cost of the car would be more welcome than any real or imagined benefit of paddles, for whichTop Gear presenters must take a good slice of responsibility.