2015 Audi A3 Test Drive

2015 Audi A3 sideBy Barbara & Bill Schaffer

There?s nothing particularly flashy about the 2015 Audi A3 sedan. The styling looks like a slightly scaled-down version of the Audi A4 ? a clean tailored looking four-door sedan. But nearly everything about the smallest Audi from the design through the elegant quattro drivetrain works well together and the result is an outstanding car.

The Sedan is one of the latest of the A3 family which will include seven variations by next year including a Cabriolet, Sportback, S3 performance model, diesel, Q3 crossover and even an electric version.

2015 Audi A3 front qUnlike the previous A3, which had four- and six-cylinder engine choices, the 2015?Audi A3?Sedan has two four-cylinder engine options. The two model designations are represented by the engine sizes ? 1.8T and the 2.0T. As you might guess from the ?T? designation, both engines are turbocharged. The 1.8T is a new 1.8-liter engine which produces 170-hp and drives the front wheels. The 2.0T is the latest variation of the hard-working turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that has been used extensively in the Audi lineup for years. The new version is 220 horsepower and like previous versions we?ve driven, they seem to be thoroughbreds.

2015 Audi A3 center consoleThe 2.0T is equipped with Audi?s legendary quattro all-wheel drive. Both engines use a six-speed S tronic? automatic transmission and the 2.0T also has steering wheel mounted shift paddles.

The smaller engine accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and the 2.0T in 5.8 seconds and both have a top speed limited to 130 mph. Interestingly, the fuel economy rates for the two engines is nearly identical. The 1.8T is rated at 23 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined, and the 2.0T with quattro is actually one mile per gallon higher in the city at 24 mpg. Our 2.0T test vehicle averaged 26.8 mpg during its week-long visit.

2015 Audi A3 dashThe A3 sedan suspension is a bit on the soft side, but it produces a very comfortable ride and we think is appropriate for this model. Someone wanting to push handling limits should probably think about stepping up to the performance-oriented S3. This car feels very controlled, well balanced both on the freeway and on the tight corners of the mountain roads we use as our test area. The electromechanical steering goes where it?s pointed and we especially liked the tight 36.1 feet turning radius ? a rarity on all-wheel drive cars.

With the smaller size comes a little less interior room, but for people like us, who seldom have passengers, that?s a plus. However luggage space was a little tight at only 10 cubic feet.

2015 Audi A3 rear seatBoth models are offered in three trim packages (Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige) allowing shoppers to select a level of equipment fitting their needs and budget.

All three trim levels include features like leather seating, panoramic sunroof, bi-Xenon headlights, HD and satellite radio, Bluetooth?, Rain/light sensor for wipers and headlights. The top level Prestige model adds features like LED headlights and taillights, S-Line? trim, heated seats, Bang & Olufsen? audio and the MMI navigation system. The navigation system uses a screen as thin as a smart-phone; it rises out of the center of the dash. It?s a perfect position and allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road while just glancing sideways to see the screen. Controls are quite user-friendly, too.

2015 Audi A3 side 2Each trim level has a handful of options available, but the Prestige has the most interesting packages. We especially like the Advanced Technology Package ($1,400) which adds Audi Pre sense? front (a crash avoidance system) Audi Active Lane Assist and Adaptive Cruise control. One other interesting feature in the option packages is the Audi Drive Select system which allows the driver to adjust throttle response, shift points, and the electromechanical steering effort by selecting one of four settings: Auto, Dynamic, Comfort and Individual.

2015 Audi A3 front 2Hoping to have a stronger appeal for younger technological savvy shoppers, Audi has equipped the A3 with what it expected to be the first-ever in-vehicle 4G LTE data link. This will give the system faster connections and the ability to show state-of-the-art graphics for applications like Google Earth Maps?. They expect online connections to be as fast as a home computer. The system will work in connection with AT&T cell service and will allow for a wider range of services and entertainment than any other manufacture currently offers.

The 2015?Audi A3?prices start at $30,795 for the 1.8T Premium trim level, and the 2.0T model is $3,000 more on all trim levels. The Premium Plus trim adds an additional $2,900 and the Prestige trim is $8,800 more than the Premium. With all the available options, the 2.0T Prestige will have a bottom line price of $44,550.
Audi has a reputation of being an outstanding luxury car and the A3 qualifies as their value model at a nice size, reasonable price and it?s still very much an Audi.2015 Audi A3 rear

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