What's New for 2015:
- Redesigned entry-level Audi model
- A3 1.8 TFSI with front-wheel drive
- A3 2.0 TFSI with Quattro all-wheel drive
- Standard 6-speed S-tronic transmission
- Offered only as a 4-door sedan
The 2015 Audi A3 is a compact, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan carrying a base price of just under $30,000 before adding the $895 destination charge. Direct competitors include the similarly sized and priced Acura ILX and Mercedes-Benz CLA250.
Models and Features
Audi offers the 2015 A3 Sedan with a choice between a 1.8-liter engine and front-wheel drive, and a 2.0-liter engine and Quattro all-wheel drive. Once buyers settle on a powertrain, Audi offers each model in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trim levels.
Before you assume that the Premium trim level is basic, know that it includes leather upholstery, a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth with streaming audio capability, and an SD card slot. A panoramic sunroof is also standard equipment, along with Xenon Plus headlights, LED running lights, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers, and 17-in. aluminum wheels.
Select the Premium Plus version to enhance the A3 Sedan with dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, Audi Advanced Key passive entry with push-button starting, aluminum interior trim, and larger 18-in. aluminum wheels. The Prestige trim level further upgrades the equipment list with an S-line exterior appearance treatment, LED headlights, navigation system, Multi-Media Interface (MMI) with handwriting-recognition technology, Audi Connect services, and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system.
Options and Packages
Metallic paint, summer performance tires, a black cloth headliner, and rear-seat side-impact air bags are optional for all 2015 Audi A3 models. Additionally, extra-cost equipment for the A3 Premium version includes an MMI Navigation package with handwriting-recognition technology, an Aluminum Style package, Cold Weather package (heated front seats, heated side mirrors, heated windshield washer jets), iPod connection, and 18-in. aluminum wheels.
The A3 Premium Plus can be upgraded with an MMI Navigation Plus package containing Audi Connect services, a Convenience package (ambient LED cabin lighting, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors, interior storage solutions); Sport package (front sport seats, sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, Audi Drive Select technology); and a Driver Assistance package (Audi Side Assist, Audi Parking System with reversing camera, front and rear park-assist sensors). Additionally, this trim level can be optioned with Audi Active Lane Assist and a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system.
As the most expensive version of the new 2015 Audi A3, the Prestige trim level is well equipped in standard format. Options include a Sport package as well as an Advanced Technology package containing Audi Active Lane Assist, Audi Pre-Sense Front safety system, and adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go capability.
Under the Hood
A turbocharged, 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard for the A3 1.8 TFSI. It generates 170 horsepower between 4,500 rpm and 6,000 rpm, and 200 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,600 rpm and 4,000 rpm. A 6-speed S-tronic automated manual gearbox delivers power to the A3's front wheels, and Audi claims this car accelerates to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds.
The A3 2.0 TFSI is equipped with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 220 horsepower between 4,500 rpm and 6,200 rpm, and 258 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,600 rpm and 4,400 rpm. This version also features a 6-speed S-tronic automated manual transmission, in this application driving all four of the A3's wheels through a Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Audi says this version of the A3 accelerates to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.
According to the EPA, the Audi A3 1.8 TFSI gets 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway while burning premium gas. Remarkably, the more powerful A3 2.0 TFSI with Quattro is expected to get 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. It, too, requires premium fuel.
Safety Ratings and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had not performed crash tests on the new Audi A3 as this overview was written. In testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the redesigned A3 received a \"Top Safety Pick+\" rating thanks to an \"Advanced\" front crash-prevention score.
Standard equipment includes Audi Pre-Sense, which can detect when a driver is taking emergency evasive action and can ready the vehicle for a possible collision. Optional safety features are available for the A3 Premium Plus, and include a reversing camera, front and rear park-assist sensors, Audi Side Assist, and Audi Active Lane Assist. That latter feature is also an option for the A3 Prestige, which is exclusively available with Audi Pre-Sense Front technology, an automatic braking system designed to help prevent the A3 from striking a vehicle or object ahead.
Audi Connect services are also offered for the new A3. In addition to Google Earth imagery, travel information, weather reports, and local fuel prices, this feature turns the A3 into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices.