All-new for 2015, the Audi A3 sedan makes its first appearance in this body style here in the U.S. This premium compact sedan should be a big hit here in North America with sports enthusiasts. The A4 sedan was once Audi’s compact offering, but the 2015 A3 sedan takes over as the smallest four-door in the Audi lineup. This week we’re testing the top-of-the-line A3 with Quattro all-wheel drive powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine ($32,900).
What’s new for 2015?
The Audi A3 is all-new for 2015. It’s a premium-level compact that features a high-quality interior with leather upholstery as standard equipment. This is first in the A3 lineup and we’ll also see three-and five-door hatchbacks and a convertible coming after the new sedan. The closest competitor to the 2015 Audi A3 sedan is the popular Mercedes-Benz CLA250, which also rides on a front-wheel-drive platform with available all-wheel-drive. And they are similar in price.
The cabin of the new A3 sports many standard features not always found on base models, including leather seats, automatic climate control, power driver’s seat, power sunroof and automatic wipers. There is a high-quality feel inside the new sedan with lots of soft-touch materials and Audi’s attention to detail. This tester came with a panoramic power sunroof, 3-spoke leather steering wheel and duel-zone climate control.
This 2015 Audi A3 tester also came with the Cold Weather Package ($500) that includes heated front seats and exterior mirror and heated windshield washer nozzles. It came with the Aluminum Package ($450) that comes with aluminum mistral inlays and aluminum throughout the cabin including the window surrounds and MMI Navigation plus ($1,900). The cabin of the A3 is cozy and comfortable. It has a clean simple layout that fits this premium-level compact well.
The four-door sedan is a compact vehicle and more comfortable in the front than the back. Rear legroom is adequate for average-sized adults on short commutes. Cargo space is average for the class with all seats in place, and 60/40 split-folding rear seats, including a center pass-through slot, help to make the A3 more versatile for those with active lifestyles. Here in Denver, this Quattro would make a good all-weather vehicle for trips to the ski slopes and bike trails.
Driving the A3
This 2015 Audi A3 sedan was powered by the bigger 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine. It produces a healthy 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to get you moving quickly. Audi 2.0-liter turbo is built for altitude and has plenty of power when you need it. We took the new sedan up I-70 into the mountains west of Denver and it runs like a deer. We were able to pull the steep Georgetown Hill without any issue and had power to spare. The smaller A3 is ideal for those who will use it for recreation and getting to the playgrounds on the weekends.
The A3 handles like you would expect a model from Audi. Plenty of power and thrust is on tap driving the top-of-the-line A3 2.0T Quattro, with the most satisfaction coming in the higher revs. All four wheels stay firmly planted in the tight mountain corners near Evergreen. Ride and handling is firm and keeps the driver connected to the road. We pushed it hard around the corners and the A3 responded with little body roll.
A good city commuter
The 6-speed S tronic automatic transmission worked well, but like other new models, it’s tuned for fuel efficiency over sport. EPA fuel estimates are 24/33 city/highway 27/combined and calls for premium unleaded fuel. You can put the S tronic in manual mode and shift manually but no paddle shifters are on the A3. The premium compact is a good choice for city commuting and we were able to scoot in and out of traffic easily during the week.
Noise, vibration and handling was fine on smooth roads at lower speeds, but as with many smaller compacts, to keep weight down, automakers use less noise reducing materials and we could hear a fair amount of wind and road noise at higher speeds. It was hard to keep speeds down with the sporty A3 and the turbo just begs to be used to its full potential. When you need the power, the 2.0-liter four cylinder has plenty of power, especially as the revs increase.
The 2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro sedan is an attractive small offering with adequate space for those with active lifestyles and offers sporty road manners. For those seeking a luxury car at an entry-level price the A3 is an attractive choice. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with all-wheel drive is a good choice for those who will use it on the weekends for recreation getting to the ski slopes and hiking trails. It’s also a good daily commuter in high traffic urban areas.