The 2015 Audi A3 sheds its hatchback history for a new set of clothes. Now a handsome compact sedan, the A3 raises the bar on what that segment has to offer.
The new A3 boasts the athletic proportions of its sister sedans in the Audi lineup, and is unmistakably Audi, including the automaker's "Singleframe" grille. The A3 also benefits from Audi ultra, a lightweight construction philosophy that reduces weight in order to increase performance. In the A3, this is evident in the aluminum frame construction.
The A3 is available in three distinct trims: Premium, Premium plus and Prestige. Within each trim, front-wheel-drive models are powered by a direct-injected and turbocharged 1.8L four. The engine delivers 170 horsepower and 200 ft-lb of torque and comes mated to a 6-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. The result is a sprint to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. A3s equipped with Audi's intelligent quattro all-wheel drive utilize the same transmission, this time paired with a 220-horsepower, direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0L four. The larger engine will get the A3 to 60 mph in a scant 5.8 seconds.
Standard features abound in the new A3. Premium A3s come equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, power adjustable side mirrors with integrated LED indicators and a panoramic sunroof. Inside, there's leather upholstery with a 12-way power driver's seat and 4-way power lumbar adjustment. The rear seat, meanwhile, features 60/40 split-fold seatbacks. The multifunction sport steering wheel manually tilts and telescopes and the power windows are one-touch up/down. A 10-speaker Audi concert radio system with CD and MP3 playback is standard, as is an SD card slot, cruise control and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and streaming audio.
Rhe A3 Premium plus gets 18-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels, keyless entry, start and stop, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and aluminum interior appointments. Finally, the Prestige trim adds full LED headlights, sporty S line exterior appearance elements, a 14-speaker, 705-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system, LED ambient interior lighting, Audi Multi-Media Interface (MMI) with voice-controlled navigation and a touchscreen with handwriting recognition. Front and rear parking sensors, along with a rear view camera, are also standard on the Prestige.
Some terrific options and packages are available on the A3. Audi drive select offers four different driving modes that change shift points, throttle management and steering effort depending upon the selection. The A3 also debuts the innovative use of a 4G LTE data connection. Meanwhile, a Driver Assistance Package offers front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera, and an Advanced Technology Package brings the Audi pre sense front collision avoidance system, active lane assist and adaptive cruise control.
Later in the model year, Audi plans to introduce more models to the A3 lineup. These include a 2-door A3 cabriolet, a 2.0L A3 TDI clean diesel and an S3.
All A3s come equipped with anti-lock brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control and a bevy of advanced cabin airbags, including rear-passenger thorax side airbags.