2015 Audi A3

1.8T Premium FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 auto trans

2015 audi a3 Reviews and News

2015 Audi A3 TDI Front View In Motion
We're breathing in fresh forest air as we roll through the mountains south of Flagstaff, Arizona, in a shiny red 2015 Audi A3 TDI. Right around now we'd usually mash the throttle with reckless abandon, grab tight the well-contoured steering wheel, and with a glint in our eye, see how the little German sedan likes to dance.
But not today.
Today we're the lead car in a line of furious and confused Arizona motorists, who we assume cannot fathom why this Audi with its hazards on refuses to accelerate past 45 mph except when going downhill. Two livid blond women behind us in a lime green Kia Soul gesture wildly. It’s unlikely they’d be any less angry if they knew the reason for our plodding obstinacy -- that a bunch of sweaty, stubborn journalists are engaged in a fuel-economy challenge, attempting to drive 834 miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to San Diego, California, on a single tank of fuel.

If you beat the EPA rating, it's hypermiling

With an EPA highway rating of 43 mpg and a 13.2-gallon tank, simple math tells us that the 2015 Audi A3 TDI should be good for 567 miles, give or take. To go 834 miles, then, is an ambitious challenge.
“You're gonna blow the EPA out of the water,” hypermiling expert Wayne Gerdes tells us before the start in Albuquerque.
“And when you beat their rating, that's hypermiling. I'd know, I coined the term,” he says proudly.
“Save your diesel on the first day,” he advises. “Because on that second day, when it's hot in the desert with no A/C and your fuel gauge is reading low, that's when the pucker factor sets in.”
As an added incentive, the first team to run dry will have to finish the journey in a recently “rescued” 1994 Ford Aspire sporting bleach-white paint, a black decal on the side that reads “IT,” a mismatched rear bumper, and three hubcaps. We have no intention of setting foot in that relic of ’90s automotive detritus.
1994 Ford Aspire Trailer

And we're off!

Overnight, Audi has topped off our tanks with fresh diesel and sealed the fuel caps to make sure there's no cheating. We depart Albuquerque in a 2015 Audi A3 TDI we dub Red Fury. Per Wayne's advice, we're feverishly upshifting the six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in manual mode, trying to reach sixth gear as soon as possible so the engine will stay at minimum revs. Fortunately, the 2.0-liter turbodiesel four, shared with the new Volkswagen Golf TDI, offers a potent 236 lb-ft of torque at only 1,750 rpm. We can shift into sixth gear at just 40 mph, where the engine is barely turning 1,200 rpm.
2015 Audi A3 TDI Rear Three Quarter View

The drudgery of competition

Chugging along at 50 mph on a 65-mph highway, our initial enthusiasm wanes. We're being passed by enormous 18-wheelers, rusted old pickups, motorhomes, and even a rally of old British classics from Jaguar, Lotus, MG, and Triumph. It's brutal to see them having so much fun. Hypermiling, it turns out, is woefully boring.
On the brighter side, our average fuel economy is rising steadily. Our initial 40 mpg soon turns to 45 mpg, and things start to look even rosier when the digital readout says 50 mpg. Then, it happens: our first major hill climb.

Watching the numbers

The steep hill seems to go on endlessly, as we try desperately to stay in sixth gear. The A3 musters all the torque it can to keep us above 40 mph, but when gravity wins out and we fall below that mark, the dual-clutch gearbox kicks us down to fifth gear. With the tachometer needle at about 1,500 rpm, we gather enough momentum and speed until the car will let us shift back into sixth, at which point the cycle repeats.
Now our numbers are falling, and fast. Soon we're back down to a measly 47-mpg average, and a shiver runs down our spine as the Aspire comes to mind. When you're too focused on fuel economy to even appreciate the beauty of the Southwest's landscape, seeing all of your progress melt away adds insult to injury.
We're on a single-lane road headed toward Sedona, and the pissed-off blondes in the Kia Soul are behind us, waving their arms in our rearview mirror. After about 15 minutes of their fuming, we start down a long, winding mountain pass into Sedona and kiss the Kia good-bye. The 2015 Audi A3 TDI coasts down the whole joyous hill in neutral, quickly gathering speed.
As much as we'd love to brake as little possible to avoid losing momentum, there are a few seriously tight hairpins and we have to slow down. We're keen to make it to San Diego without refueling, but we'd rather be sentenced to the Aspire than meet an inglorious end tumbling down the mountainside.
All the while, our numbers are mercifully recovering. We finish the day in fourth place on the leaderboard of nine participating vehicles, recording an average of 58.7 mpg. Not bad, but we need to step up our game for Day 2.

Battling the elements

The temperature has dropped 30 degrees overnight, and the thermometer reads 41 when we set off for the second leg of our journey at 5:30 a.m. It's pitch dark, and the cold is not great for fuel economy, but we hope to get beyond the California desert before it reaches peak heat in the midafternoon. After all, air conditioning is out of the question if we want to maximize our mileage.
By the time we reach the open desert and drive through California's Imperial Sand Dunes, the 87-degree heat is beating down on Red Fury. Even with the front windows cracked to help funnel air through the cabin, perspiration soaks through our T-shirts. The A3, on the other hand, hasn't broken a sweat. Six-hundred-forty miles in, the car is running smoothly and predicting 120 miles of range left. That’s not enough to make it to San Diego, but we're determined to press on.
As monotonous as hypermiling is, the task takes a surprising amount of mental focus. We're constantly mindful not only of our speed, revs, and throttle input; we also have to look far ahead to plan for any upcoming elevation changes while remaining cautious of rapidly changing traffic. Even in the desert, cars and semi trucks come up on you quickly when you're traveling 10-15 mph under the speed limit.
2015 Audi A3 TDI Challenge Miles

The ignominious end

The real stress sets in when we begin to climb the mountains on California's Interstate 8. Midway through, we get the readout we’ve been dreading: 0 miles to empty. Officially on reserve, we suddenly we realize the pucker factor is in effect, and are feeling the anxiety and stress of possibly running out of fuel on this long incline. We reach the sixth of seven preset bailout points, and Audi's engineers recommend we don’t go farther. Regretfully, we heed their advice.
We say good-bye to Red Fury 758 miles in. We'd traveled 40 miles or so on empty and thought we could maybe have made it another 30, but not all the way to San Diego. Maybe we should have kept going, however, because two cars ended up traveling more than 100 miles on empty and actually made it the whole 834 miles.
A tempting reason to call it quits was because there was a lovely 2015 Audi A3 convertible for us to jump into, in which we could burn off some frustration (and fuel) for the remainder of our journey to San Diego. After 758 miles of driving like a miser, we weren't about to pass up that opportunity on amazing roads such as California's Route 94.

59 mpg ain’t bad

Our final average fuel economy was 59.4 mpg, which indeed lives up to Wayne's promise of demolishing the EPA rating of 43 mpg. But we don't recommend, or ever want to even think about, driving this way again in order to achieve such lofty figures. Maybe it’s an ego thing, but you can only be passed by so many Winnebagos before you feel like you’re going insane.
Still, it was an enlightening experience to see just what kind of range and mileage a committed hypermiler could achieve. Especially considering that the route's elevation ranged from 220 feet below sea level to 7,900 feet above sea level, the A3 put up some mind-blowing numbers.
We might not have won the TDI challenge, but we also didn't have to drive the Aspire. Let's chalk this one up as a win after all.

2015 Audi A3 TDI Specifications

On Sale: Now
Base Price: $32,600
Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC turbodiesel 16-valve I-4/150 hp @ 3,500 rpm, 236 lb-ft @ 1,750-3,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD sedan
EPA Mileage: 31/43/36 mpg (city/highway/combined)
L x W x H: 175.4 x 77.2 x 55.7 in
Wheelbase: 103.8 in
Weight: 3,241 lb
2015 Audi A3 Front Three Quarters In Motion
Menlo Park, California -- With sales of small luxury cars expected to quadruple in coming years, their makers are all jostling for a slice of this profit-rich pie.
To Audi's enduring credit, it stuck with the four-cylinder compact-hatchback luxury segment in the United States long after the Mercedes-Benz C-class hatchback and the BMW 318i had come and gone, even though the A3 hatchback never made a big splash here. Refashioned as a sedan to satisfy Yankee and Chinese tastes, the new A3 will almost surely outsell the cultish hatchback. But a drive of the 2015 Audi A3 raised the same questions that dogged its predecessor: Will Americans -- and especially enthusiasts -- go gaga for a petite, discreet, VW Golf-based Audi that will cost roughly $5,000 to $15,000 more than an already-smoking 2015 VW GTI?
Answers will take shape beginning in June. That's when the 2015 Audi A3 eases into showrooms, starting at $30,795 for the front-driver with a 170-hp, 1.8-liter turbocharged four and $33,795 for an A3 Quattro and its stellar 220-horse, 2.0-liter turbo four. As with most modern luxury cars, those enticing base prices aren't worth the billboards they're printed on. The optioned-up A3s we tested ranged from $36,645 for one front-drive model to $43,540 for a Quattro whose $8,450 Prestige Package featured an aurally stunning, 705-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.
Those front- and all-wheel-drive sedans will be joined through late summer and fall by a roughly 290-hp S3, an A3 cabriolet, and a diesel TDI version. A hatchback arrives in 2015, but only as a plug-in hybrid.
Spanning 9.7 fewer inches than an A4 and riding a pert 103.8-inch wheelbase, the A3 will share its modular MQB platform with up to 60 Volkswagen Group models, including the Golf and the forthcoming Passat and Audi TT. That tranverse-engine platform helps spark the sheer brilliance of the '15 GTI. A six-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic automated gearbox with a striking ball-topped lever also had us envisioning a frolicsome good time, despite the absence of a manual option.
The body's finely drawn aluminum hood and integrated rear ducktail spoiler are exterior highlights, along with the segment's only available full-LED headlamp and taillamp arrangement. However, although the Audi's tasteful details reward close inspection, the A3 tends to disappear on the road. Sure, "understated" is Audi's thing, but where Mercedes' dramatic CLA is an instant conversation starter, the luxury-loving denizens of Silicon Valley barely stopped texting to glance at the A3.
Trunk space is scrawny, especially the Quattro version's mere 10 cubic feet. The BMW 2-Series coupe holds 38 percent more cargo, and the CLA250 has a 30 percent advantage. (The 1.8T A3 model holds 12.3 cubes). Two wheelie bags pretty much fill the Quattro's shallow space, though the rear seats fold to accommodate more.
The mildly luxurious, tech-laden interior fares better, except for the dash's overlarge expanse of soft black plastic, which recalls the rim of a flying saucer from planet Hyundai. An available Aluminum Style package stripes the doors and dash with a trompe l'oeil panel effect and includes knurled metal surrounds on vents. A pinkie-thin display screen rises from the dash to brighten the minimalist scheme. It is brimming with features from Audi's latest, blazing-fast MMI system, including a drawing pad, 3D animations, and -- via an AT&T-based Audi Connect system -- the industry's first 4G LTE cellular connection. The upgradeable, app-loving Audi Connect lets users stream video, link smartphones to the car's data plan and powerful onboard antennae, and perform cool functions such as Picture Navigation: Use a photo via the onboard Google Street View, or have a friend send a snapshot, and the nav system can set a destination based on the photo's geo-coordinates. It's the perfect stalking tool for the Instagram generation. For the first time, the MMI system incorporates useful console toggles, rather than hard keys, to select main functions.
The back seat ekes out reasonable space for a pair of taller adults, with a half-inch more headroom than the slope-roofed CLA. Inboard B-pillars are scalloped within footwells to help backseat Bigfoots climb out. Because its airy sunroof, leather trim, and Xenon headlamps are standard, Audi claims a $3,000 price edge over a comparable CLA250. And yet, you can't get a backup camera.
Buyers hypnotized by the four-ringed Audi badge may be content with the base 1.8T version, despite its Audi-estimated 7.2-second run from 0 to 60 mph and visually undersized 17-inch wheels. But flooring the 1.8T's throttle from a stop induced so much front axle tromp that the traction control system shut off the fuel supply at precisely 2,800 rpm. "Inexplicable" is the only word for this premature incapacitation: What kind of front-wheel-drive car can't control wheel hop with a mere 170 hp? And a driver shouldn't have to turn off traction control to get a seamless start.
The Quattro combined surer grip from its 18-inch wheels (19s are available) with the lovable 2.0-liter engine, which rockets the A3 from stoplight to 60 mph in about 5.8 seconds. The front-axle tromp was no better here, though, as the all-wheel-drive Haldex system takes its time in putting power to the rear.
Impressively, both A3 versions qualify as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) in all 50 states.
Aside from some intrusive tire noise, the A3 does a fine job mimicking the Germanic-fortress feel of larger Audis. Bumps are coolly dispatched, with ride quality surpassing that of the CLA250. Available Drive Select lets users tailor throttle, transmission, and steering through Comfort, Dynamic, or Individual modes.
Although the A3 tries its damnedest to look and feel like a larger, pricier sedan, it's also handicapped by that approach: The Audi generates exhilarating speed and grip aplenty, but not enough in the way of driver engagement. The steering is dead accurate, but the A3 plots a stoic, insensate course through curves, its tires doing most of the work. A front-biased curb weight that tops 3,500 pounds in well-optioned Quattro guise doesn't help. An optional, stiffened sport suspension, which wasn't available for testing, lowers the A3 by 0.6 inch and may have lifted our handling impressions.
Driven in "D," the S-Tronic tranny is also too determined to short-shift its way to fifth or sixth gear to save fuel, often leaving the A3 in the wrong gear for action-packed driving. Operating in "S" mode or manhandling the shift paddles helps keep this overachieving engine in its sweet spot. Brakes are strong, but the pedal is occasionally grabby at lower speeds.
As the new junior partner in Audi's sedan lineup, the A3 likely borrows enough design and technology from its corporate superiors to meet an enthusiastic reception from social-climbing brand fans. But when it comes to a small car for enthusiasts, the S3 can't get here fast enough.

2015 Audi A3

ON SALE April 2014
BASE PRICE $30,795/$33,795 (FWD 1.8T/AWD 2.0T)
AS TESTED $36,645 - $43,540
ENGINES 1.8L turbocharged I-4; 2.0L turbocharged I-4
POWER 170 hp @ 4500-6200 rpm; 220 hp @ 4500-6200 rpm
TORQUE 200 lb-ft @ 1600-4000 rpm; 258 lb-ft @1600-4400 rpm
DRIVE Front- or 4-wheel
WHEELBASE 103.8 in.
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 175.4 x 77.2 x 55.7 in.
CARGO CAPACITY 12.3/10.2 cu. ft. (FWD 1.8T/AWD 2.0T)
EST. FUEL MILEAGE 23/33 mpg, 24/33 mpg
2015 Audi A3 Sedan Three Quarters
2015 Audi A3

New For 2015

Everything. Although this generation of A3 has been on sale in Europe since 2012, this is the first time it's being imported to North America. It will go on sale in early 2014 as the 2015 Audi A3.

Vehicle Summary

The A3 hatchback debuted in Europe in 1996 serving as an entry-level luxury hatchback positioned just below the A4 -- but Audi didn't begin selling the A3 in North America until the second-generation version debuted in 2003. That car, sold only as a four-door hatchback, was fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as standard equipment, but Audi added the option of a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder -- a.k.a. TDI -- soon afterward. The third-generation A3 debuted overseas in 2012, but Audi waited to launch the car in the U.S. until it could craft a four-door sedan model.


Yes, the new 2015 Audi A3 replaces the discontinued 2013 A3, but Audi execs frequently mention a different car when talking about the A3's successor: the A4. No, Audi's new entry-level A3 isn't going to replace the A4, but it is designed to appeal to the type of first-time luxury buyers who gravitated to the original mid-1990s A4 but may have been put off by its growth and maturation. That's a big reason why the A3, along with its performance-oriented S3 variant, were reworked into a four-door sedan before Audi brought it stateside.

When it first launched in North America, the previous A3 essentially had the premium subcompact market to itself. That isn't the case now, thanks to new entrants from Buick, Mercedes-Benz, and Acura, among others. But despite the added competition, Audi is still looking to carve out some new territory in the segment. A two-door convertible, which debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor show, will be shipped stateside. We'll receive the A3 cabriolet with two engine choices -- a turbocharged 1.8-liter and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder -- paired with front- or all-wheel drive, respectively. Audi has also confirmed that the A3 E-tron, a plug-in-electric hybrid that offers up to 31 miles of pure electric driving, will also be sold in our market.

By and large, the majority of the 2015 Audi A3 models sold stateside will likely boast four doors and a notchback profile. A3 sedans will be sold with a 170-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder, a more powerful 2.0-liter, and a 150-hp, 2.0-liter TDI turbo-diesel. Buyers jonesing for more power can always try an S3; its revised turbo 2.0-liter is said to produce more than 300 hp. Pricing has yet to be announced but is expected to be near that of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, which stickers at just under $30,000.

We won't have our first taste of the 2015 Audi A3 until early 2014, but for buyers looking for Audi's trademark design, technology, and performance -- yet on a budget -- the A3 may resonate like no other Audi.

You'll like:

  • Stylish exterior
  • Cabriolet offers drop-top fun

You won't like:

  • Hatchback only available as plug-in hybrid

Key Competitors

  • Acura ILX
  • BMW 1 Series
  • Buick Verano
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
2015 Audi A3 TDI Front View In Motion
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has tested the 2015 Audi A3 and S3 sedans and awarded them a 5-star overall crash safety rating. It’s the highest rating possible from the NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program.
2016 Audi A3 TDI Sportback On Road
Audi’s continued push to innovate and create advanced technology hasn’t been cheap. As a result, the automaker is looking to secure its financial health by going on a budget “fitness program” with cutbacks in certain areas.
2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet Front Three Quarter
Three new variants of the 2015 Audi A3 will join the existing A3 sedan by the end of this summer, and Audi has now released pricing for the performance-oriented S3 sedan, the droptop A3 Cabriolet, and the efficient A3 TDI sedan.
AUTP 140600 NVH 01
An invitation to drive the new Audi A3 around Silicon Valley, celebrated epicenter of America’s tech boom, hit my in-box the other week, promising “the unique opportunity to dive deeper into its development with our innovation partner representatives from AT&T, Bang & Olufsen, e.solutions, Google, MyScript, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and our own Electronics Research Laboratory.”

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1.8T Premium FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
23 MPG City | 33 MPG Hwy
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2015 Audi A3 Specifications

Quick Glance:
1.8L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
23 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
33 MPG
170 hp @ 4500rpm
200 ft lb of torque @ 1600rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player (optional)
  • CD Changer
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
50,000 miles / 48 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
Unlimited miles / 144 months
Unlimited miles / 48 months
5,000 miles / 12 months
Recall Date
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain model year 2015 Volkswagen Golf, and GTI manufactured on February 17, 2014, to May 22, 2014, and Audi A3 manufactured on February 16, 2013, to April 23, 2014. Improper nickel plating of components within the fuel pump may result in the fuel pump failing.
If the fuel pump fails, the vehicle will not start, or if the engine is running, it will stop and the vehicle will stall, increasing the risk of a crash.
Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the vehicles and replace any affected fuel pumps, free of charge. The recall began on June 16, 2015. Owners may contact Volkswagen at 1-800-893-5298 or Audi at 1-800-253-2834.
Potential Units Affected
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

IIHS Front Small Overlap
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2015 Audi A3

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Five Year Cost of Ownership: $38,349 What's This?
Value Rating: Excellent