2015 Audi A3 Long-Term Arrival
One Year, Three A3s
In the past year we've seen luxury automakers refocus on entry-luxe models, but Audi seems to be taking the segment the most seriously, with the new 2015 A3.
Although companies such as Acura and Mercedes-Benz only offer two powertrains and one body style with their respective entry-level cars, Audi has fired off a full salvo. The A3 range includes three different gas engines, a diesel, an EV, front- or all-wheel drive, and three different body styles. And we're getting the chance to spend a year with the best of the bunch.
Over the next 12 months, we'll sample the three A3 variants for four months each: a base A3 1.8T (shown here), a diesel-sipping A3 TDI, and a 292-hp S3. Though Audi offers the A3 in sedan, hatchback, and convertible body styles, we'll likely stick to the sedan for consistency's sake. Each version of the A3 will get its fair share of road trips, commuting, and dealer trips.
First to arrive was this $30,795 silver A3 1.8T sedan with the Premium Plus trim bringing it to $33,345. Its 1.8-liter, turbocharged I-4 makes a healthy 170 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque, and it drives the front wheels through an S-Tronic six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
"I'm really geeking out over our A3's MMI system: picture destination, Google Maps, and Wi-Fi. Where do I sign up?"
Leather seats, HID headlamps with LED running lamps and taillights, and a "panoramic" ("big" is a more apt description) sunroof are standard. The Premium Plus trim adds heated front seats, keyless start, and 18-inch wheels. We decided to add the $2,600 MMI Navigation Plus package, which includes the most advanced version of Audi's MMI infotainment system available. Tack on the $550 charge for our A3's Ice Silver metallic paint and the $150 bill for the chrome-tipped exhaust, and you get our A3's $36,645 sticker. We skipped the Driver Assistance package, which includes a backup camera, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitors, as its $1,400 sticker price seemed high. Time will tell if we made the right call on that one.
Stay tuned to see how useful the MMI infotainment system really is and how the littlest Audi handles big journeys. These next four months before our S3 and diesel arrive are going to be fun.
|2015 Audi A3 1.8T Premium Plus|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||1.8L/170-hp/200-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed twin-clutch auto|
|CURB WEIGHT||3200 lb (mfr)|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||175.4 x 77.2 x 55.7 in|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||23/33/27 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY||147/102 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.73 lb/mile|