The base Audi A3 sedan and A3 Cabriolet will be powered by a 1.8-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine with TFSI? turbo direct injection that produces 170 horsepower from 4,500 to 6,200 rpm, while developing 200 pound feet of torque from 1,600-4,400 rpm. The more upscale Audi A3?s energy comes from a 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine with TFSI? turbo direct injection that delivers 220 horses in a range from 4,500 to 6,200 rpm while generating 258 pound feet of torque from 1,600-4,400 rpm. An A3 TDI sedan with a turbocharged 2.0-liter Clean Diesel is also available, producing 150 horsepower and 236 pound feet of torque. Topping the chart is an S3 hot rod version A3 with a 2.0-liter TFSI 4-cylinder that cranks out 292 horses along with 280 pound feet of torque. An A3 Sportback e-tron? gasoline electric hybrid (PHEV) and an A3 Sportback TDI clean diesel are also slated to join the A3 stable for the 2015 model year. Audi?s latest A3 sedans offer the latest in progressive technology at a competitive price, without making any sacrifices in luxury appointments, design appeal or performance capability. The current 2015 Audi A3 lineup consists of three models featuring three engine variants, a singular transmission offering, and two drive configurations.
All models will gear power from their transversely mounted front engines to the driving wheels via a six-speed S tronic? dual clutch automatic transmission. The 1.8T sedan, Cabriolet and TDI are FWD with no paddle shifters, while the 2.0T A3 and S3 models feature Audi?s quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, with the six-speed S tronic transmission, which features steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
External dimensions for A3 models are shared, as is the exterior styling, which features all-new sheet metal that is longer and wider than its predecessors. Ultimately, there will be a total of seven A3 model variants in four body styles, with five unique engine choices
The 2015 A3 sedan is available in three levels of trim: a base Premium Package; a Premium Plus Package; and a Prestige Package. The Premium plus will include exclusive 18″ 10-spoke-design Audi wheels, an aluminum interior package, and keyless entry for an additional $2,550. The Prestige package will include everything that is offered in premium plus, and will give the A3 Sedan a sportier look with the SLine? exterior kit. It will also offer the Driver Assistance package, Bang & Olufsen Sound System, Audi MMI navigation plus, Audiconnect?, Convenience package and full LED headlights for $8,450. Standard fare for all A3s will be a panorama glass sunroof and bi-xenon headlights.
The exterior of the A3 has been completely redesigned, and tailored specifically for the American marketplace. Its length has been stretched to 175.5-inches on a 103.4-inch wheelbase, which combine with its 70-inch width and 55.7-inch height to display a compact, but very sporty persona. The signature Singleframe? trapezoidal grill leads off the sleek and aerodynamic profile, which presents a low, stealthy image.
The A3?s interior reflects the athletic exterior, exhibiting a ?wraparound? dash design that incorporates an innovative three-dimensional inlay concept, which surrounds both the driver and front passenger. The craftsmanship of the A3 along with the exceptional fit and finish abound throughout the cabin.
Technology abounds as well, raising the bar to new heights in what is normally expected from entry-level luxury vehicles. The A3 marks the first time that an A-segment vehicle will offer MMI? technology, Audi drive select, 4G LTE connectivity and Bang & Olufsen audio (an optional 705 watt, 14-speaker system is available from Bang & Olufsen). The MMI operating system features an electronically extending screen that is housed in the console of the center dashboard. A touchpad is now offered, which is incorporated into the rotary MMI control wheel. A NVIDIA graphics-processing unit generates complex 3-D images utilized in all online voice control, media navigation and telephone functions. The latest and most advanced version of Audi connect? allows for optimum social networking and connectivity.
Suspension componentry consists of a MacPherson strut design up front with aluminum A-arms and a stabilizer bar. Pivot bearings are joined to an aluminum subframe. In the rear is a Four-link system utilizing a steel crossmember, with springs and shock absorbers mounted separately. Braking is accomplished through a power hydraulic assisted, dual circuit four-wheel disc system (vented front) with a diagonal split, ESP with EBD, ABS; brake servo with dual-rate function, and electronic differential lock.
I?ve now piloted the 1.8T, 2.0T and TDI versions of the Audi A3 in a variety of driving scenarios from congested city traffic to higher-speed freeway travel, with challenging, narrow, twisting back roads thrown in between for good measure. I have yet to experience the S3 or the A3 Sportback e-tron? gasoline electric hybrid (PHEV) or A3 Sportback TDI clean diesel. My 2015 Audi A3 TDI sedan was in the Front wheel drive configuration with the S tronic automatic transmission. It sported a Scuba Blue metallic exterior with a Black interior and came with a base price of $32,600, while the final sticker totaled $39,195 after factoring in: the metallic paint; Audi?s MMI Navigation Plus; Premium Plus Package and the Destination charge.
SUMMARY: The ad tag line for the 2015 Audi A3 4-door, 5-passenger entry luxury sedan is ?Hugs Corners, Cuts None? ? Stay Uncompromised. A true statement. In a special design presentation the new A3 was likened to a ?Tailored Dinner Jacket? ? made to fit in a powerfully dynamic form that projects precise light and shadow interplay over its sleek surfaces. All descriptions are indeed appropriate.
This latest Audi A3 represents the epitome of the class that it falls into. It is visually attractive and appealing, with a sporty aura. It is also available at a very attractive price, especially when taking into consideration its feature and equipment inventory, and its performance capability.
The new turbocharged, direct injection engines deliver more than satisfactory doses of acceleration on demand, and the 6-speed S tronic gearbox shifts smoothly up and down, whether in automatic or manual mode.
The seating is both comfortable and supportive, the handling characteristics sporty and precise, and the ride quality is pleasingly compliant without undue harshness. The Audi A3 TDI is a delight to drive, whether simply cruising or prodding with gusto. In a final evaluation, it leaves virtually nothing to be desired from an entry-level luxury sedan, and it will surely prove to be highly competitive in its market segment, considering its exceptional superiority in terms of price and standard equipment and features. It is unquestionably a highly desirable sedan in any of its model offerings. The A3 TDI sedan delivers 31-mpg city and 43-mpg highway.
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Audi A3 TDI FWD S tronic Sedan [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:
|Engine Type and Size:
|2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel in line turbocharged 4-cylinder.
|150 @ 4,500-6,200 rpm
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):
|236 @ 1,600-4,400 rpm
|Six-speed S tronic dual clutch.
|Transversely mounted front engine / Front-Wheel Drive.
Front – MacPherson strut design with A‐arms and aluminum and stabilizer bar. Pivot bearings joined to an aluminum subframe.
Rear ? Four-link, utilizing a steel crossmember, with springs and shock absorbers mounted separately.
|Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front), ABS, EBD and ESP.
|Continental ContiSportContact 225/40 R18 Y XL mounted on 10-spoke (5-short/5-long) alloy wheels.
|EPA Mileage Estimates:
|31-mpg city / 43-mpg highway
|0 – 60 mph:
|8.1 seconds ? Top Track Speed=130 mph
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.