Audi A3

2016 Audi A3

The Audi A3 comes as a sedan, cabriolet, and five-door Sportback hatchback. Its familiar styling is neat and sporty. A3 was redesigned for the 2015 model year, so there isnt much new for 2016: rearview camera, heated mirrors and washer nozzles, and aluminum-look interior trim are standard on 2016 Audi A3 models.

As a premium compact car, the A3 competes with the curvaceous new Mercedes-Benz CLA 250, the updated Acura ILX, entry-level BMW 3 Series sedans, and maybe the BMW 2 Series coupe and convertible. The A3 has an unadventurous look and feel compared to these cars. Another car worth considering is the decidedly adventurous Buick Verano, with its great cornering and turbo engine that throws the gauntlet at the Germans, and the new Buick Cascada convertible that boldly takes on the A3 Cabriolet.

Four powertrains are available for the A3, and all have solid virtues. Among them: a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine making 170 horsepower with front-wheel drive; a 2.0-liter TDI diesel making 150 horsepower with front-wheeldrive; and the e-tron plug-in hybrid with a 150 horsepower 1.4-liter turbo and 102-hp electric motor.

The A3 1.8T accelerates to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and the A3 2.0T does it in 5.8 seconds. Both engines are mated to the VW/Audi six-speed DSG (automated dual-clutch) gearbox, programmed softer than previous DSGs, however the Sport mode brings back the edge with quicker upshifts and rev-matched downshifts. They reach their torque peaks (200 and 258 lb-ft, respectively) at just 1600 rpm, which makes them very easy to drive, with good power response even from the most relaxed situations.

The TDI diesel engine is VW made and boasts a strong 236 lb-ft of torque and sensational fuel mileage. Its front-wheel-drive only, and again uses the six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The e-tron plug-in hybrid uses a turbocharged 1.4-liter making 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The dual-clutch transmission is used with a 102-hp electric motor added to assist the engine and enable electric driving. Its all-electric range is 31 miles, from a 8.8 kWh battery pack, charged through a port hidden in the grille.

Audi S3 features a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine rated at 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, a six-speed DCT, and all-wheel drive. S3 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, according to Audi.

The A3 sedan doesnt get 5 stars in all the government crash tests, only 4 stars for frontal impact and rollover, but it earns Top Safety Pick in all the ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Sportback and Cabriolet havent been tested.

2015 Audi A3

The Audi A3 is all-new for 2015. The 2015 Audi A3 begins its third generation in the U.S. as a four-door sedan, the first time for this body style in the U.S. Three- and five-door hatchbacks and a convertible are right behind the new sedans. A premium-level vehicle, the Audi A3 boasts a high-quality interior with leather upholstery as standard equipment.

As cars in the compact segment keep getting bigger, manufacturers are creating new models to slip into the entry-level category. Audi is no exception; while the A4 sedan was once considered Audi's compact offering, the 2015 Audi A3 sedan now takes over as the smallest four-door in the lineup.

Riding on a new platform, the 2015 Audi A3 offers a choice of two drivetrains. The standard front-wheel-drive sedan uses a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4 that makes 170 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is EPA-rated at 23/33 mpg City/Highway.

Top-of-the-line A3 sedans come with Quattro all-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 good for 200 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 24/33 mpg City/Highway.

Both models use a 6-speed dual clutch transmission.

Like all Audis, the interior of the 2015 A3 is of high quality, with soft-touch materials, a clean, simple layout, and attention to detail. Even the climate control knobs have a well-built, substantial feel in-hand. The standard display screen is thin and retracts elegantly into the dash when not in use.

The A3 is packed with many standard features not always found on base models, including leather upholstery, power driver's seat, power sunroof and automatic wipers.

A new version of Audi's MMI control interface also is also standard, with 4G LTE data connectivity that effectively turns the A4 into a mobile hotspot, allowing users to pair up to eight compatible devices. Navigation is powered by Google Earth and Google Street View, with real-time weather, traffic and gas prices.

Although it's a four-door sedan, the 2015 Audi A3 is best on long trips for front-seat passengers only, though rear space is adequate for average-sized adults on short commutes. Cargo space is average for the class with all seats in place, and split-folding rear seats, including a center pass-through slot, help to make the A3 more versatile.

The base 1.8-liter engine is fine in the A3 sedan, and would be an ideal choice for commuting or driving around town.

Plenty of power and thrust is on tap driving the top-of-the-line 2.0T Quattro, with the most satisfaction coming in the higher revs. Though we sometimes found ourselves wanting more from the dual-clutch transmission through the winding roads, especially between second and third gears. Ride and handling is comfortable, though we found it a little floaty when pushing it hard around corners on rougher roads.

The closest competitor to the 2015 Audi A3 sedan is the Mercedes-Benz CLA250, which also rides on a front-wheel-drive platform (with optional AWD). The CLA-Class offers more power for the money with its standard 208-hp turbocharged inline-4, though we think the Audi is better looking and comes with more standard features.

2014 Audi A3

A new, third-generation Audi A3 is expected to arrive at U.S. dealerships beginning with a four-door sedan as a 2014 model. The A3 is Audi's smallest offering in North America and the new model will represent the first time the company will offer a four-door sedan version in U.S. The four-door sedan will replace the second-generation four-door hatchback.

Audi suggests the 2014 A3 sedan may be followed by three-door coupe, a five-door hatchback, a soft-top convertible. A variety of powertrains is expected over time, among them a small-displacement turbo, a TDI diesel, and a plug-in hybrid.

As always, the A3 will offer budget buyers a front-wheel-drive version, and a more expensive quattro all-wheel-drive version.

The new A3 is expected to add a number of design, safety and convenience features that weren't available when the current car came onto the market, including front and rear LED lamps, lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection, active cruise control, and forward and rearward facing cameras, with voice activation for navigation and telephoning. Like all Audis, the A3 will have most of its controls operated from the MMI controller on the center console.

The new A3 will compete in the marketplace against the BMW 1 Series.


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