For 2015, Audi’s entry-level A3 is all-new from the ground up in typical evolution, meaning at first glance you would hardly know it. Make no mistake however, the new A3 brings little across the line from the 2014 model.
Over the next year the new A3 will be offered in a number of exciting models including a cabriolet, TDI clean diesel, a sporting S3 and a ultra fuel efficient e-tron plug-in hybrid. And for 2015, the A3 will get a boat load of technology including a 4G LTE data connection.
The first available A3’s include a 1.8 and 2.0 liter turbo four such as the one seen here. With a starting price of $29,900 for the 1.8 and $32,900 for the 2.0, the A3 will pack a lot of value for the price with a heavy list of standard amenities.
Among the standard equipment features are a panoramic glass roof and bi-xenon headlamps. Available will be full LED headlamps and a number of wheel choices depending on package. An S-Line trim package will be offered as well.
Exterior styling is a dead ringer for larger Audi models such as the A6. It looses the 2014’s chunkier appearance and looks almost like a precisely scaled down version of its larger brethren. Lines are crisper and more elegant all around.
Up front is what Audi now calls its single frame grille, along with a more aggressively styled front fascia. Side creases are deeper, leading into a much more sleek rear three quarter view. Tail lamps have a more horizontal skew, giving the car a longer and more planted stance.
Contributing to a longer more proportioned stance is the all new platform which places the front wheels 1.5” further forward in relation to the cabin. Suspension up front is MacPherson struts with aluminum sub-frame and a four link independent rear.
The cabin will get standard leather seating and a healthy dose of Audi’s signature design talent. The latest generation thin screen MMI interface is center stage with a console mounted control puck and touch pad.
One of the best in the business, MMI is backed up by a powerful NVIDIA graphics processor for fast speed. Thus using the menu, navigation and vehicle settings should be much more intuitive and simple to use while behind the wheel.
The wraparound dash design looks lifted from larger Audi sedans, giving the interior a much more premium atmosphere for the entry-level model. An a available LED interior lighting package and 705 watt Bang & Olufen audio system can take it to the next level.
Standard driver assistance systems include a “pre sense basic” system that detects when you are making emergency maneuvers, and prepares restraint systems in advance of a possible collision. Optional is a package with active lane assist, and adaptive cruise control with stop and go capability.
At launch, the A3 gets either a 1.8 liter TSFI turbo four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower or an optional 2.0 liter TSFI with 220 horsepower. Both engines will be mated to only a standard 6-speed S tronic automatic transmission.
Audi says the 1.8 liter A3 will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds. We expect the 2.0 will likely come in somewhere in the mid 6-second range for 0-60.
An optional drive select system allows you to adjust throttle response, shift points, and steering effort with four settings of Auto, Dynamic, Comfort and Individual. The latter allows you to seat each metric separately to your tastes.
The 2015 Audi A3 is available at U.S. dealerships now with with Cabriolet, TDI and S3 models coming late this year. The e-tron plug-in hybrid is expected to go on sale early in 2015.