Entry-Level Luxury Brilliance
Quick Summary: The all-new 2015 Audi A3 returns, this time as a sedan rather than a hatchback.
As a challenger in a resurgent entry-level luxury sedan segment, the A3 delivers refinement, enough performance to make it fun to drive, cutting-edge technology and even a little prestige. Among a small batch of rivals, this new A3 rises to the top, and with a starting price of $30,795 (with the 1.8-liter engine), it won't break the bank.
How Does It Drive?
There's brief hesitation from the automated manual transmission upon initial throttle application, but it's not very intrusive. On the road, the A3 feels solidly planted, yet still light and nimble. Smaller ruts and bumps are absorbed well, though larger undulations can cause uneasy jostling inside. Wind noise is minimal, and road noise is present but never intrusive.
On twisting mountain roads, the all-wheel-drive A3 shines. Not only is it capable and confident, it's also quite entertaining for drivers who value performance. We prefer the paddle shifters in these conditions, as they allow you to keep both hands on the wheel while manually selecting gears. They're optional, but our car didn't have them.
In everyday driving, the A3 is well-mannered and comfortable, with excellent outward visibility. The light steering effort also makes it a breeze to park.
In Edmunds instrumented testing, our test drivers praised the A3's agility and controllability in emergency handling maneuvers, as well as its strong and consistent brakes. The engine also proved capable, pushing the A3 from zero to 60 mph in only 5.8 seconds (5.4 seconds with a foot of rollout as on a drag strip), which is quicker than any other car in this class. On the highway, that power also makes for stress-free passing. We're confident that drivers of all types will appreciate the A3's balance of comfort and athleticism.