Palo Alto, California.
2015 Audi A3 product launch- It's a pretty regular occurrence to see Audi knocking the ball out of the park these last few years. It seems they can do nothing wrong saleswise and customer impressions have reflected their strategic and tactical decisions.
So when we got the call to test the all new 2015 Audi A3 we anticipated brilliance.
2015 Audi A3 Full Photo Gallery
Some quick facts about this all new ride:
• The A3 Sedan sets new standards in the entry premium market, including the first-ever 4G LTE data connection?• Audi showcases progressive technology, craftsmanship and performance with the Audi A3 ?• Over the next 16 months, Audi will roll out the complete A3 family, including the A3 Cabriolet, A3 TDI clean diesel, S3 and A3 e-tron® PHEV
The base MSRP for the Audi A3 1.8 TFSI will start at $29,900 and the 2.0 TFSI® will start at $32,900.
The A3 Sedan brings to the entry premium market new innovative technologies and the detailed craftsmanship found in larger flagship Audi sedans. The Audi A3 Sedan features standard leather seating surfaces and exceptional ergonomics, and offers the signature Singleframe® grille, ultra-thin retractable MMI® display, available Audi drive select, 4G LTE connectivity and Bang & Olufsen® audio. The A3 Sedan will also come equipped standard with a panorama glass sunroof and bi-xenon headlights.
In addition to the base premium package, two iconic Audi luxury packages are offered on the A3 Sedan – Premium plus and Prestige. 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 S Line® exterior kit. It will also offer the Driver Assistance package, Bang & Olufsen Sound System, Audi MMI navigation plus, Audi connect®, Convenience package and full LED headlights for $8,450.
The first impression when you see it in person is that it reminds you of the A4 from a few generations ago in size and stature.
But with a fresher exterior and interior design.
It is a handsome, conservative car and is no doubt an Audi when it drives by you on the road.
Our drive took us from Palo Alto through the twisties all the way to Half Moon Bay then onto Santa Cruz (Home of the Doobie Brothers for the rockers out there).
I found the drive, power and handling to be excellent and almost on par with the arch enemy BMW. The A3 felt light and nimble, with good balance. That's the way like we like it at AutoSpies.com.
Gas mileage on the 2.0 was decent getting close to 30mpg on the highway and 24mpg in mixed driving during our short time over two days with the car.
I drove the 1.8, but did not spend enough time in it to get an accurate reading on real world mileage. But I did drive it enough to know if you buy one you'll want the 2.0.
I just like the feel and balance of the 2.0 for my taste.
One of the attributes of the new A3 that Audi is touting is the key tech advancements.
Here are some of those highlights:
• Most advanced version of Audi connect® including read aloud Facebook® and Twitter® alerts, access to more than 7,000 Internet broadcast stations, RSS news feeds and more.
• The MMI navigation plus uses 4G LTE to deliver the tailored services of Audi connect to the driver – from navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View to Audi and online traffic information.
• Audi connect® services, such as, text-to-speech function for e-mail and a dictation function for text messages (SMS).
• An accompanying mobile app will allow advanced functionality between the MMI system and smartphones, passengers will be able to view high-definition videos and make video conference calls from the vehicle.
• Audi and AT&T have teamed to offer U.S. Audi drivers the expected first-ever in-vehicle 4G LTE data connection.
On the inside, it's typical Audi although I found it quite plain all around compared to some of their other interiors.
I guess with a starting price under $30k, cuts had to be made somewhere.
And if BMW can get away with stark, basic interiors in their lower models why can't Audi?
I'd just ask their interior designers to go look at a KIA Optima with the quilted stitched seats, cabin ergonomics, etc., etc.
Here, I'll give them a pass because as a former Apple employee, I appreciate simplicity with purpose. Just don't tell us for that price it can't look more expensive and premium.
Front seat interior space works for me at 6'5", but none of the cars in this price range have back seats I'd want to spend any time in.
So I know the question you must be asking by now...
001, you're being kind and respectful about the A3 but reading in between the lines something was missing and left you cold.
If that's what you were thinking, then you are very perceptive and quite right.
No matter how hard I tried to find and lock into the 'sizzle' of this new Audi, I just couldn't find it.
And in a world where there was no Mercedes CLA exposing such EMOTION and PASSIONATE design to the new customers in this soon to be exploding segment, it wouldn't matter.
The new A3 is a very good (not excellent) car.
But see an A3 and CLA driving by you at the same time on the road and our call is MOST people would say the CLA design BLOWS AWAY the A3.
It's sexier. It's hotter. And it has the most important element the A3 doesn't.
When someone sees a CLA, they INSTANTLY know it's a NEW car. It's different and fresh and like nothing else out there.
The Audi A3 on the other hand looks like any other standard Audi (A4, A6).
Nothing wrong with that because they're all decent looking but we think this customer is seeking image and recognition.
The CLA says hey look at me and my beach body and the A3 says East Coast Brooks Brothers suit.
A great example to compare my opinion to is the current iPhone. There is growing dissatisfaction because it's too evolutionary and they've given the competition an opening.
Is the iPhone good?
Of course, but many are looking for more.
Is the A3 good?
Yes. But we think after seeing emotional designs like A5, A7…many will be left expecting/wanting more from Audi.
They EXPECT Audi to bring the best in everything they do. They expect the line "Never Follow" to mean it. That's what happens once you're champion. Everyone expects it year after year.
To be fair, an Audi executive told us that in 19's and better wheels the car looks much better but those were not ready for the press launch. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Will the A3 sell well for Audi?
Its key flaw though is that Audi has given the competition an opening and it’s looking like Mercedes isn't wasting it.
In the end if you're asking who will win this sales/customer perception race and gain key ground in this segment? Three letters my friends. C-L-A.
The other interesting thing will be to see who gets the bragging rights of being right on this…AutoSpies.com or Edmunds?
They said THIS about A3:
Edmunds InsideLine Claims The 2015 Audi A3 Sedan Is Entry-Level Luxury Brilliance and Easily Their Top Pick. Is The Party Over For the Mercedes-Benz CLA?
Chime in and tell us who you think has a better take on the situation…Remember the better car doesn’t always win the crown…Who is YOUR money on Spies?
2015 Audi A3 Full Photo Gallery