Quick Summary Many buyers hunting for a fuel-efficient small car might instinctively think "hybrid" first. But since 2010, Audi has offered an alternative in the form of the A3 TDI hatchback, a diesel model that could rival hybrids for fuel efficiency. Redesigned for 2015, the A3 TDI now comes as a sedan only and features an upgraded 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine that delivers smoother operation, slightly more power, improved fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions. It's still tight on space, but in every other respect the A3 TDI is an attractive and practical sedan that might make you rethink that hybrid.
What Is It? The Audi A3 TDI is a diesel-powered compact entry-level luxury sedan. It features a clean-sheet redesign for 2015 with a sharper style that looks more upscale, as well as a larger interior that will make it more competitive with other small luxury sedans.
The breadth of Audi's A3 lineup of vehicles is far more extensive than before. The car is available as a sedan, convertible (Cabriolet) and, next year, a hatchback called the Sportback. If you want all-wheel drive, the only A3 models that offer it are the gasoline 2.0T and high-performance S3 sedans. The new TDI comes exclusively as a front-wheel-drive sedan.
The 2.0-liter turbodiesel, called TDI in Audi's nomenclature, is a revised version of the engine that powered the last-generation A3 TDI. The new diesel now delivers 150 horsepower (10 more than before) and 236 pound-feet of torque. Though these hard numbers are nearly identical to the diesel in the last A3, Audi has made quite a lot of internal upgrades to ensure the engine is not only better to drive but quieter and cleaner than before, too.
The TDI is paired exclusively with a six-speed Sportronic transmission. What exactly does that mean? Sportronic is a sophisticated dual-clutch automated manual transmission that acts very much like a traditional automatic most of the time. However, during spirited driving with the transmission in Sport mode, the shifts are often crisper and quicker than many automatics. In manual mode, the transmission allows the driver to upshift (by pushing the gearshift lever forward) or downshift (by pulling the gearshift lever back) and that translates into a more fun and involving drive.
What Body Styles and Trim Levels Does It Come in? For the 2015 model year, the A3 TDI is only available as a sedan with front-wheel drive, although next year a four-door hatchback version (Sportback in Audi terms) will join it.
The TDI starts at $33,495 (Premium model) and that price buys you quite a few standard features including a leather interior with a power driver seat, sunroof, separate driver and passenger zones for climate control and a safety system called Pre-Sense Basic. Pre-Sense can detect if the driver is performing an emergency maneuver to avoid a collision and readies the vehicle by tensioning the seatbelts. This system helps keep passengers properly aligned in the seats so the other safety systems like seatbelts and airbags can do their jobs properly.
The A3 is equipped with standard electronic stability control and plenty of airbags (front, side, knee, rear and side curtain). So thorough are the standard safety systems in the A3 that the car earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus this year, with a "Good" in all five categories, the company's highest rating.
The A3 TDI's price tag might start in the low $30Ks, but as with many luxury cars today that sticker climbs quickly when expensive technology is added. Available options include Audi's MMI Touch with navigation, 4G LTE Internet connectivity from AT&T, a rearview camera with parking plus (provides acoustic warnings if objects are detected), adaptive cruise control (automatically maintains a preset distance between you and the vehicle in front, even in traffic), active lane assist (warns you if you are drifting out of your lane), and Audi Drive Select, which allows the driver to tailor vehicle systems to match the road conditions. The top Prestige trim level for the A3 TDI is $41,945.
How Does It Drive? As soon as you grip the sporty steering wheel of the A3, you realize it's not going to be a boring drive. Audi says the TDI will run to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. That's slightly slower than any of the other A3 models but quicker than many other "high-efficiency" cars.
The TDI driver won't long for more around-town thrust because this engine has a great rush of torque at very low engine speeds that makes the modest 2.0-liter feel like a much larger engine. In fact, the diesel is strong enough that you can often maintain speed on steep freeway grades without needing to downshift to a lower gear — which of course helps fuel economy.
Audi's German sport sedan roots can be felt in the bones of this car. It rides firm, but not hard enough to make you spill your morning coffee on your pants. Occupants will certainly feel larger potholes and pavement ripples, though, a trait that is largely the result of the optional 18-inch wheels and tires that were on our test car. The TDI is still a very easy car to live with. We logged more than 700 miles behind the wheel of one over the course of two days, and after each long stint behind the wheel, we arrived without fatigue.
At its core, the A3 is a fun-to-drive car that likes a curvy road. It feels nimble and light, which makes it easy to drive quickly. The optional 18-inch tires on our test car delivered very good grip, while the firm suspension controlled body lean well. It takes a lot of speed to finally hit the limits of the A3 TDI's capabilities. To go beyond them requires you to step up to the more expensive and hotly tuned S3 sedan. But then, you'd of course be sacrificing some efficiency for speed.
What Kind of Mileage Does It Deliver? If the A3 TDI has a prime directive, it is to deliver excellent fuel economy along with its sporty demeanor. There's a $2,700 premium for the TDI above the cost of a front-drive 1.8T gasoline A3. And for that extra cash, you'll get an extra 9 mpg combined, according to the EPA. The official figure is 36 mpg combined (31 city/43 highway) that can be beaten easily if you drive with a careful right foot.
In order to prove just how efficient the A3 TDI can be, we competed in Audi's TDI Challenge. It was essentially a marathon fuel economy run from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to San Diego, California. That's an 800-mile stretch that we attempted to cover on just one tank. We didn't make it the entire distance but did manage 714 miles on one tank, which equates to almost 56.5 mpg. Impressive, considering we drove that distance only just below the speed limit with the air-conditioning on.
How Does It Rate in Terms of Interior Comfort? The A3 looks just like a scaled-down version of Audi's larger A4 and A6 sedans. On the inside, the A3 certainly feels expensive and provides perhaps class-leading attention to materials and overall interior execution. It's a great place to spend time on a long drive.
On our MMI Navigation Plus-equipped test car, the rocker-type toggles for navigation, telephone, radio and media feel reassuringly solid. And similarly, the silver rings that open and close the circular vents move with a precision that isn't usually found in a car of this price class. Just about every surface you touch feels expensive in this car and reminds you why spending a little more for a luxury brand can make everyday drives better.
The nav screen, which is about as slim as an iPhone 6, looks very expensive with bright beautiful colors. We particularly like that this nav system displays both current elevation and the speed limit for the road you are travelling. The infotainment hardware and interface as well as the simple, uncluttered dash are really the benchmarks for other brands competing in this class.
As good as the furnishings are, the living space inside is certainly tight. Yes, the wheelbase is longer than that of the old A3 Sportback, but that rear seat still isn't limolike. It's tight for a 6-footer in the backseat. And adults in that size range will find the backseat somewhat confining if they need to sit behind someone who's equally tall.
At 12.3 cubic feet, the A3 has a reasonably roomy trunk, if slightly smaller than both the Lexus CT 200 hybrid (14.3 cubic feet) and the Mercedes-Benz CLA (13.1 cubes). But more importantly, the old A3 Sportback delivered 19.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up and nearly 40 cubes with them folded. So if large load-carrying capacity is the reason you bought the last A3, wait until next year for the Sportback TDI.
What Are Its Closest Competitors? There are only a handful of cars that blend the style, luxury features and fuel-efficiency of the A3 TDI at the same price point. And none of them are diesel-powered.
The BMW i3 electric vehicle is much more radical in both its style and its powertrain than either the Lexus CT 200h or the Audi. And at least visually, there's much more punch from the i3 than most $40,000 cars. BMW's small EV is an interesting alternative for those buyers looking for a mix of alternative power and ultrahigh-tech luxury.
The Lexus CT 200h is in many ways the closest competitor to the A3 TDI. The hybrid CT 200 delivers a solid 42-mpg combined and the Lexus is priced a little less than $1,000 below the A3 at just over $32,000. The hatchback bodywork offers a level of practicality that the A3 sedan doesn't have, but the Lexus is much slower than the Audi and it doesn't sound pleasant when accelerating hard. The Lexus is also less rewarding to drive and feels disconnected and artificial rather than engaging like the A3.
Why Should You Consider This Car? It delivers exceptional fuel efficiency generally, yet flies under the radar. It looks just like any other Audi — so it doesn't shout its mission to the world — yet it provides the same rewarding drive and luxury features as every other A3. If driving a little cleaner and greener appeal to you (and your wallet) but you'd like to retain an upscale and entertaining drive experience, this compact sedan is a great choice.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car? Hybrids can find fuel at any gas station. The same cannot be said for diesel-powered vehicles, especially in urban areas. The A3 TDI isn't the best choice for bigger families, as there are larger sedans that can handle people and cargo better. Also consider that Volkswagen's Golf TDI offers the very same diesel engine in a hatchback package at a lower price.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
2015 Audi A3 Overview
The 2015 Audi A3 is offered in the following submodels: Convertible, Sedan, Diesel. Available styles include 1.8 TFSI Premium 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 2.0 TFSI Premium Plus quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), and 2.0 TFSI Premium quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM). A3 models are available with a 1.8 l-liter gas engine or a 2.0 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 220 hp, depending on engine type. The 2015 A3 comes with front wheel drive or all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed automated manual. The 2015 A3 comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2015 Audi A3?
Save up to $300 on one of 139 used 2015 Audi A3s for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $17490 as of Nov 24, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 285 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2015 Audi A3 trim styles:
The 2015 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI Premium quattro is priced around $21290 with average odometer reading of 32085 miles.
The 2015 Audi A3 1.8 TFSI Premium is priced around $19193 with average odometer reading of 33761 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Is the 2015 Audi A3 a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2015 Audi A3 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2015 A3 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2015 Audi A3? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2015 Audi A3 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2015 A3 3.9 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2015 A3.
Review I'm a few weeks into my new 2015 Audi A3 after having had several VW's (Eos, Rabbit, and a Jetta). I love it!! I got white with black interior, premium plus, sports package, and bang & olufsen speakers. I didn't get the MMI navigation simply because I won't use it -- so why pay for it. I think the most surprising thing for me is just how fun the car is to drive. It's zippy; especially in sport mode. It's definitely not "just another Jetta." The engine/transmission is completely different than VW's, and it really has a lot more power. Plus, with quattro, it's all wheel drive. It's definitely worth the money. It's very nice; all the bells and whistles you want and need.
2015 Audi A3 inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2015 Audi A3 for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 64 new and 209 used and CPO 2015 A3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 14999 and mileage as low as 10034. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2015 Audi A3. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 301 on a new, used, or CPO 2015 A3 available from one of 2797 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Is the 2015 Audi A3 safe? The 2015 Audi A3 earned a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, IIHS Small Overlap Front Test Results, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 3.5 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
2015 audi a3 1.8 TFSI Premium 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 6-speed automated manual, premium unleaded (recommended) 27 combined MPG 23 city MPG/33 highway MPG
2015 audi a3 2.0 TFSI Premium Plus quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 6-speed automated manual, premium unleaded (recommended) 27 combined MPG 24 city MPG/33 highway MPG
2015 audi a3 2.0 TFSI Premium quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 6-speed automated manual, premium unleaded (recommended) 27 combined MPG 24 city MPG/33 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2015 Audi A3?
Available Audi A3 2015 Submodel Types: Sedan, Wagon, Convertible, Diesel