2015 Audi A3: Quiet and Enjoyable on the Highway
January 20, 2015
Audi builds some fantastic highway cruisers. Los Angeles to New York? Sure, no problem if you've got the keys to, say, an A8, A6 or Q7. But along comes the new entry-level 2015 Audi A3. Some concern would be justified. How much of the traditional luxury sedan experience do you still get from this $29,900 (base price) vehicle? Well, at least in terms of my highway driving experiences with our long-term car so far, a pretty decent amount, I'd say.
I like that the A3 is noticeably nicer than other, more affordable small sedans. It's quieter, for sure. On a recent five-hour drive in our A3, it did seem pretty quiet. I went ahead and looked up some of our test numbers for verification. Based on our instrumented decibel testing, our A3 posted a 61.5 db reading during 70-mph cruising. That's fantastic. That's even a bit quieter than an Audi A8 4.0T we tested with a 61.8 db reading at 70 mph. (Caveat: Decibel readings can vary. An A8 3.0T we tested was at 58.4 while another A3 2.0T we tested earlier last year was louder at 63.3 db. But I think it's fair to say the A3 is pretty quiet.)
The A3 also feels stable and secure as it's going down the road. As Jay Kavanagh wrote in his Drive Refinement update, the A3's suspension tuning delivers a nice balance of control and comfort. And that's with our car's optional Sport package that includes a sport-tuned suspension. Even if you pick the Sport package, you don't have to worry about it crashing over big bumps or potholes. That package includes sport front seats, and I've found them to be very comfortable and supportive. Rounding out our A3's likeable demeanor is its strong turbocharged four-cylinder engine and automated manual transmission that provide quick and easy bursts of acceleration for passing.
L.A. to New York in an A3? Sure, I'd do that.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,733 miles