2015 Audi A3: Rear Seat Comfort Compared to the A4
February 3, 2015
A few days ago, I took our 2015 Audi A3 in for its 5,000-mile service. I had some time to kill since I was waiting for the car, so I wandered around the dealership showroom checking out the latest Audi hardware. I stopped by an A4. Out of curiosity, I hopped in the back to see how the A4's rear seat compared to the one in our A3.
Now, before I get in to this, I want to point out that the A3's rear seat is pretty decent for this class of car. Ed Hellwig wrote this recent plenty of rear passenger space update, and the A3 really does win over our now departed long-term Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class for rear seat comfort. I just wanted to know: Since the A3 would seem to be this good, can it play in the next bigger league?
The rear seat specs are promising. Rear legroom is 35.1 inches for the A3 and 35.2 inches for the A4. The Audi A3 has 36.1 inches of rear headroom while the A4 has 37.5 inches. Shoulder room is 53.0 and 54.3 inches, respectively. But in the real world there are some more noticeable differences.
The A3 does compare very well for rear legroom. With the driver seat positioned for me (I'm 5-foot 10-inches tall) in both the A3 and A4, there are still a few inches of legroom available to me when I sit in the back of both cars. That extra inch of headroom in the A4 is welcome, though. My head and hair rub up against the headliner in our A3. In the A4, I've still got clearance.
The A4's extra shoulder width also allows it to seem less confining. In the A3, I feel a little cramped. There's more space to relax in the A4 as the door and potential other rear-seat passenger are farther away. The A4 is also superior in aspects you don't see on the spec sheet. There's more thigh support from the seat cushion and the door-side armrest is a lot easier to use and put your arm on. On a long trip, I'd be more comfortable in the A4 for sure.
Neither the A3 nor the A4 is meant to be a passenger-hauling mule, of course. But I like how both seem to get it right. The A3 will take on adults in the back seat for occasional trips, no problem. The A4 does a similar job, just with some extra comfort to justify its higher price.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor