2015 Audi A3: Road Trip to Indian Wells
March 26, 2015
Recently, a few of us in the office decided to attend the 2015 BNP Paribas tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif. Adjacent to Palm Springs, Indian Wells is about 140 miles from our offices in Santa Monica. This tennis tournament, though not as significant as grand slam events like Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, is still a major tournament with all the top players. I also noticed that Audi was a major sponsor of the tournament this year. Our long-term 2015 Audi A3 seemed like a natural fit to drive to the event.
Our group ended up taking two cars (the long-term Toyota Highlander being the other) so for the A3 it was just me and Phil Reed. The A3's trunk is pretty small at 10 cubic-feet, but we didn't have much gear, either. Phil brought his golf clubs and just kept them on the backseat.
After escaping some early morning Los Angeles traffic, we cruised uneventfully at 70-plus mph for a couple of hours. As I noted in an earlier update, the A3's interior is impressively quiet, so we chatted about various topics, including whether Roger Federer can be considered the best ever if he's consistently lost to Rafael Nadal. Overall, the A3 was a comfortable and enjoyable companion for the trip out. It also looked classy parked on the green parking lot lawns.
While we were at the tournament, we noticed Audi had a prominent display on the grounds with an S3, an S7 and an R8 IMSA Flying Lizard race car. A regular R8 (a 2015, not the new 2016) was also located nearby. All the best seats in the main stadium had Audi logo covers, too. We were just a tad higher up than those. Just a tad.
The drive home in the A3 wasn't quite as smooth. Because of logistics, I had to drive home alone late at night. Right around 11 p.m., the A3's tire pressure warning system fired off. Tire pressure monitoring systems are a great feature, and the Audi's display also told me that it was the right rear tire that was low. Unfortunately, the car doesn't actually show you what the tire pressures are.
Since it was dark and I didn't have a pressure gauge with me, I slowed down but kept going another few miles until I made it to a gas station. I purchased a gauge and checked the tires. The right rear tire was indeed low, but to my relief not dramatically so. I decided to air up the tire and then give all the tires a few extra psi as added buffer for any potential leak. I needed to do all of them so that the A3's system would have a level baseline. You have to reset the tire pressure monitor once all the tires are at the "correct" pressure.
Thankfully, the tire was fine for the rest of my drive. I'll be keeping an eye on it over the next few days.
I also tallied up my fuel economy. The A3 returned 33 mpg, which is right at the EPA's highway estimate. This Audi A3 is a great little car.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,222 miles