by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on December 2, 2015
When we took delivery of our long-term 2015 Audi A3, we already had a Mercedes-Benz CLA250 in the long-term fleet. We wanted to see how these two new compact entry-level lux sedans matched against one another, given how much was riding on their flight or flop.
by Matt Jones, Senior Editor on October 23, 2015
Our long-term 2015 Audi A3 is close to hitting the 20,000-mile mark, and that means its time with us is coming to an end. It might be gone by the time you read this. And I'm going to miss it. The A3's smart interior layout, subtle styling and great road manners easily made it one my top picks in our fleet.
Don't get me wrong, though. It wasn't perfect. A few things about the A3 drove me nuts.
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on October 12, 2015
I came back from the weekend rather impressed with our 2015 Audi A3. It takes the stuff Audi does best — interior design, especially — and puts it in a smaller package with few downsides. In fact, the A3's smaller proportions make it easier to park and maneuver.
As luck would have it, an all-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic showed up for testing right after I turned in the Audi's keys. In being able to drive the two back-to-back, I was able to revisit the comparison James Riswick wrote in early 2014.
The short version? The comparison is still right, almost two years later.
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor @ 16,933 miles on October 2, 2015
One of the most groan-inducing experiences of car ownership is seeing the check engine light illuminated in the instrument panel. Unfortunately, one of these beauties popped up recently in our 2015 Audi A3. I wanted to get out from behind my desk for a few minutes, so I volunteered to make the run.
I didn't notice any odd behavior from the car (and I've spent a bit of time in it) during my drive to Santa Monica Audi for a diagnostic check.
by Matt Jones, Senior Editor on September 16, 2015
While driving to my brother's wedding in the Bay Area this past Saturday, I blew a tire in our long-term 2015 Audi A3.
The good news is that I was only about 100 yards away from my destination when I heard the "BLAM!" that threatened to put a damper on what promised to be an awesome weekend.
The new Mr. and Mrs. Jones picked a beautiful restaurant in Oakland's beautiful waterfront Jack London Square to exchange vows. But Embarcadero West, the street leading into the parking lot, isn't nearly as beautiful nor is it in the best condition. I was doing about 20 mph when I hit a pothole and boom: damaged sidewall city.
August 26, 2015
My mini-vacation mission was simple: drive up north on Pacific Coast Highway, visit wine country, see as much as possible, and hopefully do it in a company car.
Well, luck was on my side as I, a lowly video producer, somehow scored our long-term 2015 Audi A3. At first glance, it's hard to differentiate the A3 to the A4. It's only when you get in that you can see and feel how the interior space is more condensed. But besides the size difference, the other thing that struck me is the interior's minimalist design. Other than the slick-looking screen that slides in and out of the dash, the only other real focal points are the jet turbine-looking air vents.
July 29, 2015
I'm new to the whole auto journalist gig. I haven't had the opportunity to drive as many cars as my co-workers and most of the cars I have driven belonged to friends or family, with the occasional rental, taxi or dealership test drive thrown in. That was the only way I could get behind the wheel of something new or different until now.
I recently moved to Santa Monica, near the Edmunds headquarters. I grabbed the key fob to our long-term 2015 Audi A3 and decided to drive around my new city. Sitting in traffic - something I'm growing accustomed to - gave me plenty of time to explore the Audi's cabin.
July 26, 2015
I picked up our repaired 2015 Audi A3 in Boise, Idaho, 900 miles from home. There were several return routes to choose from, and I decided on a modified version of the route our team took when they picked up the 1989 Yugo GVL.
I planned to mirror their trip from Boise to Twin Falls via Interstate 84, then south on U.S. Route 93 to Ely, Nevada. From there I would divert to U.S. Route 6 and Nevada State Route 318 to reconnect with 93, ultimately hitting Interstate 15 near Las Vegas. After a night in Sin City, I'd travel south on I-15 and take I-10 west to the California Route 57 home.
I grabbed a few large bottles of water and began my journey back to California.
July 23, 2015
In the last eight weeks, our 2015 Audi A3 racked-up an easy 5,000 miles. Playing chase car from L.A. to Idaho for the purchase of our glorified 1989 Yugo test car earned us 1,800 miles round-trip, although the return was delayed when the A3 took a hit to its oil pan.
June 11, 2015
The "Drive Select" feature in our 2015 Audi A3 is a nice piece of technology. It allows you to adjust the throttle sensitivity, transmission program, steering weight and, if equipped, the suspension settings.
June 2, 2015
But the 2015 Audi A3 is a hot-seller for the Four Ring circus. In May, it outsold its larger sibling by 700 units. Year-to-date, the A3 is outpacing the A4 by more than 3,700 units. The A3 is in fact Audi's best-selling sedan year-to-date (this includes A3 convertible and S3 models as well).
That would seem to indicate that the A3 is doing exactly what Audi hoped it would: bring more buyers to the badge at a lower price, without sacrificing overall quality or cachet.
Can Audi let the A3 cannibalize A4 sales?
June 1, 2015
We have three entry-level luxury sedans in our long-term fleet right now: the Acura TLX, the 2015 Audi A3 and the 2015 Volvo S60. I haven't driven our TLX yet, but I've spent more than a week in both the A3 and S60. I like them both, but of the two, I'd buy the A3. Here's why.
May 10, 2015
When we last left off, many months ago, we'd spent the day flying to Houston, retrieving our 2015 Audi A3 from the port and knocking out a photoshoot. The next day we awoke to dreary skies, intending to make Lubbock that night, and setting us up for a run through New Mexico, Tucson, and the last leg home.
A flash rain shower outside of Houston let us test the A3's wipers. They worked. Freakishly well and fast, actually, as this was a hole in the sky that slowed interstate traffic to 35 mph. Then, just as abruptly, it ended. We had smooth sailing into the town of Lockhardt, near Austin, where we stopped for a late breakfast. Black's Barbecue is legend, but we opted instead for Kreuz Market and a half-pound of brisket, sausage links, mac-n-cheese and mini pecan pies.
May 1, 2015
Volkswagen is recalling more than 6,000 vehicles for possible fuel-pump failure, and some 2015 Audi A3 models are included in that sweep.
In its recall summary, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that "improper nickel plating of the components within the fuel pump may result in the fuel pump failing. If the fuel pump fails, the vehicle will not start, or if the engine is running, it will stop and the vehicle will stall, increasing the risk of a crash."
April 23, 2015
A few months ago I drove our long-term Kia K900 round-trip from Los Angeles to Phoenix. It was a trip that my cemented my impression of the car as underwhelming. Recently I took our long-term 2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro S Tronic on the same route. Call it a comparison test of sorts.
And you know what?
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.
February 18, 2015
With the exception of the R8, Audis have looked pretty much the same for the last 10 years. I feel like I should be tired of this design by now, and on a car like the A6 (which I feel is too big to be fun on a good road, yet too small to be out-and-out luxurious), I really am tired of it. Yet, our long-term 2015 Audi A3 sedan looks fresh and new to me every time I walk up to it.
February 13, 2015
A couple of months ago I struck up a conversation with a software developer from Mountain View, California. It turned out we had two similar interests: cars and babies. He told me about how he was planning to sell his previous-generation WRX STI hatchback because he had ordered a 2015 Audi S3, which he thought would be more practical for family use. He had even picked out an infant car seat for his 3-month-old son and color-matched it to the Audi's interior.
Ever the bearer of bad news, I congratulated him on the S3 purchase but said, "Don't be surprised if the rear-facing convertible car seat your son will need in a few months doesn't fit so well in the Audi. Those are a lot bigger, you know."
However, after a couple of nights in our identically sized 2015 Audi A3 sedan, I have to eat my words. See, I was way wrong. This car is a parent's dream for installing rear-facing convertible car seats. It's almost like Audi and its seat supplier factored that into the seat design.
February 11, 2015
I had just parked our long-term 2015 Audi A3 and was preparing to disembark when the alert you see above flashed up with a chime. Drivers sans skill? Welcome to Los Angeles.
February 4, 2015
In January, our long-term 2015 Audi A3 added 1,195 miles to its odometer while consuming just shy of 45 gallons of California's premium 91-octane gasoline. All up, this equates to 26.7 mpg for the month.
January 30, 2015
Our 2015 Audi A3 has a fair amount of equipment on it. We've got the bigger 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the mid-grade Premium Plus trim level, the MMI interface with navigation, and a Sport package.
One feature conspicuously missing, however, is a rearview camera.
January 28, 2015
Approximately three months into the year-long test of our 2015 Audi A3, we've cleared 5,000 miles. Based on our updates so far, the remaining nine months should be pretty great.
January 23, 2015
When Dan and Kurt drove our then-new 2015 Audi A3 from Houston to Los Angeles back in November, they observed that the A3 was pretty invisible on the roadway. No real head turns, no thumbs-up, no cell phone paparazzi. I suppose this shouldn't be a surprise. The A3's styling is pretty similar to Audi's other sedans, and that familiarity just isn't going to wow the motoring public when you're moving along at 65 mph.
That said, I've gotten quite a few compliments about our A3 when the car's been parked.
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.
January 16, 2015
I was poking around the menu of our 2015 Audi A3 and wondered what "Service Wallet" was. It turns out it should be called "Tutorial Materials" or something similar. Dive on in and you'll find a wealth of information, including but not limited to the proper use of the S Tronic automated manual transmission. There's a thorough explanation of how the transmission works (with nifty cut-away video) and how to use it properly. Pretty cool Easter Egg.
January 15, 2015
Even if our 2015 Audi A3 was my own car, looking down at all those button blanks would always make me wonder, "What option or feature did I not get on this car?" I had had enough, so I checked the owner's manual to find what labels might adorn this line of fixed blocks.
January 13, 2015
From the simple luxury of its cockpit to the wonderful driving dynamics, it is easy to see why the 2015 Audi A3 is one of our favorite entry-level luxury sedans. Having hard data to back up our driving impressions is crucial to objectively analyze a car, and the A3 gives its competitors a real workout on the performance front. We brought our new A3 to our test track to get a full picture of how the luxury subcompact fares against our old long-term Cadillac ATS and Mercedes-Benz CLA250.
December 30, 2014
Even though the 2015 Audi A3 is the smallest sedan in the company's range, it still offers a surprisingly roomy rear seat. In fact, one look at the official specs reveals some surprising numbers.
According to Audi, the A3 offers 35.1 inches of rear seat legroom. A meaningless number until you consider that the Audi A4, which has a nearly 7-inch longer wheelbase only has 35.2 inches of legroom.
December 23, 2014
One of the trick new features in our 2015 Audi A3 is a touchpad built into the control knob of the user interface, otherwise known as MMI in Audi speak. The touchpad allows you to draw numbers and letters when you're inputting an address instead of scrolling though the on-screen keyboard. It's a neat trick, but not all that useful.
December 18, 2014
Automotive journalists and automotive enthusiasts tend to think of cars in strict segments. This SUV "competes" with that SUV because it's based on a truck-based platform, this sport sedan "competes" with that sport sedan because they both have rear-wheel drive. Apples must compete with apples, plums must compete with plums.
December 15, 2014
The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) awarded the 2015 Audi A3 the top score of 5 stars in its overall safety rating. It scored four stars in the front crash test and rollover crash test, and five stars in the side crash test.
November 20, 2014
This should hardly be worth mentioning in a modern luxury car. I'm talking about simple, easy-to-use climate controls that can be used at a glance. Seems obvious, but plenty of cars get it wrong. Our 2015 Audi A3 is not one of them.
November 17, 2014
Our long-term 2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro S Tronic has an important message for me.
November 11, 2014
Texas. The unending plains state. Vast. Huge. Maybe the only state in the nation more self-absorbed than California. It's ironic that we're here to pick up one of Audi's most diminutive models in America.
We had two options: Wait several weeks for a truck to haul our new 2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro S Tronic long-termer back from Texas, or fly to Houston and ride it across the plains and southwest ourselves in a weekend. Around this office you only need the flimsiest of excuses for a road trip. Kurt Niebuhr and I raised our hands.
October 29, 2014
Our long-term 2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro S Tronic is a new, front-wheel-drive-based entry-level sedan from a German automaker. Our long-term Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 is a new, front wheel-drive-based entry-level sedan from a German automaker.
Despite these similarities, they are, in fact, different. I know, amazing stuff, right?
October 23, 2014
After giving the Mercedes-Benz CLA a try for a year, we figured the new A3 would be an interesting follow-up. With a base price of just over $30K, the A3 costs roughly the same and offers similar equipment and space. But does it offer something the Mercedes doesn't?