by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on October 7, 2015
One bit of trickle-down tech benefiting our junior 2015 Audi A3 is a power hideaway infotainment screen. Press a button and it quickly tucks into the dash. The feature is neat. It's clean. It's smooth. And it's not long for this world.
The 2017 Audi A4, which I test drove a few weeks ago, didn't have a hideaway touchscreen. Audi skipped the feature on the new car, citing an internal study that showed too few people actually used it on the previous A4. This made me realize that I didn't use it much, either.
And what's true for the upcoming A4 is likely true for the next A3.
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 6, 2015
I drove our long-term 2012 Audi A8 quite a bit, and I remember struggling at first to get the hang of the Multi Media Interface (MMI) system. What would it be like now that I was in our 2015 Audi A3 for the first time?
May 8, 2015
My daughter likes to remind me that she's all about the bass, no treble, and I tell her that's great if she wants to play in a good rhythm section someday. It worked well enough for Charles Mingus, Ron Carter and Carol Kaye, after all. I then like to remind her that the Volkswagen group does great, old school-style digital audio controls better than anyone, like in our 2015 Audi A3 and our long-term GTI of days past.
That's about when she fixes me with a quizzical stare, says I'm weird, and I realize that I'm on a fast track to no longer being the coolest guy in her world.
March 24, 2015
The 2015 Audi A3 is one of the first vehicles to offer a 4G LTE connection as part of its $2,600 MMI Navigation Plus package. This package includes things like the MMI interface knob with handwriting recognition, a color driver-information display and Audi Connect.
Audi Connect is the suite of programs that take advantage of the high-speed connection to provide things like Google Earth, Google Voice search and social media integration. It also creates an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices.
The idea is that maybe you need to get some work done on your laptop while at an offsite. Or maybe you have kids in the back that would be quiet if only they could watch some cartoons on an iPad. Seems like a handy enough feature, but is it actually good?
I ran an informal test to find out.
March 12, 2015
There's a wicked-awesome guitar solo at the 2:50-mark in the Red Hot Chili Peppers song, "Strip My Mind." If you were living under a rock in 2006 and missed the Stadium Arcadium album, I recommend you stop reading this and go listen to it now. It's a double album (sub-titled Mars and Jupiter) and it's an excellent way to spend 123 minutes.
Last week, I drove to work in our long-term 2015 Audi A3 with Stadium Acradium pumping through the Audi's speakers the only way it should be played: at full volume. It wasn't quite 9:00 a.m. by the time I parked at the Edmunds garage, and I should've been in the throes of a full-blown air-guitar solo. I wasn't though and it was the Audi's fault.
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.
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 6, 2015
I was driving to an Edmunds testing session in our 2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro S Tronic just a few days ago when the infotainment system had a minor meltdown (the photo you see here is a near-reenactment of the event, not the actual event).
I had a CD going in the glove box player, and it was 21 seconds into Shovels and Rope's "Kemba's Got the Cabbage Moth Blues" when the song stopped and a high-pitched warning sound reverberated throughout the cabin.
Now at this point you might be asking, "Who the heck still listens to CDs?" Answer: Old Man Monticello, at least when I get a new one in and before I transfer it to my iPod.
To that point, I ask, "Who the heck still puts CD players in glove boxes in 2015?" Answer: Audi.
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 17, 2014
In 2012, Apple introduced the iPhone 5 which ditched the 30-pin connector and replaced it with the skinny, multi-directional Lightning port. It was a functional win, but apparently, Audi doesn't agree. Our 2015 Audi A3 still has a 30-pin.
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.