Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Superior cabin quality and design
- efficient and punchy engines
- nimble handling, ample equipment.
- Small trunk
- cramped backseat
- rearview camera not easily available.
The 2015 Audi A3 is the benchmark for a new, smaller segment of entry-level luxury vehicles. It's definitely small, which may be an issue for some, but it's no less luxurious or rewarding to drive than pricier Audis.
Is a size 6 Manolo Blahnik inferior to a size 9? Is a caramel mocha latte any less tasty because you opted for tall rather than venti? The answer is no, and it goes to show that size isn't always an indication of an object's excellence.
In the past, cars have certainly not followed this model. Bigger was better, small was cheap and undesirable. Today, however, the 2015 Audi A3 is the best example of a new, smaller and more fuel-efficient premium car that provides a similar level of quality, equipment and driving experience to its bigger, more elite siblings. A commensurately lower price also puts luxury brands like Audi within reach of newer and/or younger car shoppers.
Although there was a previous-generation A3, its hatchback body style and overall design gave the impression of a really nice compact car done up in leather and fancy gadgets rather than that of an authentically luxurious machine worthy of a higher asking price. The all-new 2015 A3, by comparison, aligns more closely with the American definition of a luxury car. Basically, the A3 sedan looks and feels like an A4 or A6 that got left in the dryer on high heat. The same is true of the A3 convertible and its mini-me relationship to the Audi A5 convertible. Much like the A5, the A3 goes with a fabric soft top instead of a folding metal roof. It may not look as modern, but the cloth top lowers quickly and takes up less space in the trunk, which is at a premium in such a small car.
Whether you go with the coupe or the convertible, the A3's biggest assets include an impeccably constructed interior, generous standard equipment, an ample options list, nimble handling and appealing engines. Those engines consist of two different punchy and efficient turbocharged gasoline four-cylinders, plus an ultra-economical diesel engine. There's also the high-performance 2015 Audi S3 sedan. The car's main downsides just relate to its size. There's no getting around the fact that the A3 has a cramped backseat and a small trunk. They are without question the 2015 Audi A3's "biggest" drawbacks.
Yet, in an Edmunds comparison test, the 2015 Audi A3 sedan easily proved superior to the similarly sized, equipped and priced Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. The A3 also compares well to other, larger sedans. Traditional entry-level luxury sedans like the BMW 320i and 2015 Volvo S60 offer similar equipment, though they are also bigger and pricier. If you're looking for a two-door alternative to the A3 Cabriolet, we'd recommend the BMW 2 Series for its sporty driving dynamics. In the end, though, the A3 offers the most luxury-branded equipment, refinement and prestige for the least amount of money. It goes to show there's certainly no shame in getting the small one.
2015 Audi A3 models
The 2015 Audi A3 comes either as a four-door compact sedan with seating for five or a two-door convertible called the Cabriolet, with seating for four. There is one main trim level, Premium, which can be enhanced with the Premium Plus and Prestige option packages. Both the sedan and convertible can be equipped with either four-cylinder engine, denoted by 1.8 TFSI or 2.0 TFSI. The sedan also gets the option of the 2.0 TDI (diesel) engine. Trim levels for the sedan and convertible have essentially the same equipment, with the exception of the convertible's folding fabric top.
The base Premium trim levels comes standard with 17-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, automatic wipers, cruise control, a sunroof, an eight-way power driver seat (with four-way power lumbar), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the MMI electronics interface (with center console controls and dash-top rising screen) and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, and an SD card slot. The Cold Weather package adds heated front seats, side mirrors and windshield washer nozzles. Eighteen-inch wheels and an iPod interface are available separately.
The Premium Plus includes all those optional items as standard and adds keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone climate control and an eight-way power passenger seat (with four-way power lumbar). The Premium Plus Convenience package adds power-folding side mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors (including interior) and ambient interior lighting. Also for Premium Plus is the Driver Assistance package that adds a blind-spot monitoring system, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors and an automated parking system.
Optional on both Premium trims is a navigation system, which also includes a larger display screen, an enhanced touch-activated controller, voice controls and a color trip computer display. The Premium version automatically includes the iPod interface, while the Premium Plus version gets Audi connect (WiFi hotspot, various Internet-based smartphone applications).
The Prestige includes all of the above optional equipment, plus LED headlights, an "S line" exterior appearance package and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. The Advance Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning system and a front collision warning and braking system.
For Premium and Prestige A3s, a Sport package is available that adds front sport seats, steering wheel shift paddles and adjustable vehicle settings known as Drive Select. A3 sedans can also be equipped with rear side airbags.
Performance & mpg
Every 2015 Audi A3 comes standard with a six-speed automated manual transmission and provides a choice of turbocharged four-cylinder engines named 1.8 TFSI or 2.0 TFSI. The A3 sedan gets a third engine option known as the 2.0 TDI. The numbers indicate engine displacement; the letters indicate whether it's powered by gasoline or diesel.
The front-wheel-drive A3 1.8 TFSI produces 170 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. Audi estimates that it'll go from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. The EPA estimates for the A3 start with the 1.8 TFSI sedan that will return 27 mpg combined (23 city/33 highway), while the 1.8-equipped convertible will get 28 mpg combined (24/35).
The 2.0 TFSI produces 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and comes standard with all-wheel drive. In Edmunds testing, an A3 2.0 TFSI sedan accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a quick 5.8 seconds. As a four-door sedan, it essentially gets the same fuel economy as the 1.8 TFSI (27 mpg combined), though the EPA city rating is actually higher at 24 mpg. The 2.0 TFSI convertible is a bit lower at 26 mpg combined (23/32).
The TDI has a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine good for 150 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, and it's only available with the sedan. In our testing, the A3 2.0 TDI went from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds. The diesel A3 returns an EPA-estimated 36 mpg combined (31/43).
Every 2015 Audi A3 comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front knee airbags, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and automatic seatbelt tightening and window closing (Audi Pre-Sense) in the case of a potential frontal collision. Rear side airbags are optional for sedans.
Standard with the Prestige and optional on the Premium Plus is the Driver Assistance package, which includes a blind-spot warning system, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and an automated parking system. Optional on the Prestige is the Advance Technology package that adds lane-departure warning, frontal collision warning and frontal collision mitigation (with automatic braking) systems.
In government crash tests, the 2015 Audi A3 sedan was given a total of five stars (out of five possible) for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side crash protection. During Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the A3 sedan received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the small-overlap and moderate-overlap frontal impact tests. It also earned a "Good" rating for the side impact, roof strength and whiplash protection (head restraints and seats) tests.
In Edmunds brake testing, an A3 2.0 TFSI with 17-inch wheels and all-season tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet -- a few feet better than average. An A3 TDI with the optional (and grippier) 18-inch summer tires stopped quite a bit shorter than that at 105 feet, which is an excellent performance.
Compared with other small luxury vehicles, the 2015 Audi A3 feels more grown-up: an honest-to-goodness luxury car instead of a fancy compact. With the standard 17-inch all-season tires, the ride is composed and comfortable, the cabin is quiet and the turbocharged engines provide a solid wallop of low-end power that provides confidence around town and on the freeway. Superb fuel economy helps as well.
If you opt for the 18-inch summer tires (as on the Edmunds.com long-term A3 2.0 TFSI), you'll find that the ride is still livable on most roads but sometimes harsh over major bumps and ruts. The summer tires also contribute to more noise in the cabin, as does the diesel engine, which is rattly when idling in traffic but quiet once you're up to speed.
Surprisingly, the A3 doesn't feel especially sprightly when driving around town, mainly because the steering is a tad too light at lower speeds. However, it perks up when driving around tight turns with more enthusiasm. This athletic character is even more noticeable on A3s equipped with the summer tires, which hasten the car's reactions to driver inputs. Particularly when equipped with the 2.0-liter engine and all-wheel drive, the A3 can feel like a lithe running back in bankers' clothing. Just because the A3 is the smallest Audi doesn't mean that you're getting less of a luxury sport sedan.
While the 2015 A3's exterior closely resembles that of other Audis, the interior establishes a new course and leaves a more lasting impression. Though some may prefer flashier cabins adorned in swaths of wood or metal, the ultra-modern A3 is beautiful in its simplicity. Yet when you look deeper beyond its broader, minimalist look, you begin to appreciate its top-notch materials and intricate details like its ornate, jet-engine-inspired air vents, finely crafted switchgear and the fluid action of the MMI display as it rises from and lowers back into the dash.
Every A3 includes that screen, but its display size depends on whether you opt for navigation. So, too, does the rotary controller. Without nav, it's just a knob. With it, there is a pad on top that allows you to write letters with your finger when entering a destination. It's cool and it works. Regardless of MMI version, however, controls for the stereo and other audio systems may take some time to get used to (especially if you're used to a car with traditional dash-mounted stereo buttons), but they eventually become second nature.
Space is likely to be an issue with the A3. The front seat is mounted a bit high and lacks lateral support, but a more significant issue is the backseat. Though more spacious than the rear seat of a Mercedes CLA-Class, headroom and legroom are limited. You'll find more space in compact cars like a Honda Civic, let alone bigger entry-level luxury sedans like the BMW 320i. The convertible is likely to be even shorter on legroom, so don't expect to put much back there aside from some extra luggage or a child's booster seat. Even that may be a struggle.
For trunk space, pretty much any other car will have more space. Even the larger sedan has to make do with a tiny 10-cubic-foot trunk that struggles to fit a golf bag or a weekend's worth of luggage for four passengers (that's if they could all fit in the cabin).
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover10.9%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More About This Model
Many buyers hunting for a fuel-efficient small car might instinctively think "hybrid" first. But since 2010, Audi has offered an alternative in the form of the A3 TDI hatchback, a diesel model that could rival hybrids for fuel efficiency. Redesigned for 2015, the A3 TDI now comes as a sedan only and features an upgraded 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine that delivers smoother operation, slightly more power, improved fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions. It's still tight on space, but in every other respect the A3 TDI is an attractive and practical sedan that might make you rethink that hybrid.
What Is It?
The Audi A3 TDI is a diesel-powered compact entry-level luxury sedan. It features a clean-sheet redesign for 2015 with a sharper style that looks more upscale, as well as a larger interior that will make it more competitive with other small luxury sedans.
The breadth of Audi's A3 lineup of vehicles is far more extensive than before. The car is available as a sedan, convertible (Cabriolet) and, next year, a hatchback called the Sportback. If you want all-wheel drive, the only A3 models that offer it are the gasoline 2.0T and high-performance S3 sedans. The new TDI comes exclusively as a front-wheel-drive sedan.
The 2.0-liter turbodiesel, called TDI in Audi's nomenclature, is a revised version of the engine that powered the last-generation A3 TDI. The new diesel now delivers 150 horsepower (10 more than before) and 236 pound-feet of torque. Though these hard numbers are nearly identical to the diesel in the last A3, Audi has made quite a lot of internal upgrades to ensure the engine is not only better to drive but quieter and cleaner than before, too.
The TDI is paired exclusively with a six-speed Sportronic transmission. What exactly does that mean? Sportronic is a sophisticated dual-clutch automated manual transmission that acts very much like a traditional automatic most of the time. However, during spirited driving with the transmission in Sport mode, the shifts are often crisper and quicker than many automatics. In manual mode, the transmission allows the driver to upshift (by pushing the gearshift lever forward) or downshift (by pulling the gearshift lever back) and that translates into a more fun and involving drive.
What Body Styles and Trim Levels Does It Come in?
For the 2015 model year, the A3 TDI is only available as a sedan with front-wheel drive, although next year a four-door hatchback version (Sportback in Audi terms) will join it.
The TDI starts at $33,495 (Premium model) and that price buys you quite a few standard features including a leather interior with a power driver seat, sunroof, separate driver and passenger zones for climate control and a safety system called Pre-Sense Basic. Pre-Sense can detect if the driver is performing an emergency maneuver to avoid a collision and readies the vehicle by tensioning the seatbelts. This system helps keep passengers properly aligned in the seats so the other safety systems like seatbelts and airbags can do their jobs properly.
The A3 is equipped with standard electronic stability control and plenty of airbags (front, side, knee, rear and side curtain). So thorough are the standard safety systems in the A3 that the car earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus this year, with a "Good" in all five categories, the company's highest rating.
The A3 TDI's price tag might start in the low $30Ks, but as with many luxury cars today that sticker climbs quickly when expensive technology is added. Available options include Audi's MMI Touch with navigation, 4G LTE Internet connectivity from AT&T, a rearview camera with parking plus (provides acoustic warnings if objects are detected), adaptive cruise control (automatically maintains a preset distance between you and the vehicle in front, even in traffic), active lane assist (warns you if you are drifting out of your lane), and Audi Drive Select, which allows the driver to tailor vehicle systems to match the road conditions. The top Prestige trim level for the A3 TDI is $41,945.
How Does It Drive?
As soon as you grip the sporty steering wheel of the A3, you realize it's not going to be a boring drive. Audi says the TDI will run to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. That's slightly slower than any of the other A3 models but quicker than many other "high-efficiency" cars.
The TDI driver won't long for more around-town thrust because this engine has a great rush of torque at very low engine speeds that makes the modest 2.0-liter feel like a much larger engine. In fact, the diesel is strong enough that you can often maintain speed on steep freeway grades without needing to downshift to a lower gear — which of course helps fuel economy.
Audi's German sport sedan roots can be felt in the bones of this car. It rides firm, but not hard enough to make you spill your morning coffee on your pants. Occupants will certainly feel larger potholes and pavement ripples, though, a trait that is largely the result of the optional 18-inch wheels and tires that were on our test car. The TDI is still a very easy car to live with. We logged more than 700 miles behind the wheel of one over the course of two days, and after each long stint behind the wheel, we arrived without fatigue.
At its core, the A3 is a fun-to-drive car that likes a curvy road. It feels nimble and light, which makes it easy to drive quickly. The optional 18-inch tires on our test car delivered very good grip, while the firm suspension controlled body lean well. It takes a lot of speed to finally hit the limits of the A3 TDI's capabilities. To go beyond them requires you to step up to the more expensive and hotly tuned S3 sedan. But then, you'd of course be sacrificing some efficiency for speed.
What Kind of Mileage Does It Deliver?
If the A3 TDI has a prime directive, it is to deliver excellent fuel economy along with its sporty demeanor. There's a $2,700 premium for the TDI above the cost of a front-drive 1.8T gasoline A3. And for that extra cash, you'll get an extra 9 mpg combined, according to the EPA. The official figure is 36 mpg combined (31 city/43 highway) that can be beaten easily if you drive with a careful right foot.
In order to prove just how efficient the A3 TDI can be, we competed in Audi's TDI Challenge. It was essentially a marathon fuel economy run from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to San Diego, California. That's an 800-mile stretch that we attempted to cover on just one tank. We didn't make it the entire distance but did manage 714 miles on one tank, which equates to almost 56.5 mpg. Impressive, considering we drove that distance only just below the speed limit with the air-conditioning on.
How Does It Rate in Terms of Interior Comfort?
The A3 looks just like a scaled-down version of Audi's larger A4 and A6 sedans. On the inside, the A3 certainly feels expensive and provides perhaps class-leading attention to materials and overall interior execution. It's a great place to spend time on a long drive.
On our MMI Navigation Plus-equipped test car, the rocker-type toggles for navigation, telephone, radio and media feel reassuringly solid. And similarly, the silver rings that open and close the circular vents move with a precision that isn't usually found in a car of this price class. Just about every surface you touch feels expensive in this car and reminds you why spending a little more for a luxury brand can make everyday drives better.
The nav screen, which is about as slim as an iPhone 6, looks very expensive with bright beautiful colors. We particularly like that this nav system displays both current elevation and the speed limit for the road you are travelling. The infotainment hardware and interface as well as the simple, uncluttered dash are really the benchmarks for other brands competing in this class.
As good as the furnishings are, the living space inside is certainly tight. Yes, the wheelbase is longer than that of the old A3 Sportback, but that rear seat still isn't limolike. It's tight for a 6-footer in the backseat. And adults in that size range will find the backseat somewhat confining if they need to sit behind someone who's equally tall.
At 12.3 cubic feet, the A3 has a reasonably roomy trunk, if slightly smaller than both the Lexus CT 200 hybrid (14.3 cubic feet) and the Mercedes-Benz CLA (13.1 cubes). But more importantly, the old A3 Sportback delivered 19.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up and nearly 40 cubes with them folded. So if large load-carrying capacity is the reason you bought the last A3, wait until next year for the Sportback TDI.
What Are Its Closest Competitors?
There are only a handful of cars that blend the style, luxury features and fuel-efficiency of the A3 TDI at the same price point. And none of them are diesel-powered.
The BMW i3 electric vehicle is much more radical in both its style and its powertrain than either the Lexus CT 200h or the Audi. And at least visually, there's much more punch from the i3 than most $40,000 cars. BMW's small EV is an interesting alternative for those buyers looking for a mix of alternative power and ultrahigh-tech luxury.
The Lexus CT 200h is in many ways the closest competitor to the A3 TDI. The hybrid CT 200 delivers a solid 42-mpg combined and the Lexus is priced a little less than $1,000 below the A3 at just over $32,000. The hatchback bodywork offers a level of practicality that the A3 sedan doesn't have, but the Lexus is much slower than the Audi and it doesn't sound pleasant when accelerating hard. The Lexus is also less rewarding to drive and feels disconnected and artificial rather than engaging like the A3.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
It delivers exceptional fuel efficiency generally, yet flies under the radar. It looks just like any other Audi — so it doesn't shout its mission to the world — yet it provides the same rewarding drive and luxury features as every other A3. If driving a little cleaner and greener appeal to you (and your wallet) but you'd like to retain an upscale and entertaining drive experience, this compact sedan is a great choice.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
Hybrids can find fuel at any gas station. The same cannot be said for diesel-powered vehicles, especially in urban areas. The A3 TDI isn't the best choice for bigger families, as there are larger sedans that can handle people and cargo better. Also consider that Volkswagen's Golf TDI offers the very same diesel engine in a hatchback package at a lower price.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan Overview
The Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan is offered in the following styles: 1.8 TFSI Premium 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 2.0 TFSI Premium Plus quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 2.0 TFSI Premium quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 1.8 TFSI Premium Plus 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 2.0 TDI Premium Plus 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), 2.0 TDI Premium 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), 2.0 TFSI Prestige quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 1.8 TFSI Prestige 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), and 2.0 TDI Prestige 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM). Pre-owned Audi A3 Sedan models are available with a 1.8 L-liter gas engine or a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 220 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan comes with front wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed automated manual. The Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan?
Price comparisons for Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan trim styles:
- The Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Premium quattro is priced between $17,996 and$22,998 with odometer readings between 31709 and79303 miles.
- The Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan 1.8 TFSI Premium is priced between $18,998 and$25,998 with odometer readings between 28611 and79088 miles.
- The Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan 1.8 TFSI Premium Plus is priced between $17,800 and$19,999 with odometer readings between 48406 and64707 miles.
- The Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Premium Plus quattro is priced between $20,990 and$21,850 with odometer readings between 58719 and59081 miles.
- The Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TDI Premium is priced between $20,499 and$20,499 with odometer readings between 45209 and45209 miles.
- The Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Prestige quattro is priced between $25,999 and$25,999 with odometer readings between 32730 and32730 miles.
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Which used 2015 Audi A3 Sedans are available in my area?
Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan Listings and Inventory
There are currently 23 used and CPO 2015 Audi A3 Sedans listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $17,800 and mileage as low as 28611 miles. Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2015 Audi A3 Sedan.
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Find a used Audi A3 for sale - 2 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $23,118.
Find a used Audi for sale - 10 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $15,876.
Find a used certified pre-owned Audi A3 for sale - 2 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $21,560.
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Should I lease or buy a 2015 Audi A3?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.