KBB Editors' Overview
By Micah Muzio - Updated Date: 3/10/2014
Audi's player in the rapidly expanding entry-luxury segment is the sub-$30,000 (destination charges not included) 2015 A3 sedan. Happily that price tag comes attached to a car you'd actually want to drive. Both sporty and welcoming, the all-new A3 and sportier S3 may be small, but they're a pleasure to live with – a standard panoramic sunroof, bi-xenon headlights and leather seating only sweeten the deal. The new-for-2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA is a prime competitor, as are the cheaper Acura ILX and Buick Verano, but the A3 distinguishes itself as a traditional premium sedan available with a fuel-efficient diesel engine or in a fun convertible version. A hatchback will eventually join the lineup. We like the A3 and we're guessing luxury buyers looking to downsize will too.
You'll Like This Car If...
You'll like the Audi A3 if you're in the market for a smaller and consequently cheaper luxury car. More traditional than the Mercedes-Benz CLA and more legit than the Acura ILX, the new A3 feels like a real-deal premium car, and an available diesel engine is unique to the class.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The 2015 A3 sedan has its charms, but it is not a major risk taker. For bold styling, the Mercedes-Benz CLA is a better choice, while the BMW 2 Series Coupe is arguably more thrilling to drive. That said, prospective A3 buyers looking for a greater balance between performance, style and value should consider stepping up to the 292-horsepower Audi S3.
What's New for 2015
The Audi A3 and high-performance S3 sedans are all-new for 2015. Joining the lineup are a fuel-efficient diesel engine and a fun-to-drive convertible.
From the driver's seat, the new A3 feels compact, not in a disconcerting, exposed way, but rather like the unnecessary mass has been removed. Small-car fans will find a lot to like here. The supple ride and quiet cabin help make daily commutes or long-distance travel all the more tolerable. Despite its stable, pleasant demeanor on the freeway, the A3 remains impressively agile in the corners. While the performance-focused Audi S3 rides stiffer, it won't make your daily commute a cringe-worthy affair. Currently, the A3 comes with two turbocharged gasoline powertrains – a front-wheel-drive 170-horsepower 1.8-liter that eagerly sprints to 60 mph in slightly more than seven seconds, or an all-wheel-drive 220-horsepower 2.0-liter that does the run to 60 in less than six seconds. The 2.0-liter TDI diesel offers excellent fuel economy without sacrificing performance. Knocking out gear changes with impressive speed and smoothness, a standard 6-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic transmission rounds out the A3's well-sorted dynamic package.
BANG & OLUFSEN AUDIO
We're suckers for a sweet stereo, and the A3's optional 705-Watt, 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen unit certainly qualifies. We've loved the sweet B&O audio found in Audi's larger vehicles, so it's a real pleasure to see that excellence trickle down to the brand's most frugal offering.
AUDI ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL WITH STOP & GO
Not only can the new A3's adaptive cruise control automatically maintain a pre-selected distance from the car ahead, it can bring the vehicle to stop if needed. Your daydreaming commutes just got a little safer.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…