2015 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro Sedan – First Look and Review
The Audi A3 was introduced in Europe in 1996 as a three-door hatchback, as was its successor in 2003. In the United States, it was sold as a five-door “Sportback,” and, as my colleague Dan Collins noted in our sister publication The Diesel Driver in 2012, it “stood relatively unchallenged as a compact premium five-door hatchback,” with an optional diesel powerplant.
Hatchbacks, as it turns out, are not overly popular in the United States, a market that is very important to the Ingolstadt-based automaker; thus, the third generation A3 is being launched as a four-door sedan that dimensionally duplicates the original and quite popular Audi A4 that debuted in 1995.
The A4 has grown in size and the A3 is naturally following suit, emulating its sibling. Unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the new A3 went on sale in Europe later that year and is now coming to America as a 2015 model.
The premium small-sedan market is becoming a crowded space. Mercedes-Benz just launched the CLA-Class, and the two are far from alone in the segment.
The 2015 A3 sedan is the first member of the A3 family introduced by Audi, with other models, including the A3 Cabriolet and the A3 TDI clean diesel, expected to be rolled out progressively over the next 16 months.
The new model will be available in the United States with a choice of two engines, the 1.8 TFSI FWD and the 2.0 TFSI quattro, both paired to six-speed S tronic transmissions. The 1.8 develops 170 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque, while the 2.0 is capable of 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
THE 2015 AUDI A3 – EXTERIOR
At 175.5” in length and with a width of 70”, the 2015 A3 is Audi’s attempt at making a wider, longer car, while still remaining compact and sporty. From a distance, a casual observer would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the A3 and the A4 – or perhaps even the A6, so strong is the familial resemblance.
One differentiating factor however, is the sleek groove that extends from mid-tire level in the front to the back tire, at an ever so slightly inclined angle, which suggests an aggressive stance. The groove, I was told, is an important and necessary part of the car’s improved aerodynamic features. At the launch, Audi executives repeatedly pointed out that the car has “no unnecessary design element on it.”