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First Drive: 2015 Audi A3 2.0T

2015 Audi A3

In this modern age of advance technology, having the latest and greatest up-to-date iGizmo is a crucial state to one’s social status. The new Audi A3, now plays a big role in the up and coming generation of undeveloped hipsters who like their Starbucks with an extra shot of espresso while catching up on the latest Hollywood gossip.

The A3 isn’t as spunky as the BMW 228i and may not carry the snob value behind the Mercedes CLA, but the clean, sleek design won’t keep the adolescents from having a look… or two.  The underwhelming A3’s appearance isn’t brash or outlandish – typical Audi heritage – I like that! You will find some A6 inspiration design in the body work and the LED daytime running lamps are traditional Audi; elegant and crisp. The standard 17” 5-spoke aluminum wheels won’t leave you showing off either, but do add a nice unpolluted touch against our very business oriented Brilliant Black paint.

The platform is based on the new VW Golf GTI, and the A3 incorporates two engine alternatives depending on how much green you’re willing to fork out: 1.8-liter turbocharged 170-hp 4-cylinder engine or a 2.0-liter turbocharged 220-hp 4-cylinder engine with the Quattro all-wheel drive system. Our tested A3, featured the 2.0-liter TFSI engine reeling out 220-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque – which is the one I’d recommend. Both engines are hooked to a 6-speed automatic. Coupled to the 2.0-liter our tested A3 had the S-Tronic transmission with Sport mode. This 6-speed transmission is by far an exceptional arrangement fitted to a small size sedan. Engage sport mode and the throttle sensitivity and transmission mapping is completely refined for an agile, strident responsiveness.

From start-up, the A3 is slow; the presence of turbo lag is significant. As soon as the turbo kicks in at 2,500 rpm, it’s like someone engaged the thrusters and the A3 shoots off like a rocket; suddenly you’re passing 60 mph in less than 5.3 seconds, continuously watching the needle effortlessly near 100 mph.  Thankfully the A3 will top out at 130 mph… for your own safety. Driving through town or on the open highway the A3 is smooth, quiet and refine. Road noise is noticeable, but minimal, and there is always a slight reminder that pot holes still exist. The A3’s handling capabilities will surely not be disappointing – steering is about as precise as a typical German sedan with a good range of feedback and drivability from the steering wheel.

The unfortunate part is that most of the A3 consumers won’t technically care about the way it drives but simply the way it looks – for those that do care, they’ll probably wait for the hot S3 version. The A3’s overall interior design maintains a sleek and modern expression – naturally absorbed with business black leather and black soft-touch materials. As part of the $450 Aluminum Style Package; the Aluminum Mistral inlays used throughout added a fashionable touch to the already dull corporate attitude – this package also includes high-gloss aluminum exterior window surrounds. Consumers will take enjoyment out of the pop-out display, turbine air vents and the simplicity of the center mounted controls that gives the driver easy access to all the menus.

Being that our tested Audi A3 was a basic ‘Premium’ trim, the passenger had to suffer through an intensive manual adjustable seat, while the driver used a 12-way power adjustable seat. Because this A3 was fitted with the $500 Cold Weather Package – I had heated fronts seats with heated exterior mirrors and heated windshield washer nozzles. But the big bucks are spent behind the fantastic $1,900 MMI Navigation system – a system well worth investing in. The downside to this base Premium trim is that you are left with a large amount of blank buttons reminiscing that you went cheap when filling out the options check list.

There are multiple issues with the A3 that must be addressed. While the front seats are comfortable and well supportive, the rear seats… simply put, are not. No passenger over 5’-6” will have leg room, and even with the sedan styled roof line… there is no head room either. Storage space – remember, young hipsters with their giant designer sunglasses will buy this car… where do you suppose they are stored or any other storable items like cellphones or loose change? The trunk space is also tight (to say the least). And this may seem farfetched but nonetheless; as our tester was nearing $37k, after options, this A3 didn’t include a back-up camera or the trendy Smart Key fob with push button start.

Luckily, most of the A3 consumers will look pass the negative bits and will find somewhere to store their items, and as the owner you won’t be stuck riding in the back. Instead, the standard panorama moon roof will be shining through providing the much needed natural light for your ‘selfie’ picture. You’ll be pleased with the comfortable leather wrapped steering wheel and Audi’s red instrument panel. And the excellent fuel economy of 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway with a combined average of 29 mpg; which means, less fuel ups and some extra cash in your bank account – enough for your Starbucks latte. Using the recommended Premium Grade fuel, the A3 does provided a tremendous 400 miles of range.

At the end of the day the A3 is an excellent small size sedan. The 2.0T engine is very enjoyable and the overall drive is outstanding. The biggest let down to the Audi A3 was its lack in features – features that can be found in $25,000 cars. But if you’re willing to overlook its features and maintain that status quo, the Audi A3 is by far worth a look… or two.

Price (As-Tested):
2015 Audi A3 2.0T: $32,900
Destination: $895
Notable Standard Features:
Panorama Sunroof
Audi Xenon Plus Headlamps w/ LED DRL’s & Taillights
Leather Interior w/ 12-Way Power Adjustable Driver Side
17″ 5-Spoke Ally Wheels
Featured Options:
Credit: From Dual-Zone Climate Ctrl to Single -($350)
Audi Music Interface with iPod Cable: $350
Aluminum Style Package: $450
Cold Weather Package: $500
Audi MMI Navigation Plus: $1,900
Grand Total: $36,645


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