Remember a time when cars were simpler and more affordable? The 2015 Audi A3 1.8T harkens back to those times as much as any premium car manufacturer can.
First, you would not know this car’s frugal intentions by looking at it from the outside. The A3 is a looker and the appearance communicates a sporty and luxurious character. It’s better to look at in person, rather than in pictures. Unique LED running lights up front, the powerful wheel arches, and aerodynamically sculpted trunk lid combine for a pleasing exterior. This Scuba Blue color helps the car stand out.
The interior greets you with a new theme highlighted by four large round air vents. Before you start the engine the center infotainment screen is hidden inside the dash, and the lack of button clutter on the center stack is a little odd and very refreshing. Finally, somebody figured out how to remove many buttons, but still have a functional system. By the way, you actually have to put the traditional key into the ignition to start this entry-level A3. This is when you begin to notice the value-minded approach. There is also no keyless entry. Also, cost and weight are saved with the manual seat adjustment for the front passenger. The driver still enjoys a power adjustable unit. This car weighs in at about 3,175 lbs.
This front wheel drive tester has a starting price of $29,900 before destination charges, and after you add the $1,900 Navigation system with MMI touch pad, cold weather package, aluminum style, and beautiful blue metallic – the bottom line is $34,345.
Still there is nothing second class about the eager 1.8L turbocharged four-cylinder with 170 hp and 200 lb-ft (starting at 1,600 rpm). This is 16 pound feet more torque then you would find in the VW Jetta SE. The all-new 1.8 turbo revs quickly and pulls strong. The 6-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic makes easy work of gear swapping. The steering has a little loose on-center feel, but otherwise makes for good experience. The car still feels like a proper Audi. It’s just a smaller and simpler Audi.
Check out this fun and informative TFLcar first drive video of the 2015 Audi A3 from California. We will have much more on this 1.8T model soon.
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been a contributor at TFL since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or simply ‘going for a drive’.