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.
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 come 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 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).
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.
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.
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Exterior: The exterior of this Audi is in excellent shape with no major flaws.
Interior: The interior is in excellent condition.
Mechanical: This vehicle is "Insight Certified" with no known mechanical defects after completing a 144 point mechanical inspection with required maintenance performed.
Tires: The tires are in excellent health with plenty of tread life remaining.