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2015 Audi A3 Review

The 2015 Audi A3 ranks near the bottom of the luxury small car class because of its poor reliability rating, small trunk, and the greater all-around appeal of its rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Strong turbocharged engines
  • Agile handling
  • Elegant interior
  • Poor reliability rating
  • Small trunk
  • Cramped rear seats

7.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.5
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Audi A3 Overview

Is the 2015 Audi A3 a Good Used Car?

The Audi A3 is an OK luxury small car. It has a refined interior, a lineup of powerful engines, and spirited handling. Also, its infotainment system is easy to use. However, the A3’s cramped rear seats and small trunk limit its practicality, and it has the lowest possible reliability rating.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our Audi A3 review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 25 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2015 Audi A3?

Based on more than 850 listings for the 2015 Audi A3 on our site, the average price is $20,600. Prices range from $15,800 to $27,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s mileage, condition, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2015 Audi A3 Cost to Own?

The A3’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs are projected to be around $27,940, or $5,588 per year. That’s below average for the class. For comparison, those same costs for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class are estimated to be around $3,580 more.

Compare the A3 and C-Class »

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Audi A3?

With an average list price of $20,600, the 2015 A3 will save you nearly $12,000 compared to a new base A3 sedan. However, the new 2019 A3 has a stronger base engine, heated front seats, and standard safety features including a rearview camera, forward collision warning, and brake assist. If those updates aren’t important to you, stick with an older model.

Read about the new A3 »

No new luxury small cars can compete with the average list price of a 2015 A3, and only one can contend with its high-end price. The 2019 Acura ILX starts at $25,900. It doesn’t come with all-wheel drive, but compared to the Audi, the Acura has more standard safety features, a stronger base engine, a slightly larger trunk, and available connectivity features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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Which Model Year of the Audi A3 Is Best?

Audi redesigned the A3 and introduced the S3 as an all-new car for the 2015 model year. Since then, there have been a few significant updates. A rearview camera became standard in the 2016 A3, and for 2017, Audi refreshed its luxury small car, giving it a stronger base engine and an improved transmission, as well as more standard safety features. Two USB ports and heated front seats became standard in the 2018 A3. For many shoppers, the 2017 A3 is the most appealing choice.

Shoppers who want the high-performance Audi RS 3 will have to stick with 2018-or-newer models. The e-tron plug-in-hybrid hatchback debuted for 2016 and was discontinued for the 2019 model year.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 A3 »

How Reliable Is the 2015 Audi A3?

The 2015 Audi A3 has a poor reliability rating of two out of five from J.D. Power. It’s the lowest rating a vehicle can receive from J.D. Power. Along with the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the A3 has the worst rating in the class.

Read more about A3 reliability »

2015 Audi A3 Recalls

At the time of writing, there are four recalls for the 2015 Audi A3. Two of the recalls deal with the air bags. A possible malfunction may cause the passenger air bag to deactivate, and the side air bag may not deploy because of incorrect seat stitching. Another recall involves the fuel pump, which could fail because of improper plating. Finally, a problem with the suction pump could cause a fuel leak in some models.

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Audi A3 safety recalls »

Which Used Audi A3 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2015 A3 comes in two body types: sedan and convertible (cabriolet). The hatchback body style was dropped with the redesign. There are three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. A high-performance S3 model is available as well, and it is offered in the Premium Plus and Prestige trims.

Audi designates the A3’s powertrains as 1.8T (front-wheel drive only), 2.0T (all-wheel drive only), and TDI diesel (front-wheel drive only). They can be mixed and matched across the trim levels. Be aware that TDI models were affected by the Volkswagen emissions scandal and may require modification.

The entry-level Premium trim is well-equipped, making it a great value, although shoppers after more safety features should look to a Prestige model or find a Premium Plus trim outfitted with a package. Standard features include the MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch display, a 10-speaker stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, leather seats, xenon headlights, and alloy wheels. The sedan also comes with a panoramic sunroof and a 12-way power-adjustable front seat.

When it was new, Audi offered the Premium trim with individual options such as navigation, handwriting recognition, and heated front seats.

The Premium Plus model features dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and larger alloy wheels. The sedan has a 12-way power-adjustable front passenger seat as well. You may also find models with a Wi-Fi hot spot (Audi Connect), a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, front sport seats, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, navigation, and handwriting recognition.

The Prestige is the top-of-the-line model and comes with just about everything listed above, as well as S-Line sporty exterior styling. Audi Drive Select, which lets you choose between driving modes to make your ride more comfortable, sportier, or fuel-efficient, is available, as are lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.

Both versions of the S3 – the Premium Plus and the Prestige – have a 292-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, as well as a sport-tuned suspension and Quattro all-wheel drive. The interior features are similar to the respective A3 trims.

See 2015 Audi A3 trims and specs »

What Does Audi's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Audi offers a certified pre-owned program for cars five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Qualifying vehicles bought under the new-car warranty period have coverage until five years from the vehicle’s original in-service date, with no mileage limitation. Certified pre-owned Audis purchased after the four-year new-car warranty has ended receive an additional one-year/unlimited-mileage comprehensive warranty. This is not an extension of the new-car warranty. The two warranties differ in important ways, so read Audi’s warranty page carefully. Audi CPO models must pass a 300-plus-point inspection.

Among luxury car manufacturers, Audi’s CPO program is about average, according to our research. You’ll find better programs from Infiniti, Lexus, and Jaguar.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Audi certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the A3?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2015 A3 sedan an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. It received five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover evaluations. The NHTSA did not crash test the convertible A3.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the A3 sedan a 2015 Top Safety Pick+, the organization's highest award. It earned the top rating of Good in all six crash tests.

No standard active safety features come in this luxury small car. Audi Pre Sense Front, which consists of forward collision warning and brake assist, is available, as are blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, and a rearview camera.

See A3 safety scores »

2015 Audi A3 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2015 Audi A3 or 2015 BMW 3-Series?

The 2015 BMW 3 Series is a good luxury small car. It is offered in several body styles, including a hatchback, sedan, and wagon. The BMW has a higher reliability rating and, minus its hybrid model, every body type has more cargo space than the A3 cabriolet and sedan. The 3 Series sedan is roomier and has more standard features too, including a USB port, which is absent in all A3s. The BMW also comes out ahead in performance thanks to its available six-cylinder engine and more athletic handling. On the other hand, the Audi has higher safety scores and lower ownership expenses. It costs a bit less too, saving you around $2,200, on average, compared to the BMW. Nonetheless, if it’s in your budget, the BMW is a better pick.

Which Is Better: 2015 Audi A3 or 2015 Audi A4?

The 2015 Audi A4 is one of the best luxury small cars you can buy. It has a great reliability rating, an upscale cabin, a comfortable ride, and sporty handling. There’s ample space in the back for adults, as well as lots of cargo room. The A3 offers more safety features than the A4, such as forward collision warning, but that’s not enough for us to recommend it over its sibling.

Compare the A3, 3-Series, and A4 »

2015 A3 Performance

How Does the 2015 Audi A3 Drive?

The base A3 has a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. A turbodiesel engine (TDI) is available, and it makes 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Both engines can only be had with front-wheel drive.

It should be noted that TDI models were affected by the Volkswagen emissions scandal and may require modification. For more information, read How Badly has the VW Diesel Scandal Hurt VW?

A 220-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is also available. The performance-tuned Audi S3 has a 292-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four. These engines come exclusively with all-wheel drive.

All engines are paired to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The base engine feels energetic and has little trouble delivering the power needed for quick highway passes. The 2.0T is even more impressive, and S3 models have the quickest acceleration in the lineup. They’re capable of going from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Regardless of body style, the A3 has sharp steering and is agile around corners while maintaining a quiet, gentle ride.

Does the 2015 Audi A3 Get Good Gas Mileage?

With its base engine, the A3 sedan gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Cabriolets earn slightly better fuel economy estimates of 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. All of those figures are good for the class. Diesels that have been modified for emissions compliance earn a stellar 31/41 mpg city/highway, and even the performance-oriented S3 earns a respectable 23/31 mpg city/highway.

Read more about A3 performance »

2015 A3 Interior

How Many People Does the 2015 A3 Seat?

The A3 sedan seats five people, while the cabriolet seats four. Leather upholstery is standard, and the sedan has a standard power-adjustable driver’s seat. Heated front seats and front sport seats are available.

The front seats are spacious, though critics are divided on how supportive they are. The rear seats are tight and lacking in headroom. On the plus side, the cabin is full of first-rate materials.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2015 Audi A3?

The A3 cabriolet has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats on the rear seats. The A3 sedan has connectors on the rear outboard seats, as well as an additional tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

2015 Audi A3 Features

The base 2015 A3 comes with a 7-inch display, the MMI infotainment system, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 10-speaker sound system, and Bluetooth. The sedan comes with a sunroof, while the cabriolet has a soft convertible top that can be open or closed at speeds below 31 mph.

Available features include navigation, handwriting recognition, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, a Wi-Fi hot spot (Audi Connect), push-button start, and proximity keyless entry.

The MMI infotainment system is sleek and user-friendly, and there are plenty of physical controls.

See 2015 Audi A3 specs »

Read more about A3 interior »

2015 Audi A3 Dimensions

Audi A3 Cargo Space

The A3 convertible has 7.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the top folded down and 9.9 cubic feet with it up. Front-wheel-drive sedans have 12.3 cubic feet of space, while all-wheel-drive models have 10 cubic feet. All figures are a bit small for the luxury small car class, and rivals like the 2015 Infiniti Q50 have more room.

2015 A3 Length and Weight

The A3 is about 14.6 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,175 to 3,583 pounds.

Where Was the 2015 Audi A3 Built?

Audi built the 2015 A3 in Germany alongside the A4 and A5.

Is the Audi A3 Affected by the VW Diesel Scandal?

A3 TDI models were involved in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal and require modifications to meet EPA standards. Make sure these alterations have been made before you buy one, and keep in mind that those changes could alter performance and fuel economy.

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