$16,360 - $28,159

2015 Audi A3 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Audi A3 was new.


Performance: 8.1

Auto writers think the completely redesigned 2015 Audi A3 is quite fun to drive, with agile handling and peppy turbocharged engine options. They also appreciate its serene ride and high fuel economy ratings.

  • "The ride is composed and comfortable, the cabin is quiet and the turbocharged engines provide a solid wallop of low-end power that provides confidence around town and on the freeway. Superb fuel economy helps as well." -- Edmunds
  • "On the open road, Audi's newest arrival did very well - a trait we have come to expect from vehicles that have four rings on their nose." -- Autoblog
  • "We haven't had this much fun in a sport sedan in a long time." -- Left Lane News
  • "From the driver's seat the A3 feels compact, but not in a disconcerting, exposed way, but rather like the unnecessary mass has been removed. Small-car fans will find a lot to like here. The ride is supple and the cabin quiet, helping make daily commutes or long-distance travel all the more tolerable." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The base 2015 Audi A3 1.8T comes with a 170-horsepower, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, while the A3 2.0T has a 220-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Both engines are available in sedan or convertible models. The A3 TDI sedan has a 150-horsepower, turbodiesel 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. All A3 trims come with a six-speed automated manual transmission. According to the EPA, the base 2015 Audi A3 gets 23/33 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class. The 2.0-liter model gets an almost identical 24/33, which is impressive considering it has more horsepower and all-wheel drive. The A3 TDI gets 31/43 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for an upscale small car.

The high-performance 2015 Audi S3 sedan is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automated manual transmission is standard. According to Audi, the S3 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph.

Reviewers agree that the A3 1.8T feels fast and delivers plenty of power for tasks like highway merging, while the 2.0T's rapid acceleration is even more impressive. They write that the diesel-powered TDI is quiet and delivers about the same performance as the 1.8T, despite its much higher fuel economy. The automated manual transmission shifts seamlessly, test drivers report, further contributing to the A3's lively feel.

  • "The 1.8T is a smaller engine that apparently has not received that memo yet. High revving, it picks up and goes, goes, goes as quick as you'd like it to. Heading on to the interstate sees more than enough power to merge into fast moving traffic without worry; Audi claims the zero-to-60 mph sprint occurs in 7.2 seconds." -- Left Lane News
  • "Don't ever dismiss VW Group's turbocharged 2.0-liter powerplants - they are some of the best in the world. The 220-hp variant under the A3's hood moved it rapidly off the line, with Quattro ensuring that wheel slip was non-existent." -- Autoblog
  • "The Quattro combined surer grip from its 18-inch wheels (19s are available) with the lovable 2.0-liter engine, which rockets the A3 from stoplight to 60 mph in about 5.8 seconds." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The 2.0 TDI develops 148 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, hitting 62 mph in 8.7 seconds from rest on its way to 137 mph. Its midrange performance is a match in the real world for the 1.8 TFSI and its quiet, relaxed gait should make it an ideal foil for U.S. drivers looking to cover big distances." -- Edmunds
  • "The dual clutch transmission shifts beautifully, without any break in propulsive power." -- MSN Autos

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Audi A3 1.8T and TDI models come with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is standard on 2.0T and S3 models. Reviewers agree that the A3 has a composed, quiet ride that makes it a comfortable highway cruiser. They also say that it has responsive steering and corners with go-kart-like agility, especially when equipped with all-wheel drive. A few critics note that the brakes can feel grabby at first, but are quite effective once you get used to them.

  • "The electronic power steering was smooth but fast-acting, lending the little sedan a nimble feel on twistier sections. On faster paced stretches, the A3 has a solid, big-car feel that is unshakable at speed." -- MSN Autos
  • "All the while, impacts are nicely absorbed, and, thanks to the innately solid MQB structure, sound insulation, and other sound-deadening measures, not even the grainiest road surfaces intrude upon cabin serenity." -- Car and Driver
  • "Despite its stable, pleasant demeanor on the freeway, the A3 remains impressively agile in the corners." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Quattro setup allows the A3 to track much like a go-kart - it puts you on the road and keeps you there, grabbing, gripping, and braking just the way you would expect it to. Though we found the brakes a touch grabby when starting out, we quickly became familiar with their feel and the appropriate pressure to use them effectively." -- Left Lane News

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