By BOB GRITZINGER, Contributor | @bobgritzinger For the 2013 model…
Audi has done well to develop a strong brand in the U.S. that spans both generations and income tax brackets. Young people who are looking for a car that represents them are turning to Audi for a performance-focused sedan without all the fuss. The only problem is, at $40,000, it will cost them almost as much as their student loans.
No doubt the 2015 Audi A3 sedan 2.0T Quattro S tronic is a delight to drive, and its simple interior makes it easy for the driver to focus on the task at hand. Adding Quattro to the A3 sedan means all four tires are working together to help you hug tightly to every corner. The turbocharged 1.8-liter TFSI engine provides the seamless performance we have come to expect from this German brand.
Our A3 Sedan came wrapped in Monsoon Gray Metallic paint with a basic black leather interior. For $2,600 it got a navigation and multimedia upgrade, including Audi connect® and HD radio. Another $2,550 got us the Premium Plus trim level, which included 18-inch, 10-spoke wheels mated with all-season tires, heated power front seats, heated exterior mirrors, Audi’s advanced key, and aluminum trim accents throughout.
Outside, the design is unmistakably Audi, with its xenon headlights and signature LEDs in both the front and rear light kits. The A3’s design is clearly part of the family line, sharing genes with the rest of the Audi’s vehicle lineup and keeping this compact sedan looking professional (not like a cheapened version of its big brothers, which is more than we can say for other luxury automakers out there pitching starter cars).
Performance is the high note of the A3 2.0T sedan and it should be the top feature considered by a potential buyer. The A3’s standout handling, buttery transmission and ideal cockpit setup for its driver make it an attractive purchase.
The carmaker does well to balance aspects of the vehicle that an owner needs and wants. Audi does not waste its time with frilly interiors that could be obsolete in two years, and this is one of the brand tenets its loyal follower base appreciates the most.
Too cramped for family life
There is one downside for a certain segment of the consumer population who may be considering the A3 sedan – particularly families – it has a tiny back seat. Imagining two adults and their two children comfortably packing into this car is an exercise in futility. The A3 sedan is not meant for the family man, but who says Audi’s targeting that demographic anyhow? (They aren’t.) The company has plenty of other offerings for the more grownup driver with a more grownup-sized budget.
Who’s the A3 sedan for, then?
OK, so it’s not realistic to expect that four adults could ride in this sedan comfortably for long; then let’s not imagine that scenario. Let’s picture the ideal driver for the A3 sedan – likely a single man or woman who occasionally carts around friends, family or coworkers, but has no real need for the back seats except to fold them flat on those monthly visits to the big-box bargain store to stock up on groceries and whatever (non) essentials catch their eye.
Overall, the Audi A3 is a delight for minimalists looking to get away from the stereotypical German entry-level car. The turbo-charged, compact Audi four-door would serve as a terrific first “post graduate” vehicle. Our biggest hurdle is getting over the fact that its price tag is commiserate with that graduate’s first-year salary, making it a bit of a steep purchase for a first-time car buyer.