2015 Audi A3 sedan makes its world debut in New York
The all-new compact offers premium design and technology.
2015 Audi A3 sedan
Any doubts about growth in the premium compact segment were quashed at the 2013 New York Auto Show as Audi unveiled the all-new A3 sedan, a fresh take on the German automaker's presence in the segment. Aimed squarely at competitors such as the new Mercedes-Benz CLA, Cadillac ATS and Acura ILX, the new A3 promises to deliver the same technology and quality as other Audi models — simply in a smaller package.
Although the A3 has been in the U.S. since the 2006 model year, its body style has always been a premium compact hatchback. It will return for 2015 as a sedan with multiple engine choices, followed by a high-performance S3 version.
The A3 hatchback will remain in the U.S. market as a plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid, a production version of the A3 Sportback e-tron that debuted at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.
2015 Audi A3 sedan
The sporty sedan will have four engine choices in the U.S. market, starting with a 1.8-liter 170-horsepower TFSI gasoline engine and a 2.0-liter 150-horsepower TDI diesel engine. Two versions of the 2.0-liter TFSI will be offered in the A3 quattro and S3 quattro; official horsepower ratings will be announced later. We expect the 2.0 TFSI will increase the current A3's 200-horsepower rating, and the S3 quattro should pack more than 250 horsepower.
Standard equipment will include leather upholstery, Bluetooth technology, rain-sensing wipers and a panoramic glass sunroof. Technology that previously would not be expected in the compact segment includes Audi MMI, Audi drive select, 4G LTE connectivity and Bang & Olufsen audio.
The Audi A3 has been successful as a sporty premium hatchback, so is a new compact sedan a brilliant move or a misstep? As the A3 sedan joins other new models in the growing premium compact segment, it raises the question: How big is the American appetite for a premium small car?
How much and when?
The new Audi A3 will go on sale in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014 as a 2015 model. While pricing has not been announced, the A3 slots in below the A4 in the Audi lineup, thus pricing should start at less than $30,000 and could approach $25,000. Both the S3 quattro and A3 Sportback e-tron will arrive later in 2014; prices have yet to be announced.
MSN Autos' verdict?
Audi's newest model is a very attractive sport sedan that promises a range of performance capability with both gasoline and diesel engines. The A3 is a sedan we can't wait to get our hands on — and our seats in.
Mike Meredith worked in motorsports public relations and practiced law before joining MSN CarPoint (now MSN Autos) in 1999. A lifelong automotive enthusiast, Meredith has raced sports cars, teaches high-performance driving and enjoys auto detailing in his copious free time.
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In the world of VW's shared platform environment, I presume the A3 shares the same platform as the Jetta. If it does, I hope it will have a multi-link rear suspension and not the lame solid rear beam axle as the Jetta. I also hope the TDI version will be available with a manual transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. I'm not holding my breath on any of it but here's hoping.