2015 Audi A3 TDI – Road Test and Review

By Jonathan Spira on 27 January 2015
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Audi A3 TDI

2015 Audi A3 TDI

As diesels become more popular in the United States (three carmakers, including Audi, currently offer six models each, while the total number of diesel models on the market five years ago was 12), many rules are being broken. Just a decade ago, the idea of a sporty diesel would have been unthinkable, yet the BMW 335d broke that barrier in 2010.

With the redesign of its A3 range, Audi introduced the A3 TDI sedan in the United States. The Audi looks like the other sedans in the current Audi lineup, which is not a bad thing at all. It comes only in sedan form, and Audi has bestowed it with an updated 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine that’s slightly more powerful, smoother, cleaner, and more efficient than its predecessor.

The exterior is sharp and the larger size both inside and out puts it squarely in the small luxury sedan market.

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THE ENGINE

The 2.0-liter turbodiesel powerplant (TDI indicates turbodiesel injection), is a revised version of the engine that powered the outgoing A3 TDI, but it has had work done. With 150 horsepower the new version delivers ten more horses than before along with 236 pound-feet of torque. Its emissions are much lower and it is capable of meeting the more stringent EU6 emissions regulations. It’s quieter as well, as it became apparent once we started the engine.

The engine is mated to a six-speed Sportronic transmission, Audi’s sophisticated dual-clutch automated manual transmission that, most of the time, acts as if it were an automatic. Switch it into Sport mode and shifts are lightning fast, outthinking the most experienced manual transmission drivers in most cases. A manual mode is also provided. It allows upshifting by pushing the gearshift lever forward and downshifting by the reverse action, although most drivers will probably stay in the Sport mode.

INSIDE THE AUDI A3 TDI

The Audi A3 TDI that we picked up in Atlanta came in Prestige trim, the top level. The base level (Premium) comes with many previously-optional features, as standard such as leather interior, power driver’s seat, sunroof, and two-zone climate control. All of the A3s are equipped with Pre-Sense Basic, a system that detects when the driver’s actions are consistent with those attempting to avoid a collision. It then pre-tensions the seatbelts to keep passengers properly and securely aligned in their seats. Other safety options include electronic stability control and airbags galore, including side curtain and rear seat bags.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the Audi A3 TDI

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