2015 Audi A3 TDI – Road Test and Review

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The base model starts at $32,600 while the fully loaded Prestige version as tested hits $41,050. For that price you get navigation with Audi’s incredibly easy-to-use MMI Touch cockpit controller, 4G LTE Internet, radar/adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and a high-res rearview camera with proximity warning to alert the driver when the car is too close to an object while parking.

DRIVING THE AUDI A3 TDI

The Audi A3 is by far the smallest Audi I’ve ever driven and its size gave it a nimbleness its larger brethren lack, although, as an Autobahn cruiser, it felt rock steady at highway speeds (a special thank you to the state of Georgia for not having ridiculously slow speed limits and not enforcing the ones it does have).

The four-banger’s power was no surprise because I’m used to the massive torque even smaller diesel engines provide. The Audi’s numbers are somewhat misleading, as it takes 8.1 seconds for it to get from a standstill to 60 mph (96 km/h) but its passing times once on the go make one think Porsche rather than VW.

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The ride is firm and the car felt firmly planted, something readily apparent from the moment I hit the freeway from Atlanta on a four-hour drive to Savannah, and the car remained as poised on winding roads as it was on straightaways.

Speaking of that drive, on the maiden voyage, my fuel economy was 49 mpg (4.8 l/100 km), a 14% higher figure than the EPA estimate of 43 mpg (5.47 l/100 km). Overall, in my week with the A3 TDI, with a healthy combination of city and highway driving, I averaged 40 mpg (5.88 l/100 km).

The car’s interior is a scaled-down version of the larger and more expensive A6 and A8 sedans. The use of creamy leather for the seats and rich materials bestows a certain aura on the car that takes it beyond its price class. Switches and knobs have a precise feel to them and the new MMI touch entry system, which allows the user to trace letters and numbers for navigation and other system controls, works very well.

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