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CNET On Cars: On the road: 2015 Audi A3 sedan

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CNET On Cars: On the road: 2015 Audi A3 sedan

7:33 /

Audi's newest sedan variant of the A3 does something lower-level cars never do in a manufacturer's lineup: offer tech features its other cars don't even have yet.

[MUSIC] Boy, that engine was quick. This is, a near bottom line car, with near top of line technology. You know the A4 grew up and out of its category. So they replaced it, with a Sedan map that is definitely smaller, lighter, less expensive. Let's drive the 2015 Audi, A3 Sedan, in the 2.0T train. Those A3 Sedan is real new, especially in the U.S. market, although the A3 line has been around for quite a while. This is basically taking the place of the old A4, the original A4, which was about these same dimensions. This car is 175 inches long on a 103 inch wheel base. The A4 has grown up quite a bit it's ten inches longer on a wheel base that's seven inches more, and that's to give that care more trunk and back seat room. This car remains a little snug in the back seat and the trunk but, tidier in the overall package. [MUSIC] Now the message on the A3 is small car. With big car tech, four things in particular sell you on that. You've got integrated 4G, you've got a full-on Audi MMI head unit, with a pop-up screen, and the newest controller here with a big touchpad. You've got optional Bang and Olufsen audio, if you want to go really nuts. And you've got Audi drive select, which allows you to lay out this quattro drive train, in a series of different personalities. The 4G is probably the biggest story in this car. This car has a built-in, AT&T card. This is SIM over there, in the glove box, and that puts this car on the network by itself without tethering, and better than that pokey 3G nonsense that a lot of other cars use. Now here's where it gets interesting having all this 4G stuff is your online navigation Audi connect. Audi connect is where you get to put all kinds of services including your own, custom news feeds you like, as well as the usual weather and fuel prices, these are of varying usefulness. Facebook and Twitter updates. Of course, that can go back and forth via text to keep it safe. Flight information. Parking information, I find interesting. And, of course, a 4G connection can finally power a credible Wi-Fi hotspot in the car. German car. No touch. Your control down here is a streamlined, MMI controller interface. They've turned the top of the knob here, into a larger. Finger trace writing space. Enter address, and of course you get generally very good voice command on this car with good prompts on screen. Couple of interesting features in how you find your destination, you can send destinations online, obviously. You can search online through Google. That's not new, but again it works so much better, with 4G. And heres an odd one. you can upload pictures that have GPS coordinates, to your my Audi account. Those will get upload here, or you can bring them in on an SD card, and then you can navigate by looking at a. Thumbnail of photos. I'm not sure I'll ever need that, but it's cool. [MUSIC] Now you'll pay for this car's built in 4G rather oddly, after a six month free period. Five gigabytes, spread across six months, is $100. Or 30 gigabytes spread across, 30 months is $500. The way they've structured the five and 30 month buckets is very odd. Now, I'm not too concerned about hitting or exceeding those peaks, and then getting billed above that. Unless you're doing a lot of Wi-Fi hotspot use. Nothing I'm seeing in here is gonna be a bandwidth hog. As I mentioned the Band and Olufsen audio and the sources it will bring you are pretty, numerous as well. You've got a hard drive which I'm dubious on, two SD card slots next to that SIM. CD slot is in there as well. And they don't use a lot of USB on these cars. They use these device pigtails in the console, which I feel is kinda old school. And then of course Bluetooth screening is in there. And they do a pretty good job of bringing up meta tag information. And notice how they've also upped the processing so the vehicle works as quickly as the 4G connection coming in. And the last thing I mentioned is Audi drive select, being, a premium feature in a car like this. And that's where you've got these settings for the vehicle's behavior. Deciding how you want the engine and transmission to ramp up, to accelerate, to make their shifts, as well as how tight you want the steering, or if you want more leisurely. Now I wanna show you the owners manual, which you would think is this. And that is an owners manual, but you can wing that, because they've got a whole new thing going on. An augmented reality phone app, that you can use to look around the car. It'll tell you what a button on the dash does, it'll tell you about a reading on a gauge and whether there's a problem. And then you go under the audio and it'll tell you where to perform simple maintenance. Really interesting. [MUSIC] Now A3s all have pretty small motors. This is a two liter, side saddle inline four and this is the big engine. The little one, is a hamster. It's actually a 1.8. Both of 'em, are turbo charged engines with direct injection. The numbers on this guy is 220 horsepower, 258 foot pounds of torque, turbos will do that for you. That gets out, to all all wheel drive six speed dual clutch transmission only. So it's an automated manual. Interestingly as I noticed the gear ranges. The top three are overdrive so, half that gearbox is overdrive. The overall package with a little over 3300 pounds, yet gets up to 60 in a very respectable 5.8 seconds while delivering 24/33 mpg. This is a nice, powerful, lean, little miser of a motor. [MUSIC] I'd say the first thing I noticed driving this little A3 was the transmission. It is perhaps the most refined, BCT I've driven. So big thumbs up on the gear box. And in front of that, a great engine. It's not a massively powerful car, but it's a really good breathing engine, is my sense. It's just amazing that a two-liter can do this for a car of, you know, pretty ordinary weight. I thought this car for some reason was gonna have a little more of an aggressive suspension. It doesn't at least in this trim, it's, more biased toward comfort than toward flat cornering and road holding. You know, the upside though, the car translates out the ugly stuff in the road, real nicely for a small, short wheel based car. And when you change your drive select here, it does not affect the suspension in this car, as you saw in those setting. It basically, power train and steering. Now, the nice thing about that, pop up toaster piece display, is that it is pretty high. I mean it's actually almost kissing the top of the roof, well at least from my position. In a nutshell, light, tight, and bright. It's a fun little car to drive. It feels like it's built like a drum. It's got, better than its price point ride quality. Okay pricing our A3 Sedan, this is a 2.OT as I mentioned it's the bigger engine, not much bigger but notably. So we're going to put this guy out at $33,8 delivered to start. Then we're going to open up with one big trim level upgrade to start going CNet Style. And that would be the prestige level. That gives you driver assist, Bang & Olufsen, navigation, those Audi connect services, LED headlights, the S-line trim 18, aluminum inside and keyless access. But for more driver assist we're gonna add the advanced technology package for 1400. That gets us adaptive cruise, active lane departure prevention, and active front collision prevention technology. I don't normally pick up sport packages on most of these cars, but this one I would; It's only $550. It gives you shift paddles on a sport wheel, sport seats, and those Audi drive select vehicle profiles. [MUSIC] Now, if this gas powered Sedan is not your style, note that the A3 is a very broad family. Depending on what moment in time and where you live, other options include the S3 sport model, a TDI turbo diesel powered model, also a Cabriolet and soon, an Etron electric. [MUSIC]

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