As the A3 sedan has launched this year, we in Raleigh have observed how people are reacting to it: customers, writers, journalists, aficionados, Millenials, etc. This is a sedan that’s means to extend the sedan line of the A4, A6 and A8 by replacing the dominant feature of previous A3s: the hatchback. As we’ve talked with people and read what auto journalists have written about our newest sedan, we’ve noticed a couple of trends and wanted to share them with you. As always, the best research is first-person experience, but we hope these points can be helpful, as well.
Take a dog
Many people feel that a luxury sedan should be treated with leather gloves as fine as the seats they’ll encounter, but much to our surprise one reviewer took along his chocolate lab. A full-grown dog! Not -even a small, Paris Hilton-sized dog. It got us thinking: why not take a dog? Nowadays there are covers to protect seats from clawmarks, and as long as you don’t have a chew-happy pup, we think this would be a great way to make the A3 feel more like your own. There are plenty of dog parks in Raleigh, and we can’t imagine a better visual statement of the A3 being practically used in active lifestyles. Swing by the Whole Foods on Wade Avenue for some over-priced dog food and you’ll be set.
Nice cars don’t feel fast
As faithful readers might have remembered from our test drive review of the A4, we frequently found ourselves straying above the speed limit without meaning to. Granted that was with a manual transmission around the streets of North Raleigh and a slightly more powerful engine. A lot of reviews of the 2015 A3, however, have also commented on the sedan’s propensity to speed you along without you realizing it. Far from being a watered-down economy option, the A3 has the solidity in build and construction that makes driving as tight as in an A8. Many people in non-Audis feel their cars rattle and vibrate when getting up to speed, and have grown accustomed to this association while motoring along. Not so with the A3.
Because the A3 is a smaller sedan, you can expect that it won’t have as many features as an A8. If you’ve looked online at photos, you’ll notice that this dashboard is pared down with an emphasis on function: air vents, steering wheel and instrument panel. Reviewers, however, praise the A3 for its clean lines and ergonomic design. People feel that everything is intuitively where they would want it to be. The lack of clutter is an intentional choice of Audi’s, as anyone who has seen images of the next generation TT will understand. The ancient dictum, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” is at work here, not Audi’s interior crew taking a day off.
Similarly, another thing that makes Audis remarkable is Quattro, Audi’s proprietary all-wheel drive system that made it a rally car champion and now serves as the foie gras to other automaker’s PB&J front-wheel drive systems. Simply put, Quattro makes driving fun and makes drivers feel like they have special skills they never knew about. This is the part where a test drive is needed for understanding.
This last point is about the smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices we all use, including the systems in our cars. As one of the first models in the U.S. to offer ultra-fast 4G LTE, the A3 ensures that the driver won’t be the only one impressed with speed while driving about Raleigh. One reviewer mentioned how his three kids were simultaneously streaming two different movies on two different tablets, while a third kid was playing an online game on a phone, and the driver was using online music and navigation. This is a level of connectivity that we could have hardly imagined a few years ago. It’s basically making our cars our own private airlines where passengers can experience individualized entertainment while traveling. It’s a feature we’re quite pleased the A3 possesses.
The A3 is a robust sedan whose designers clearly took the time to make this a forward-thinking and practical vehicle. We would love for you to form your own assessment by driving it around town. Stop by Audi Raleigh whenever you would like; we’d love to see you!