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Drive Refinement - 2015 Audi A3 Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,006
edited October 2014 in Audi
imageDrive Refinement - 2015 Audi A3 Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds conducts a long-term test of a 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo and has reached a milestone of more than 10,000 miles driven to date.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • legacygtlegacygt Posts: 599
    Audi has more experience dressing up smaller FWD based cars as luxo-sport sedans. The CLA is Mercedes' first shot at this and the ride quality issues are really pretty common among compact FWD cars that try to deliver some sport by firming everything up (see Mazda3, GTI, etc.). Audi has been doing this longer and knows how to distance A3s and A4s from Golfs, Jettas and Passats.
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Quattro designation signify that this is, in fact, an AWD sedan?
  • "...as though the engineers that developed it had the time necessary to make it right."

    That right there is the crux of everything. Audi has been perfecting its formula for this class of car for nearly 20 years. Lest we forget, Audi's used to be lambasted for their poor suspension tuning that resulted in brittle rides. However, over the years they have used their experience to perfect their craft. Similarly, when the DSG first came out it was almost universally maligned for its driveability issues, but over the last 10 years it has been beautifully polished.

    If I was shopping in this segment I would absolutely purchase the A3. I do believe, however, that MB's offerings will get better. The B-Class rides on basically the same architecture, but actually rides very plushly. It simply isn't at all sporty. I think with experience MB will find a way to bridge the gulf between the A/CLA and the B. Similarly, they will work out the kinks with their dual-clutch gearbox. Unfortunately, they are going to be damaging the brand's reputation in the process.
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Quattro designation signify that this is, in fact, an AWD sedan?

    Yes, the one that they bought is an AWD sedan. The A3 with the 1.8t comes with FWD though.
  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512
    legacygt said:

    Audi has been doing this longer and knows how to distance A3s and A4s from Golfs, Jettas and Passats.

    VW has been doing GTIs for quite awhile also. The GTI is known for being the best ride/handling compromise in its class - they don't just "firm it up" from a regular Golf. The A3 and the GTI are riding on the same platform, similar suspension and have basically the same wheel/tire combination...but the Quattro version of the A3 has more unsprung weight in the rear to deal with. I would doubt there is a lot of difference between the two in terms of ride.

    I agree with your assessment of the A3 in comparison to the CLA.

  • allthingshondaallthingshonda Posts: 878
    edited October 2014
    You're right Audi is better, much better. They have been working on this formula for many years. The A3 is built off the same MQB platform the Jetta, Golf and Passat. Put a hatch on it and you have a GTI. Same engine and transmission and the majority of the suspension components are the same. The CLA comes off as a panic driven attempt to compete in the entry level market. Consumer Reports rates it dead last for customer satisfaction in a recent survey because of serious quality problems. Electrical malfunctions and the performance of the transmission in particular.
  • "...as though the engineers that developed it had the time necessary to make it right."

    If I was shopping in this segment I would absolutely purchase the A3. I do believe, however, that MB's offerings will get better. The B-Class rides on basically the same architecture, but actually rides very plushly. It simply isn't at all sporty. I think with experience MB will find a way to bridge the gulf between the A/CLA and the B. Similarly, they will work out the kinks with their dual-clutch gearbox. Unfortunately, they are going to be damaging the brand's reputation in the process.

    I believe the CLA is offered with two suspension options in global markets, but MBUSA got the stiffer version as the only choice. It's a shame.
  • chol92594chol92594 Posts: 208
    In all honesty, Mercedes really dropped the ball on the CLA. Yes, it does handle well and has more distinctive styling than the A3, but the drivability issues can't be justified on the basis that it's the first entry level FWD car that they've sold in the US, especially since they've been selling FWD models in Europe for years. Plus, take into account all of the standard features that you get on the A3 that are optional on the CLA (bi-xenon headlights, LED DRLs and tail lights, sunroof, real leather), along with the availability of AWD, and it's hard to make a case for the CLA. Yeah, the base 1.8T A3 is less powerful than the CLA250's, but it still isn't exactly slow. The 2.0T engine surpasses the CLA's performance while also giving you AWD.

    Mercedes needs to think about either offering a smaller base engine below the CLA250's or increasing the power of the current engine to make it more competitive to the A3. More importantly, they need to sort out the ride and transmission issues that have been so widely criticized. I really feel like Mercedes rushed this car to production in order to beat the A3 to market, but if that's the case, they really screwed themselves over in the long run.
  • chol92594 said:


    the drivability issues can't be justified on the basis that it's the first entry level FWD car that they've sold in the US, especially since they've been selling FWD models in Europe for years.

    It is important to note that the new generation of A/CLA are most definitely the first of this type of car for MB. The original A-Class was a science experiment testing out new chassis architecture. It was not a true C-segment car. It was actually a supermini. The B-Class has been Benz's only real C-segment vehicle and it actually has quite comfortable suspension tuning. However, like I said earlier, it isn't sporty in the slightest and that simply wouldn't sell in this upscale-C segment. This A/CLA is really the first of its kind for MB. Audi, however, has been building A3s in this same segment since 1996.

    I agree that isn't an excuse for just how bad the CLA is, though. In my eyes the suspension tuning is forgivable, but the idiotic transmission and extensive reliability issues are non-starters.

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