By on September 8, 2015

2015 Audi S3 Technik (5 of 19)

2015 Audi S3 Prestige (U.S.)/Technik (Canada)

2.0-liter TFSI DOHC I-4, turbocharged, direct injection (292 horsepower @ 5,400-6,200 rpm; 280 lbs-ft of torque @ 1,900-5,300 rpm)

Six-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission w/ all-wheel drive

23 city/31 highway/26 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

23.1 mpg on the GIVE ME ALL THE BOOST! cycle (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: Technology Package, LED Headlights, 19-inch 5-Parallel Spoke S Wheels, Spang Blue Pearl Effect paint, Audi Magnetic Ride, Red Brake Calipers

Base Price (Prestige/Technik):
$47,895* (U.S.)/$49,595* (Canada)
As Tested Price:
$52,395* (U.S.)/$54,845* (Canada)

* All prices include $895 destination fee (U.S.) or $2,095 destination fee, PDI and A/C tax (Canada).

Inline, four-cylinder engine. Turbocharging. All-wheel drive. More than 250 horsepower.

Ten years ago, that combination was a rarity in the compact performance segment. Now you can have it all day, every day from Ford, Mitsubishi, Subaru (with a boxer engine) and Volkswagen.

If you have some extra cash laying around — as you do — Mercedes, BMW and Audi will certainly fill your order.

In this sea of choice, turbocharging is the norm, all-wheel drive is becoming more commonplace due to astronomical output numbers, and active differentials and suspensions are programmed to give you Group B levels of confidence.

So, what separates them all from one another? Horsepower, certainly, if you are the type of person to count each and every calculated output unit and declare the top performer — which is the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 — the winner. You could prefer the driving dynamics of rear-wheel drive, thus BMW would provide your only real option.

But, if you aren’t caught up in the numbers or mode of output, the Audi S3 does have a qualitative trick up its sleeve.

Class.

2015 Audi S3 Technik (6 of 19)

Exterior
It looks like an A3. Done.

OK, it isn’t that simple. There are numerous visual cues that set the S3 apart from its more reserved brother. For starters, there are “S3” badges everywhere — grille, trunk lid, seats, brake calipers, steering wheel — as well as the evidential Audi “S tronic” and “quattro” badging.

Up front, the S3 has a more lavish face thanks to a tasteful amount of chrome to accent the horizontal slats in the Singleframe grille. Other chrome pieces in the faux brake inlets visually tie in the bottom of the grille with the lower fascia. The only thing that’s rather unfortunate is the location of the license plate holder, nearly dead in the middle of the grille, giving the S3 the appearance of buckteeth. The radar cruise control dome, just below the license plate, is this Audi’s soul patch.

2015 Audi S3 Technik (2 of 19)

Moving to the side, the S3 is almost indistinguishable from the A3. Larger wheels set off its stance and tighten the fender gap. Bigger brakes with optional red calipers tell the world you mean business — at least when it comes to stopping in a hurry. Meanwhile, the only real difference in bodywork is the rocker panels. They are a bit more flared on the S3 versus the curved-in treatment seen on the A3.

2015 Audi S3 Technik (11 of 19)

At rear, the S3 is adorned with another faux body piece — a “diffuser” — and the addition of two extra exhaust outlets; one per side. The normal A3 already has dual exhausts, so Audi figured they’d just double them up. Aside from changes below the belt, the S3 also features a small lip spoiler affixed to the trunk.

We don’t typically talk about paint finishes in reviews, but photos don’t do justice to the Spang Blue Pearl Effect paint on our S3 tester. The depth and shimmer on this shade of blue is otherworldly, yet doesn’t rely on super-heavy metallic flake like the Diamond Tricoat options seen on Cadillacs and other higher-end GM products. (Not to say GM’s finishes are bad, but the Audi paint is simply unreal and on a whole other level.) If you have the extra $550 ($800 in Canada) and want to stand above a crowd of black, silver and white, there’s no better way to do it.

2015 Audi S3 Technik (13 of 19)

Interior
There’s a reason why other automakers look to Audi as the interior design and quality benchmark; the designers and engineers in Ingolstadt pen and build the best interiors in the business.

2015 Audi S3 Technik (14 of 19)But, this isn’t as stunning as every other Audi interior.

To be honest, after driving the A6 and A7, you’d expect the S3 — since it is a “special model” — would be on par with those cars. Yet, because of packaging constraints, the usability of controls suffers. Cupholders are placed ahead of, instead of behind, the shifter. And while Audi does pride itself in its own German flavor of reservation, the environmental controls are a bit simple for a car costing over $40,000 to start.

Everything else in the cabin could be described as simple luxury. Vents feel like they’re engineered versus simply made to spec. The materials are high quality, though maybe not on par with other Audis further up the range. However, in comparison with the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45, the S3 is by far the interior quality champion. (Adjust the vents in the S3 side-by-side with a CLA and you’ll know exactly what I mean.)

Our tester, not equipped with the optional sport seats, was as comfortable as any large sedan, though tight in the back for real-sized adults that aren’t contortionists on tour with Cirque du Soleil. Trunk space is also fairly limited at 10 cubic feet. The CLA 45 can swallow an extra 3.1 cubes of whatever you want. If you like the drivetrain in the S3, but prefer a hatchback, Volkswagen will happily sell you a Golf R with 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space — and that’s before you put down the rear seats.

2015 Audi S3 Technik (16 of 19)

Infotainment
The Audi S3 has the same pop-up screen solution as the A3 on which it’s based. Unfortunately, the screen is a little small, measuring in at 7 inches diagonally, and sits far from the driver.

Audi’s solution is not a touchscreen affair. Instead, all functionality is accessed through the MMI knob and associated buttons on the center console. While this is nice to have as a primary mode of operation, to have a touchscreen would be a fantastic secondary feature — but that isn’t the case.

Between the speedometer and tachometer dials in front of the driver sits another small LCD screen with the primary information that you’d expect — fuel economy, navigation, etc. It’s crystal clear and, as far as supplementary screens are concerned, dead simple to use and gorgeous to look at. However, having the full Virtual Cockpit experience would be brilliant. Unfortunately, that isn’t available.

Truth be told, Audi MMI has a ton of functionality, but it doesn’t hold candle to BMW iDrive. Also, BMWs screens are on a whole other level, especially the HD wide screens available in some of the upper models. Yet, MMI easily bests Mercedes-Benz COMAND in my opinion as the Mercedes solution looks clunky and unrefined next to its German rivals.

2015 Audi S3 Technik (12 of 19)

Powertrain
Under the hood of Audi’s pocket rocket is the same boosted, 2-liter four cylinder that can be found in the Volkswagen Golf R. With 292 horsepower and 280 pounds feet of torque, the S3 is no slouch, but it’s not quite the level of insanity found in the CLA 45.

That’s a good thing.

The S3, with power delivered through its six-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission to all four wheels, is smooth and crisp and clean in its power and torque delivery — except for when starting from a stop. As with some of the DSG offerings from Volkswagen (even though Audi will say this isn’t a VW DSG transmission and we shouldn’t compare), the S3 does lurch a bit off the line. Once you get moving, however, it’s smooth sailing. Shifts are precise and don’t paddle you on the backside.

Meanwhile, it’s that paddling I — and I assume other enthusiasts — will miss. Compared to the S4, the little brother isn’t nearly as brutal. When you rough up the S4, it’ll rough you up right back. The S3, on the other hand, will just take the beatings and continue on getting milk from the shop. Don’t take this as an issue, but if you are looking for a car that’s a bit more — um, hairy — BMW and Mercedes might fit the bill a bit better.

The other issue isn’t so much how the engine performs, but where else the engine can be found: the Volkswagen Golf R. If you want the same performance and don’t want to spend Audi money, there’s a Volkswagen looking for a good home. Also, the Golf R can be had with a stick, unlike the sedan from Ingolstadt.

2015 Audi S3 Technik (4 of 19)

Drive
The S3 might not be as brutal as its competitors from Germany, but it makes up for it in class. Out of the bunch, the S3 is going to be the easiest to drive every day thanks to selectable drive modes that vary between kinda soft and fairly hard, or a combination of the two. It’s also going to be the most civilized as the 2-liter, four-cylinder engine isn’t cranked up to 11 … maybe 9.5 at best.

Yet, the S3 isn’t so civilized as to call it relaxed. It’s eager like a hamster on a wheel, ready to have fun by eating up miles even when there’s no destination. It’s the best looking of the bunch as well, at least to yours truly. Instead of going Boy Racer, the S3 is a Sporting Gentleman that likes tequila — the fancy tequila, not well shots from the all-inclusive resort it would never visit in Puerto Vallarta.

Classy, remember.

Still, this is one of those cars that makes you seriously consider a lesser sibling. The Golf R, with its greater cargo and equal performance, is tempting in its own right. Sitting next to the Audi, depending on your priorities, might make it more so — or it might make it less. That’s up to you.

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50 Comments on “2015 Audi S3 Review – Vorsprung durch Volkswagen...”


  • avatar
    ItsMeMartin

    Just a slight correction: Subaru does not offer inline fours. As far as I know, all of their engines are boxers.

  • avatar
    BDT

    Mark, were you able to get the test gear hung on this one? A few outlets have reported that the S3 is quicker than the S4.

  • avatar

    I get all excited, and then I see the prindl.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey, at least you can still get the S4 with a manual while it lasts. I forget if the new one will part with it or not.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        The current Euro S4 is S-tronic only; My guess is that the B9 will continue this trend. As for whether we will get a manual transmission in North America – the outlook is not very bright, especially considering as Audi went S-tronic only on the A3/S3.

        On the bright side, Scott Keogh, Audi of America’s big boss, has said that he’s pushing for an S3 with manual transmission. Earliest I’d expect that would be the refresh for MY2017 or 2018.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Oh lord stop saying class! Lol, drives me nuts.

    But:

    -Panel fitment and finish (compare this to the gross Q3) win.
    -Quad exhaust win.
    -Excellent paint color and quality win.
    -Style win.
    -Size of original S4 from 15 years ago win.

    !

    How do the doors sound, super heavy and solid thunky?

    • 0 avatar

      As far as hotted-up compacts go, it is a classy car. You have to admit it.

      And yes, the doors have a nice solid thud.

      One thing I forgot to mention in the review: The B-pillars are MASSIVE. Like, Hide A Crown Vic MASSIVE.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Oh I’m always pro-Audi, so I would agree. It’s not over the top like the nasty CLA, in any trim. Though the doors on the Cruze have a nice thud as well, I was pleasantly surprised.

        Between headrests and pillars, Audis have been against visibility for a long time. Need to go back to the hollow square ones they put in the 5000.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Mark,
    According to VW website a R with DSG auto is right around 40K take $1100 off if you want a stick. This makes the R very tempting vs this at 52K , love the color , hate where the cup holders are.

  • avatar
    Dawnrazor

    A very desirable car, no doubt, but I can’t help thinking the S4 is a much better overall value (a quick, informal search reveals typical MSRPs around $60-61k for Prestige trim).

    If it were me, I’d either punch a little higher and go for the S4 (delaying gratification a bit as needed), or get the Golf and take the Mrs. on an epic road trip with the bucks I save. That being said, the S3 is still a great balance of performance/comfort/overall appeal, and is definitely not a “bad” buy in any way.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      This made me feel old – and in sticker shock. But then I remember in 1998, I ordered an A4 1.8T 5MT and it cost me, with 8% discount, about $28K. Sold it earlier this year, inspected and with almost 180K miles on it. ABS tango uniform but on original window lifts and very little non-maintenance related costs. Half the price, half the horsepower and half the complexity of an S4 or this S3. So the price doesn’t look so bad historically. But I don’t like that complexity for a keeper…..

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      No need to go $60k if you can find a dealer willing to order you a car and give you a good price on it. You can get a Premium Plus with all of the good stuff for $52k before discounts. It’s just that you never see that combination in inventory. It’s always either the full-boat Prestige or the Premium Plus with none of the performance options.

  • avatar
    Fred

    No hatch, no manual and high price kept me from upgrading my 2007 A3. More hp and awd drive help, but still no sell. For about half the price I’m happy to plod along in TSX sportwagon, even if it’s an automatic.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    I don’t like the S3 as a car, and I hate it as a move for Audi.

    I don’t like the S3(or the A3) because Audi tried very hard to make a Golf into an Audi, (which they’ve done before with the prior A3). Great idea, except that the Golf is a really good car already. Move the cup holders to the Audi front location? water bottles hit the climate controls. Use an Audi steering wheel? Can’t see the turn signal lights on the dash. Try to fit a sedan 2-box on a hatch footprint? you get a tiny trunk and small back seat. Add in a gimmicky pop-up screen? Well, you get a gimmicky pop-up screen. And for some reason, in the A3, the power screen is standard but the seats are manual(?) sigh.

    I hate the S3 (and the A3) as a move for Audi because, and for the first time ever, Audi platformed off of a VW and the final product is not as good as the VW. And it costs buckets more.

    I can’t help but look at these cars and sneer. They are not the equal of the prior generation, and at the cost, there are MANY other options on the table. I realize that size does not equate value, but $52k (or even the $42k base price) for a sedan that’s smaller than a Corolla does not make sense to me. $42k is SRT Charger money. $52k is dangerously close to BMW 340 money.

    I find the car insulting.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Fracture –

      You have any significant seat time in either of these cars? The Golf family, as you rightly state, are outstanding vehicles. The A3 family are outstanding as well. What VW and Audi have managed to pull off with the two stablemates is to deliver products that feel very unique and different – but not in the old sense that ‘different’ meant ‘worse’.

      Audi has built a car that has 75% of the same guts as a Golf and yet will appeal to a completely different audience. Regardless the consumers’ ultimate reason for purchasing one, that’s a great achievement.

      I’ve got a lot of time in the A3 and S3 and they both feel very buttoned down, taut, serious and polished. As stated, everything has a solid, quality feel about it. I was able to put my big to-go coffee mug into the A3 cupholders without any issue. The car scoots, it’s quiet, it’s refined.

      Hop into the Golf and the Golf does feel more mass market, but not in a penalty box kind of way at all. The GTI, in particular, is a far more engaging and fun ride without giving up the refinement, sound deadening or performance of the A3.

      But ultimately, they will attract different buyers in different segments – and that makes it a big win.

      • 0 avatar
        FractureCritical

        yes, I do have a significant amount of seat time in A3’s both new and old gen, current S3, and current GTI.

        I understand to whom the GTI is supposed to appeal. I do not understand to whom the A3 or S3 is supposed to appeal. There are 3 Audis in my driveway right now, and there were 2 VW’s that preceded them, so it’s not like I don’t know the cars or the brands.

        When we bought our last A3, it was a fun, practical car that was a bit more upscale than a GTI for not that much more money (I want to say the GTI was $23k an the A3 was $26k, after negotiation). It made sense, and it had a touch more interior room.

        The new A3 is less useful than an equivalent GTI and it has innumerable superfluous widgets and bits in it that cost money and offer no additional function. It also costs buckets more and doesn’t actually do anything much better.

        The A3 or the S3, in my opinion, are cars that are meant for what Audi thinks the US market wants in a car: useless chrome shiny bits tacked on to an entry level car with a premium price and damn the actual functionality of the thing. I hope that they are wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          manny_c44

          The S3 is just a much better looking car, inside and out. The difference is qualitative. This car doesn’t seem like a cynical money grab the way low end Mercedes and BMWs are…its quicker than the s4 and is very tight looking. It is made in Europe by free people (vs a mexican vw), so why not pay the few extra dollars? An Audi s3 in the USA probably costs as much as a gti in Europe.

        • 0 avatar
          JD23

          “I do not understand to whom the A3 or S3 is supposed to appeal.”

          Compare sales of the current A3 to that of the previous A3 at the same point in its lifecycle and you will see that it appeals to far more consumers than the model that you hold in high regard.

        • 0 avatar
          hreardon

          Fracture – we’re just going to have to agree to disagree, then. I think the A3 is a very handsome, well proportioned, comfortable car. I like the way things are screwed together, the feel of the buttons, the MMI system, the powertrain, etc. It’s a nice package. Plus, I think it just looks better than a Golf – again, not that the Golf looks bad, the A3 just looks good on its own.

          Going back to the old A3 versus new: I have an old 8P A3 6MT that I still own because the car is still great, though long in the tooth. I bought it new for $33, it stickered for around $35 at the time. Back then, a $26k A3 was a stripper with cloth seats and nothing else.

          Frankly, the Golf/GTI is the more fun car, and yes, less expensive. That said, Audi has really done their homework and the sales numbers don’t lie: 3,000+ A3s move every month.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Claw

      And to add insult to injury, it’s a sedan rather than a hatch. This is one of those “cynical” cars… for the money I’d rather get a Golf R.

    • 0 avatar
      rreichar

      Sneer? Really? I like the S3. I got to drive a dealer demo that my neighbor was driving. It’s a nice car with a nice interior. I prefer th Golf R interior personally but the Audi is very nice. Fun car. I like th size. Nobody complained about the original S4 which was similar in size. I dint know where your have been shopping but SRT Chargers cannot be had for $42,000. The are two available within 100 miles of my location in central Texas. One is $53,470 and the other is $57,060. Dealers are asking, and getting, MSRP for these.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’d find the extra money for the outgoing S4, giving up a few goodies (Premium Plus rather than Prestige). I can get a manual, I get a pleasant six-cylinder noise rather than the pedestrian four buzz, I have the satisfaction of longitudinal engine placement and Torsen AWD (even if it makes no functional difference anymore), and I get a usable back seat.

    The new S4 will presumably go even farther upmarket and may lose the manual, but the old one is a sweet ride.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      The full-time Torsen AWD still feels noticeably different from Haldex. Although I like the S3, Haldex is one of the main reasons that I won’t downgrade from the A4/S4 to a MQB-based model.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      I tend to agree, dal. I’d take a Premium Plus S4 over an S3 every day of the week and twice on Sundays just for the powertrain. I keep my eyes open for CPO’d 2013-2015 models and these suckers hold their value nicely. Seems like the low mileage units with Navigation + B&O audio package are sitting tight in the $44k range; New they were selling for around $50-$52k.

    • 0 avatar
      celebrity208

      I was under the impression that it had to be Torsen AWD to get the quattro badge. I guess I was wrong.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I’m sure it’s a fine car but I’m much more interested in the new Jaguar XE.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Audi makes, by far, the most tastefully styled mainstream sedans and coupes in the automotive world, and they’re at the top of the class, if not class leading, in terms of interior design, also.

    Their designers and stylists have an uncanny ability to go just so far, yet never cross over into anything juvenile, bling, or tacky.

    It’s amazing how consistent they are in turning out the perfect balance of design.

    I was following a white A5 the other day (sidenote: I really don’t usually care for white paint), and was taken aback at how sublimely beautiful that car was.

    • 0 avatar
      manny_c44

      Yeah I agree– every one is going too far, the Asian brands are in full on Space-Whale mode and the other Germans are twisty and baroque. I think VW is purposefully held back so that Audi can look more advanced/expensive– but I appreciate the reserve the VAG brands show.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I completely agree. In my mind, the higher end Audis have some of the best interiors out there. They’re not complex or weird abstract art, they’re just simply beautiful.

      Even the older Audis still look fresh in their designs. The people that do the interior design at VAG definitely did a spot-on job.

  • avatar
    brucebanner

    Am I crazy to think I’d like to compare this to the Acura TLX?

    Comparable wrt 4 wheel drive and in power….

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    As a former Audi owner, and someone who’s driven or at least sat in every Audi made in the last 15 years, I do not understand why “Audi interiors > all” is still something that people say.

    When Audi was clawing its way back from near extinction in the late 1990s, perhaps the thinking was “we can’t just be cheaper than M-B and BMW, our cars also have to be much better.” And they were. An A4 or A6 in those days was far less expensive than the equivalent 3/5 or C/E, and the interiors WERE in a different league. There was nothing on sale that could match a 1996 A4 or 1998 A6 on the inside.

    However, once Audi’s position in the market stabilized, the inevitable cost cutting started, and if you know Audis, it’s more than obvious where the cuts were made. The 2002 B6 gen A4 escaped the worst of it, but the 2005 C6 gen A6 didn’t. The IP was built into a huge, featureless slab of dull gray plastic, with the LCD screen awkwardly stuck in the center console. The armrests were flat, rock hard vinyl (although to be fair, the prior C5 gen was the same way), but the leather door cards that came in upper trims of the C5 like the A6 4.2, Allroad, and S6 were gone, now it was vinyl across the board.

    That A6 was only on par with the E60 5 series. In some areas like the quality of the switch gear (which is generally Audi’s strongest suit) it was still better, but in terms of the seats (which were mostly a carry over from the C5), armrests, and other ergonomic qualities, it was worse. BMW substantially improved the E60’s interior with the 2008 refresh, dealing with the worst of the Bangle problems and making it quite a nice place to be.

    Audi’s refresh of the C6 in 2009? More cost cutting. Trim options gone, S-line sport package gone, optional sport seats gone. The A6 from that point came one way only, take it or leave it.

    The current A6, at least from a materials quality standpoint, is generally worse than the equivalent 5 series and even the old E-class that’s rapidly nearing retirement. You can argue design which is subjective, but when you actually compare the various touch points in these cars, the Audi comes up short. Things only get worse in the A7. BMW and Mercedes spent a considerable sum differentiating the interiors of the 6 Coupe/GC and CLS from the 5 and E on which they are based. Audi spent nothing. The A7 interior is essentially a clone of the A6.

    The brand new A4 is “fine,” but I expect better than “fine” from the “interior design leader.” The 2016 A4 is essentially a parts bin special, apparently there was no money in the budget to design even a single unique piece of switch gear. And for a company that still has to dodge charges that the A4 is a Passat in the same way that the Lexus ES is an Avalon (which in the case of the Audi hasn’t been true for over a decade) those air vents are more than a little close for comfort to the brand new EU market Passat. Apparently the full width faux vent is a VWAG wide thing, and will be in everything from now on. Joy.

    Aside from that questionable decision, the HVAC controls are pulled from the Q7, the secondary switchgear is pulled from the TT, 12V power outlet and cup holders are pulled from the A3, and the lower center stack was also ripped out of the Q7. It’s good enough in an “Audi’s greatest hits” sort of way, but it’s not a studio album.

    The Mercedes C-class is a studio album, and a damn good one. You don’t look at the C and go, oh that switch is from the E, that one is from the GL, etc. Similarly, the new GLC is better than the Q5. When M-B redesigns the E-class and the CLS along with it, *watch out*. When they actually show up, M-B brings the heat, and other than the CLA and the GLA, in my opinion Mercedes now deserves the title of interior design leader. You could argue about their somewhat tacked on screens, but guess what, Audi is now doing exactly the same thing – see the 2016 A4.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    so it’s a smaller Ford Fusion Titanium for about $20k more…got it. No thanks. One of the effects to me of this proliferation of 4 cylinder turbos, AWD, and super numb EPS is that those characteristics that previously defined a premium car (special engine, rear or AWD, enhanced handling) no longer set them apart. It’s getting to be where the only thing that distinguishes them is the badge (or in the case of BMW, the ability to pair stick shift with RWD, even though the chassis is arguably inferior to the competition).

    • 0 avatar
      Nedmundo

      Excellent point, but I think this S3 review points to the main distinguishing feature of the prestigious brands, other than prestige itself: interior quality, which helps produce a more upscale feel, or “class.” If you don’t care much about this, you can find a thoroughly satisfying car for a reasonable price, like the GTI, Focus ST, WRX, and Mustang. When Car and Driver compared the last GTI with the Focus ST, they subtitled the article “All The Car You’ll Ever Need,” and I think this is largely why.

      But, as you mention, the RWD/MT sedan is rare; you need to spend for BMW, Cadillac, or the Chevy SS to get one. I think there’s an opening for an inexpensive RWD sport sedan along the lines of the FR-S/BRZ, but it will take a company without a luxury brand to offer it. I vote for Mazda.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @Nedmundo – I think even interior quality has been an area where the battle lines are less clearly drawn, although admittedly the battle lines have gotten murkier (VW and BMW have generally gotten worse, Ford and Chrysler have gotten better).

        I agree with you on the opening for a rwd non luxury sedan, but I disagree on Mazda being the one to do it. Mazda doesn’t have the resources for what is essentially a bespoke platform low profit platform (unless the Miata can be stretched but that doesn’t seem likely). More likely would’ve been the still born 4 door FR-S. Unfortunately, that cars sinking sales mean would seem to kill the prospects of it spawning further variants, and probably scare another company from attempting a platform sharing lineup like that. I always wondered if there was room for a manufacturer like Nissan/Infiniti or Lexus/Toyota to sell a deconteted less powerful cheaper version of their entry level RWD sedans (the Q50 and IS) badged as Nissan’s and Toyotas. The problems I see is that those platforms parts may be too pricey to sell under $30k, and in the end, they will run into the same problem the FR-S/BRZ has, which is convincing someone to pay $25-30k for what would likely be a sub 200 hp cloth seat low feature content sedan when Ford and VW are selling compelling hot hatches with far more performance and features per $ even if they are FWD.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Oooh! Lookit the pretty Audi…
    Oh Sugar Honey Iced Tea, lookit the price!

    What’s it cost used…. what’s it cost to run used… where are the old ones now?

    Small wonder WRX/STI sales are what they are.

    I’d love one to drive free for a week too.

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