2015 Audi A3 dashboard & HVAC controls. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony
Odometer at pick-up: 1,139 km
Odometer current: 3,608 km (2,268 km by Autos.ca)
Observed Fuel Consumption: 8.7 L/100 km
Fuel costs: $299.03
The honeymoon is over with the 2015 Audi A3, having been in our hands for over four weeks now, enough time to delve a little deeper into its strengths and weaknesses.
For our first update, we want to focus on the all-new interior and what better place to start than Audi’s sophisticated MMI system. I was surprised when I first saw that this car came with the Audi’s most advanced MMI Touch with hand-writing recognition. It makes finding a phone number easy and geeky guilty pleasure. Oh, and the rising 5.5-inch screen is a nice touch of theatre on startup; one of my wife’s friends commented that it was “very cool.” The graphics are also very crisp and clear, unlike the more basic screens in Volkswagen’s Golf and GTI – one of the quality touches that separate the Audi from its VW cousins.
But let’s break down the system a little. Two tab buttons allow you to access the four most common functions: Navigation, Phone, Radio and Media. There is also a main Menu button for all car functions, including those four plus Car settings and stereo Tone settings  and basic setup options.
The scroll wheel allows you to scroll down the menu options on screen, but as with the Audi S4 we tested last year, it seems backwards if you will. We suspected it may have been because we got so used to the clockwise=down the list scrolling in both Mercedes-Benz COMAND and BMW iDrive, but even one of our colleagues here at the office (who has never used the BMW or Mercedes systems) commented on it: “Turning the scroll wheel seems counterintuitive. Scrolling clockwise should move the selection down.”
2015 Audi A3 MMI controller, menus. Click image to enlarge
Radio includes AM/FM and Sirius XM, and with 13 speakers and a subwoofer routed through a 15-channel 705-watt amplifier, the sound is full and rich, though I will reserve final judgment for our resident audio expert Peter Bleakney. Volume can be easily adjusted using the scroll wheel on the right spoke of the steering wheel or the dial to the right of the shifter gate. Conveniently, the volume dial on the console can also be nudged right or left to advance a song on a playlist or change station.
This is where it starts to get confusing. The steering wheel control for changing stations or tracks is on the left spoke above the information display controls, or by accessing the audio menu via a scroll wheel in said information display in the gauge cluster. That display can show audio, nav, trip and more in a clear LED panel between the brightly backlit gauges.