Disarray in the Audi A3: In-Car Subscriptions Cause Chaos

Yikes! Monthly Fees for Cruise Control and Apple CarPlay Now Required

The Audi A3 is a car that has stood the test of time. This luxurious compact car has been in production since 1996 and a redesigned version will be available in the United States for the 2025 model year. However, one major downside to this vehicle is its excessive in-car subscriptions that can cause frustration for drivers.

Upon initial inspection, the latest A3 bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor. Its most notable alteration is the adoption of Audi’s signature hexagonal Singleframe grille, in line with their latest design trends. This is accompanied by enlarged air intakes at the front bumper, a high-placed Audi logo on the nose, and updated LED and matrix LED headlights that offer four distinct daytime lighting options. The rear bumper takes inspiration from the RS3, featuring a fresh LED taillight design, a sleek black accent element, and a mesh insert on the lower portion.

The fascinating part begins once you step inside. The 10.1-inch touch display and 12.3-inch digital instrument panel from the previous year remain unchanged, yet there’s a twist – now, for basic capabilities such as high-beam assistance, dual-zone air conditioning, adaptive cruise control, and phone connectivity, you’ll have to purchase an in-car subscription.

By upgrading to the MMI navigation system, you gain entry to the app store. From there, Audi pushes you towards additional features such as adaptive cruise control and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These can be obtained through monthly, semi-annual, yearly, or triennial subscriptions. Alternatively, permanent purchase options for these features are available, although Audi has not disclosed the cost for this option.

The utilization of a subscription-based system for accessing special features is a notable aspect of the European version of the A3. Audi has not explicitly mentioned if this same model will be implemented in the US upon the car’s release in 2025.

The outward appearance of the cabin remains largely unchanged, although there have been some subtle alterations. The previously miniscule gear shifter in the A3 has been made even thinner and seamlessly integrates with the central console. The door panels now feature updated fabric inserts with intricate lightning patterns, and the interior lighting has expanded to offer a choice of 30 different colors.

There is a lack of information provided by Audi regarding the engines for the American market. However, in Europe, the basic version of the Audi A3 will be equipped with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that includes mild-hybrid technology. This engine is capable of producing 148 horsepower and can be paired with either a seven-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. Additionally, customers can opt for a 35 TDI diesel version that also generates 148 hp. At the end of the year, a plug-in hybrid option will also be released.

Additionally, Europe has introduced a stylish new version known as the A3 Allstreet. Designed to resemble a crossover, this five-door hatchback features a matte black grille, front and rear grooves that imitate skid plates, and plastic trim surrounding the wheel arches. The Allstreet sits 1.2 inches higher than its standard counterpart and offers a more comfortable ride. It comes with a set of 17-inch wheels as standard, but options for 18- and 19-inch wheels are also available.

The Allstreet and standard A3 Sportback offer a generous 13.4 cubic feet of room behind the back seats, along with an impressive 42.4 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down flat. For convenience, there is also the option to add an electric tailgate.

There is currently no official pricing from Audi for the A3 in the United States, however, it is expected that the Sportback will have a starting price of €35,650 (approximately $39,000) while the sedan will be priced at an additional €800 ($875). The unique A3 Allstreet model has a price tag of €37,450 ($41,000).

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