Revamped Audi A3: A Subscription-Based Chaos [Update]

Monthly Fees for Cruise Control and Apple CarPlay: Beware.

Update: In a recent announcement, Audi clarified that the 2025 A3 model being released in the US will follow the same format as the previous 2024 model year for Function on Demand. This means that only the upgraded navigation system with the Virtual Cockpit and adaptive cruise control will be available as subscription options. Features such as dual-zone climate control and high-beam assist will not be offered as subscriptions in the US market. More details will be revealed closer to the A3’s release in the US.

The Audi A3 has stood the test of time, emerging as a resolute contender in the compact luxury car market since its inception in 1996. The latest iteration is set to arrive in the US for the 2025 model year with notable enhancements. However, these improvements are accompanied by bothersome in-car subscriptions.

Upon initial observation, the fresh A3 bears striking resemblance to its predecessor. Notably, its prominent hexagonal Singleframe grille, following suit with Audi’s recent aesthetics, marks its most significant alteration. In addition, enlarged air intakes situated at the lower end of the bumper, a high-positioned emblem on the front, and updated LED and matrix LED headlights with four unique daytime light patterns comprise the remaining modifications. Taking inspiration from the RS3, the rear bumper displays a new LED taillight design, accented by a black element and a mesh trim at the bottom.

The real excitement begins when you enter the interior. The familiar 10.1-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument panel remain from the previous model, however, now customers will be required to have an in-car subscription for essential functions such as high-beam assist, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, and smartphone compatibility.

When choosing to upgrade to the MMI navigation system, users gain access to the app store. This then leads Audi to insist on additional add-ons such as adaptive cruise control, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which require a subscription for either one month, six months, one year, or three years. Alternatively, these features can also be purchased permanently; however, Audi has not disclosed the cost.

It should be acknowledged that this methodology of paying for features through subscriptions will specifically pertain to the European version of the A3. According to an Audi representative, no statement has been made regarding the availability of these in-vehicle subscriptions in the US once the vehicle is released for purchase in 2025.

At first glance, the cabin appears to be similar, but upon closer inspection, there are a few subtle alterations. The gear shifter, which was already quite small in the previous A3 model, has now been made even slimmer and seamlessly integrates into the center console. Additionally, lightning-themed fabric inserts adorn the door panels, giving a fresh touch to the interior. The cabin lighting has also been revamped with 30 different color choices for added decorative flair.

Audi has not disclosed any specific details regarding the engines that will be available in the US market. However, it has been confirmed that the entry-level Audi A3 for Europe will be equipped with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder mild-hybrid engine generating 148 horsepower. This can be paired with either a seven-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. Similarly, the 35 TDI diesel variant will also produce 148 hp. Additionally, customers can expect a plug-in hybrid option to be released later this year.

Europe has recently introduced a sleek and stylish variation of the A3, known as the A3 Allstreet. This new trim aims to capture the appeal of a crossover vehicle, with its five-door hatchback design and additional features. The Allstreet sports a matte black grille, front and rear grooves that resemble skid plates, and plastic trim encircling the wheel wells. In contrast to the standard A3, the Allstreet sits 1.2 inches higher and offers a smoother ride. It comes equipped with 17-inch wheels, but larger 18- and 19-inch options are also offered.

The Allstreet and standard A3 Sportback offer impressive amounts of cargo room, boasting a generous 13.4 cubic feet behind the back seats and a whopping 42.4 cubic feet when the seats are folded down. For added convenience, an electric tailgate can also be added as an upgrade.

Audi has not yet announced the prices for the A3 in the United States. However, the Sportback model begins at €35,650 (approximately $39,000), with an additional €800 ($875) charge for the sedan version. For those interested in the unique A3 Allstreet, the starting price is €37,450 ($41,000).

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