2015 Audi A3 photo gallery

I recently had the chance to get a sneak peak of the 2015 Audi A3 out in California, and I have to say, I really liked it.

This compact sedan replaces the outgoing hatchback version of the A3 -- but not to worry: Both a sportback and cabrio version will be available this fall.

What I liked about the A3: It's a smooth operator. Both the 1.8 and 2.0 engines are very responsive and quick. Ride and handling is definitely sporty. And, due to the compact size of the A3, it's really easy to whip this car around in aggressive maneuvers. It's great on curvy roads and comfortable on highway stretches.

What I didn't like about the A3: There is no manual transmission. Not as an option. At all. While the dual-clutch transmission is nice, a manual on a car like this is always better for the driving enthusiast. What bums me out even more is that a manual won't even be offered on the S3 when it comes Stateside.

Interesting to note: While the A3 will come standard with leather seats, the Cold Weather Package is a $500 option, and navigation via the Audi MMI system is a $1,900 option. Base price, however, with the 1.8-liter engine is $29,900, which makes these two options a little more palatable.

Best feature: Picture navigation. When I first heard about this feature, I thought that someone could send you a picture of a place, you could load it into the navigation system, and it would take you there. While that's not what this feature does, it's no less cool. The basic gist of this feature is that someone can send you a photo from a location -- any photo, like, say of your shoes -- and when you load it into the navigation system, it pulls the geolocation and sets the destination that way. For a better description of this awesome feature, check out my rave.

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