Aggressive Audi Auditions
The new A3 breaks convention with a couple of new features. Longer and with two extra doors, the Sportback offers more space and comfort. This 5-seater is amongst the first cars based on the Volkswagen Group’s new MQB platform (subsequently used for the 2013 Golf). One of the MQB platform’s features is that it can relatively easy give rise to cars of quite different lengths.
A number of comparative statistics bode well for the German carmakers. Luggage space with the rear seats in place is 380litres. Other comparative models in the small segment, the BMW 1-Series and the Mercedes Benz A-Class offer less room. Fold the seats down and the available volume expands to 1220 litres.
Audi has modestly admitted that what makes this car fun is that it is lighter. Shaving off close to 120kg from the weight of the old car while making it slightly larger with a 260cm wheelbase (the three door hatchback rides on a slightly shorter chassis), this short configuration provides better control and an engaging spirited experience. Audi admits that some of that gain in weight reduction comes thanks to extensive use of high strength steels and aluminium, specifically for the bonnet, fenders and the front subframe.
For now, the Sportback is available with just three engines: a 120hp 1.4 TFSI petrol and a 148hp 2.0 TDI diesel, both mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, and a 178hp 1.8 TFSI petrol with seven-speed semi-automatic S-tronic transmission. A 104hp 1.6 TDI with an official CO2 rating of 99g/km will be released this month followed later in the year by a 104hp 1.2 TFSI and a 138hp version of the 1.4 TFSI with cylinder-on-demand technology for better fuel economy and lower carbon dioxide emissions.
The Audi A3 will be offered with a selection of packages that will allow buyers an element of customisation to focus the interior more on comfort, sportiness or technology. A Technik will offer satellite navigation and a multimedia touch control that is a smaller interpretation of the writing touch pad seen in Audi’s higher-end luxury models the A8 limo and A7 Sportback. Late 2013 will also see the Audi A3 become available with in-car wi-fi hotspot and Google Earth integration.