The suspension of the new Audi A3 has an impressively balanced sporty tuning. The front axle is a McPherson construction with wishbones; the multi-link rear suspension absorbs the longitudinal and transverse forces. The models with 1.0 TFSI* and 1.6 TDI* are equipped with the lighter twist-beam rear axle. In the case of the optional sport suspension, the body lies 15 millimeters (0.6 in) lower, and with the S line sport suspension 25 millimeters (1.0 in) lower.
The electromechanical power steering is sensitive and highly efficient; in straight-ahead driving it need not absorb any energy – an important contribution to the overall efficiency of the new Audi A3. Audi optionally supplies the also electrically operated progressive steering system (not available for 1.0 TFSI, 1.6 TDI, e-tron* and g-tron*), whose specially toothed steering rack yields different gear ratios, depending on the steering angle – somewhat more indirect around the center position, more direct at the maximum angle of turn. As a result, the car drives with even greater agility, and the driver need steer less on tight bends and when parking. In the Audi S3 progressive steering is standard.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) completes the handling qualities perfectly. In fast cornering, wheel-selective torque control, a software function of the ESC, minimally brakes the inside front wheel (with front-wheel drive) or both inside wheels (with quattro drive). Both wheels of the axle can then transmit greater lateral force. The difference in propulsive forces causes the A3 to turn into the curve very slightly – making its handling even more precise, more neutral, sportier and more stable.
The ESC gives the driver the choice: in sport mode the system remains active, specifically increasing driving pleasure. In interplay with quattro drive, it supports spontaneous steering into bends and controlled drifting through active adjustment and slight braking interventions in oversteering. If the driver presses the ESC button for more than three seconds, the ESC will switch off completely, driving pleasure for the purist.
The new Audi A3 rides on 16-inch wheels as a standard feature, or on 17-inch wheels as of the sport and design trim lines.
The wide range of options includes new attractive designs especially for the 17-inch models – with 19-inch wheels at the top of the line. The line of tires has been overhauled and now offers improved tire performance with significantly optimized roll resistance.
The large wheels contain powerful brakes for a sporty, taut and finely dosed pedal feel. The front disks are internally ventilated and have a diameter of 276, 288, 312 or 340 millimeters (10.9/11.3/12.3/13.4 in), depending on the engine. The rear wheel disks are 272, 300 or 310 millimeters (10.7/11.8/12.2 in).
The electromechanical parking brake is integrated in the rear-axle brake system; if necessary, it also serves as an emergency brake if the hand brake is operated during driving. When the driver takes his foot off the pedal, the hold assist maintains the brake pressure for around three more seconds, so the car will not roll back or forward.
An attractive option in the new Audi A3 is the Audi drive select dynamic handling system (standard in the sport line), integrating the accelerator, the power steering, the S tronic and if available also the Audi magnetic ride. The driver can decide with the press of a button whether these systems should operate in auto, dynamic, individual or efficiency mode. The MMI screen or the Audi virtual cockpit continually displays the currently selected mode for the driver. In the Audi S3 values like the boost pressure and oil temperature can also be retrieved here. In efficiency mode, the optional deluxe automatic air conditioning also operates in a way specifically optimized for fuel consumption.
Another module integrated in the control system for the Audi drive select is the optional Audi magnetic ride suspension. It allows an even higher spread between firm and comfortable cushioning and gives the driver the choice between comfort, dynamic and auto modes. Within these framework constraints the system changes the damping forces within milliseconds. The body has been lowered by 15 millimeters (0.6 in), and by 25 millimeters (1.0 in) in the case of the S3.
In the suspension with damper control, a synthetic oil containing small magnetic particles circulates in the damper piston. When a voltage is applied by a solenoid, a magnetic field is generated that changes the orientation of the particles: They align perpendicular to the direction of flow of the oil, thus impeding its flow through the piston channels. The control unit continuously analyzes the driver’s style and condition of the road. Depending on the setting in Audi drive select, the ride of the new Audi A3 is either relatively comfortable, balanced or decidedly taut.
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.