The sophisticated chassis of the new Audi A3 Sportback is balanced, harmonious and sporty. The finely balanced axle load distribution is the foundation for this. The front axle has been shifted forward by 40 millimeters (1.57 in) compared with the previous model, shortening the overhang correspondingly.
The front axle of the Audi A3 Sportback is a McPherson construction with wishbones and lightweight aluminum pivot bearings. The subframe to which they are linked is also made of lightweight metal. The front suspension has a track of 1,535 millimeters (60.43 in). As in the rear suspension, an anti-roll bar is used here too.
The electromechanical power steering, whose electric motor is located directly on the steering rack, impresses with its high efficiency. Its steering gear ratio of 15.3:1 is direct, and steering assist is varied as a function of vehicle speed. The turning circle measures just 10.9 meters (35.76 ft). The steering works closely together with various systems and sensors on board the new A3 Sportback. This also includes the standard rest recommendation function in the driver information system and the optional Audi active lane assist and park assist.
The four-link rear suspension has a track of 1,506 mm (59.29 in). Its trailing links absorb drive forces and braking forces, and its bearings are sized large to enhance ride comfort.
On the other hand, the three wishbones per wheel, which are responsible for absorbing lateral forces, are rigidly joined to the subframe to improve handling characteristics.
The rear links are made of high-strength grades of steel, and with quattro all-wheel drive the wheel suspensions are cast aluminum. The shock absorbers and compact helical springs are mounted independent of one another – this is advantageous for a large luggage space and finely tuned response. A weight-optimized torsion beam rear suspension is used here in the 1.2 TFSI. Audi offers an optional sport suspension that lowers the body 15 millimeters (0.59 in). With the S line sport package the amount is 25 millimeters (0.98 in).
The new Audi A3 Sportback rolls standard on 16-inch steel wheels (Attraction) or alloy wheels (16-inch with Ambiente and 17-inch with Ambition and the S line sport package). Audi and quattro GmbH also offer wheels up to 18 inches in diameter in numerous designs – with polished components, two-tone or in high gloss. Tire sizes are 205/55, 225/45 and 225/40.
All of the tires are distinguished by their low rolling resistance, without any compromises in dynamic performance. A tire pressure monitoring indicator is standard, as is the tire repair set. An emergency spare wheel is available as an option; winter wheels can also be ordered in 16 to 18-inch sizes.
The powerful brakes of the new A3 Sportback can be very precisely metered. The pedal feel is spontaneous and firm. The vented front discs measure 288 or 312 millimeters (2.0 TD) in diameter (11.34 or 12.28 in); the rear discs always measure 272 millimeters (10.71 in). The new electromechanical parking brake, which is operated from a button next to the gearshift or gear selection lever, is integrated in the brake system of the rear suspension. It also serves as an emergency brake, if necessary. The optional hold assist maintains brake pressure for a certain time after the driver has taken the foot off the pedal, which enhances drive-off comfort.
In the A3 Sportback with front-wheel drive, the ESC stabilization control comes standard with the electronic limited slip differential. When the driven front wheel on the inside of a curve shows inadequate loading, the control module initiates a small and precise brake intervention at that wheel.
The intervention causes excess torque to flow to the outside wheel. Simultaneously, the difference in propulsive forces ensures that the car turns into the curve – which is helpful to the driver. Self-steering behavior remains neutral longer, making handling more precise, agile and stable.
Audi drive select (standard with Ambition) makes driving the new A3 Sportback an even more versatile and inspiring experience. The driver decides with the push of a button whether the accelerator response, the power steering and the optional S tronic operate in comfort, automatic, dynamic, individual or efficiency mode. In the latter mode, the optional deluxe automatic air conditioning and adaptive cruise control also operate in a mode targeted to optimize fuel consumption.
Another technology controlled via Audi drive select in auto mode is the optional electromagnetic damper control system Audi magnetic ride. Circulating within the shock absorbers is a synthetic hydrocarbon oil containing tiny magnetic particles between three and ten thousandths of a millimeter in size. When a voltage is applied by a solenoid, a magnetic field is generated in which the particles realign. They align perpendicular to the direction of flow of the oil, thus slowing its flow through the piston channels. The control unit constantly analyzes the condition of the road and the driver’s style, repeatedly adapting the damper forces within milliseconds.
The driver can chose one of two modes directly. In comfort mode, when oil viscosity is high, the new A3 Sportback offers a well-balanced, comfortable ride. In dynamic mode, by contrast – when the oil is less viscous – it reveals a dynamic character that is manifested by a firm grip on the road surface. The steering response is further improved, roll movements are largely suppressed, and targeted support of the individual wheels in fast driving through curves makes the car’s self-steering behavior even more dynamic.
The Audi A3 Sportback will be available with optional progressive steering at a later time. The progressive steering reduces the driver’s steering effort and provides precise steering feel with good road feel. On winding roads, the dynamics are even more tangible for the driver. The greater comfort as a result of the reduced steering effort is also noticeable in the city when maneuvering and parking.
The equipment and data specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.