The new Audi A3 has a sporty and taut stance on the street. Its athletically sculpted body with a low engine hood, prominent shoulders and sharply inclined C-pillars emphasize its width; each styling element is precise and highly expressive. The new premium compact is 4.24 meters (13.91 ft) long, 1.78 meters (5.84 ft) wide and 1.42 meters (4.66 ft) tall. Its wheelbase has grown to 2.60 meters (8.53 ft), while its front overhang has been shortened accordingly.
The interior continues the light line design of the exterior. A recessed curved piece, the wrap-around, runs the length of the instrument panel. Its construction is lean and low, and it appears to hover at the center console. Large round air vents in jet-engine styling and elaborately sculpted inlays provide decorative accents.
The A3 1.4 TFSI weighs no more than 1,175 kg (2590.43 lb) – the best value in the premium compact class. Compared to the previous model, developers reduced the car’s curb weight by up to 80 kg (176.37 lb) – once again reversing the upward weight spiral and living up to the Audi ultra lightweight construction principle.
The occupant cell of the new Audi A3 was made 25 kg (55.12 lb) lighter. One reason is that form-hardened steels were used extensively. The engine hood and fenders are made of aluminum; together they save over nine kilograms (19.84 lb). Many parts in the chassis and interior also contribute to overall weight reduction – from the aluminum pivot bearings in the front suspension to the blower motor of the climate control system. The entirely new engines that were developed are also exceptionally lightweight.
The new A3 launches with one TDI and two TFSI engines; their displacements range from 1.4 to 2.0 liters and their power from 90 kW (122 hp) to 132 kW (180 hp). All engines follow Audi’s downsizing philosophy, and technologies from the modular efficiency component platform also improve fuel economy. The 2.0 TDI, for example, attains a combined fuel consumption of 4.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (57.37 US mpg).
All engines have the same mounting position in the new A3 – which comes from standardization in the modular transverse platform (MQB). This mounting arrangement and the compact layout of the new gasoline engines have shortened the length of the vehicle’s front end. This let Audi developers shift the front axle forward, which benefits crash behavior and the distribution of axle loads.
Audi is pairing the 1.4 TFSI and 2.0 TDI with a manual six-speed transmission. The seven-speed S tronic is standard equipment in the 1.8 TFSI; the dual-clutch transmission adds a freewheeling function in conjunction with Audi drive select. The quattro permanent all-wheel drive will make its appearance later in 2012, and the engine lineup will continue to rapidly grow – with remarkably efficient, powerful and low-emitting drive systems.
In the areas of mobile infotainment and driver assistance systems, the new Audi A3 offers optional solutions that are entirely new to the segment. Customized online services, which the brand offers under Audi connect, rapidly connect drivers with their surroundings and supply the driver with key information – in an easy-to-comprehend format.
A comprehensive array of optional infotainment components is offered to make use of the new services, in which the top unit is MMI navigation plus. This high-end system impresses with its super-flat, electrically deploying seven-inch monitor and new user control concept, in which MMI touch was integrated in the rotary pushbutton: It has been made into a touchwheel with a touch-sensitive surface.
Audi has developed a wide variety of assistance systems for a comfortable and superior driving experience. They range from adaptive cruise control to Audi side assist and Audi active lane assist to the safety system Audi pre sense basic.
Audi quality knows no compromises – and Audi employees in Quality Assurance help to ensure that this objective is met. A considerable share of the high quality of the new A3 is already achieved in vehicle development. Conformance to dimensional tolerances in body construction, the precision of interior parts, visual coordination of all chrome and colored parts, as well as the analysis of the chemical properties of the materials – all of these areas are core competencies of Audi Quality Assurance.
In vehicle driving trials, many millions of kilometers are driven each year on what are known as function safeguarding trials. When a development project has been completed, Quality Assurance issues a production release for the total vehicle, and it continues to meticulously check the quality of the cars during production.
The equipment, data, and prices specified refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.