The new Audi A3, debuted at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, is a high-tech car full of innovation in all areas. The new car versions with hybrid and alternative drive systems such as natural gas and Audi e-gas are currently in development. A version with an exceptionally efficient 1.6 TDI engine will launch on the market in 2012; it consumes just 3.8 liters of diesel/100 km (61.90 US mpg), which is equivalent to 99 g/CO2 (159.33 g/mile).
The weight of the new Audi A3 is now 80 kg or 176.37 lb lighter compared to the previous model thanks to the Audi ultra lightweight technology. The new A3 1.4 TFSI is now weighs of just 1,175 kg or 2,590.43 lb. The front fender and engine hood are made of aluminum; the car body also integrates a high share of ultra high-strength and hot-formed steels.
The car’s styling visualizes the sporty character of the new Audi A3; it gives the 4.24 meter (13.91 feet) long three-door model a powerful stance on the road. Sharp edges provide the outlines for dynamically curved sheet-metal surfaces. The overall vehicle length was kept identical to the previous model, while the wheelbase grew to 2.60 meters (8.53 feet), and the angle of the C-pillars was made low like that on a coupe. The single-frame radiator grille that is typical of Audi dominates the look of the front end. As an option, Audi can supply headlights in xenon plus technology together with LED daytime running lights; in this case, the taillights are also equipped with LEDs. Later on, full LED headlights will extend the range of features – and will be a first in the compact car segment.
Inside, the new Audi A3 offers a completely redesigned interior that include the horizontal lines of an instrument panel that appears to float. The four round air vents, elegant control panel of the standard air conditioning system and the instrument cluster are all highlights here.
The electrically retractable MMI monitor – with a seven-inch diagonal in the top version – is only eleven millimeters thick (0.43 inches). The new electromechanical parking brake creates space on the console over the center tunnel for the terminal of the optional MMI operating system. In its full version – MMI navigation plus with MMI touch – the upper side of its rotary pushbutton is designed as a touchpad – another ergonomic innovation. The driver can input letters and numbers by finger motion as in the Audi full-size class.
The new Audi A3 will launch with three four-cylinder engines, all of which are essentially new developments. The two TFSI engines and the TDI work with 1.4, 1.8 and 2.0 liters of displacement. Their power levels are 90 kW (122 hp), 132 kW (180 hp) and 110 kW (150 hp). Compared to the previous model, fuel economy of the new A3 was improved by about 12 percent on average.
The 1.8 TFSI on the new Audi A3 is mated to a standard seven-speed S tronic; the 1.4 TFSI and 2.0 TDI are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. In each case, engine power is always transferred to the front wheels; quattro permanent all-wheel drive – and other engines, including a 1.4 TFSI engine with innovative cylinder on demand technology from Audi.
The new Audi A3 will enter the market in the spring, with the base price will be 21,600 euros in Germany.