The Audi A3 is a premium compact hatchback from the German automaker and, when it went into production in 1996, featured the same styling as the A4 had at the time. The A3 was powered by a variety of four cylinder power plants with the Euro only 225 HP 1.8T equipped S3 with Quattro all wheel drive as the premier model. This version accelerated from 0 to 60 MPH in 6.6 seconds and reached a top speed of 151 MPH. In 2003, Audi released the second generation A3 for the global market. This four ring hatch is powered by everything from a 1.4 Liter TFSI motor to a 3.2 Liter FSI power plant making 247 HP and 236 lb-ft of torque with the TDI model winning a host of COTY awards. As of 2010, the pricey V6 engine has been dropped and a 2.0L turbo engine producing 200hp has been added. These engine options are mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.
A few years ago Audi started a big clean diesel push in the United States market when they brought the Q7 TDI over. The Q7 TDI was one of the most fuel efficient seven-seat SUVs on the market, but man was it ugly. Thankfully, the diesel Q7 was just the first step for the German company in its diesel push. Welcome to the Audi A3 Sportback TDI.
The A3 is the entry-level model for Audi here in the U.S. Previous models have been sold with a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder or a 3.2-liter V6 engine that were petrol powered. Now, Audi has added a new motor to the lineup, a diesel motor. We had a chance to take the diesel hatch out on the streets of Wisconsin for a few hours.
The A3 is in the same market as its brother, the Volkswagen Golf and the BMW 1-Series. It comes in front and all-wheel drive modes with a transverse-mounted engine. Unlike our European brethren, we only get the five-door model.
We are almost concerned that tuning companies have to look to older models to create new tuning packages recently. A few days ago we wrote about the new tuning package for the old 2007 Mercedes E-Class W211 by Prior Design. Today, we bring you a new tuning package for the Audi A3 8P for model years up to 2008 by JMS. Are tuning companies getting bored? The Audi A3 8P debuted in 2003 as a 3-door hatchback and only had to wait about a year for Audi to release it as a 5-door sportback. In 2008, Audi released the A3 8P as a cabriolet. Now, in 2010, JMS has decided to give the Audi A3 8P a little of a facelift with its Racelook aerodynamic package with most accessories fitting all of the models.
The new aerodynamic package consists of a new frontlip, side skirts that make the car look lower, and a Racelook rear apron with an optional aluminum grating in black or silver. Rounding off the package is the much needed stainless steel dual rear muffler with round tips. JMS has also provided a 3 piece look roof spoiler. JMS also recommends a KW v1 coil over kit that lowers the vehicle on both axles by up to 50mm for a better driving experience. The car is finished by exclusive Corniche chrome rims in 8X19 with 225/35-19 tires.
Now that Audi has brought the new A3 on the market, they have moved on to preparing its higher performance RS version. Back in April, a test mule was caught lapping in Nurburgring and we had assumed that it would lead to a Paris Motor Show debut. That proved to be an accurate assumption as Audi will be debuting the RS3 at the end of September at the show.
The Audi RS3 will only be offered in a five-door version with prices anticipated to be between £38,000 -£40,000. Like the Audi TT RS, the Audi RS3 will be powered by a 2.5 liter, 5-cylinder turbocharged engine that is found in the TT-RS, but will adjust it to gain another 10hp, bringing the total horsepower up to 350. The engine will be mated to a new 7-speed S-trinic gearbox (PQ500 unit) as an option (also available on TT RS for ordering now). It is also rumored that the RS3 will get an all-new chassis which wouldn’t be surprising considering they have also gone to some lengths to decrease weight ont he hatchback. Audi has fitted the hatchback with aluminum panels, suspension parts, and special lightweight sport seats to trim the fat.
We have also heard that Audi will only build 2,700 units of the RS3, which is exactly the number of units the BMW 1-Series M Coupe will see. Coincidence? We think not.
There is some bad news to this story though; U.S. Audi fans shouldn’t hold their breath in anticipation for the new RS3. If Audi won’t share the 261 hp S3 with North America, the chances are slim that it will export its halo vehicle.
UPDATE 09/16/2010: This review has been updated with new details on the RS3.
After the TT and the Q7, Audi unveiled the 2011 A3 Sportback. Like with the TT, the A3 Sportback gets a few changes on both the exterior and interior. Sales will begin in the early summer.
The exterior changes include: high-gloss black paint on the single-frame grille element and the trims on the B-posts, aerodynamically optimized mirrors, chrome strips in the door handles, and a new diffuser insert with an eye-catching separating edge. On the interior, Audi added dials with a gray background, a flat-bottomed leather sports steering wheel, a new selector lever for the S tronic, black rings on the air vents, and a high-gloss trim for the optional navigation system plus.
The engine line-up includes nine engines: five gasoline and four diesel. Outputs range from 105 HP in the entry level 1.2 TFSI version to 265 HP in the 2.0 TFSI version. All of the engines are mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard or a dual-clutch transmission with six or seven speeds as an option.
Hot off winning the Green Car of the Year award, Audi is getting serious about the diesel burning boosted version of the A3 TDI compact hatch with their latest Superbowl commercial. The Green Police are out to crack down on every kind of consumer waste from shoppers using single use plastic bags at the supermarket to police drinking out of Styrofoam cups.
Some might say that the Green Police are going a little too far with their efforts to clean up the environment, however the commercial does make for some very funny situations that will hopefully leave new car shoppers here in the U.S. thinking a little differently about alternative fuels in their premium vehicles. Enjoy!
Even if the diesel burning Audi A3 just arrived in U.S. last month, the alternatively fueled hatchback already has a huge following around the world. And it hasn’t taken long for the other A3 to find success being named the 2010 Green Car of the Year by the Green Car Journal and the GreenCar.com website at the 2009 LA Auto Show. The 2.0 Liter TDI four cylinder engine delivers a maximum output of 140 HP and because it is a diesel, significantly more torque, 236 lb-ft to be exact. Yet despite the excessive amount of thrust, the green A3 is able to get an EPA estimated 42 MPG on the highway.
According to the President of Audi of America, Johan de Nysschen, "We consider the Green Car of the Year® title one of the most important industry accolades. It is of paramount importance for us to develop vehicles that achieve the very touchstones this award stands for fuel efficiency and environmental impact. Rather than novelty features, we consider these attributes imperative to the future of automobile design. We are honored with this recognition for the Audi A3 TDI." With a shift towards premium compacts and fuel efficient car shopping, Audi look like they are on the right track towards selling these green A3s like hot cakes.
According to reports, the German automotive conglomerate Volkswagen AG is reshaping the lineup of four ringed luxury vehicles that it is planning to offer in the U.S. in a more economical way. While Audi has no plans of producing a diminutive A1 mini car or a drop top A3, they are planning a few other versions of the compact hatchback. These variants include everything from a clean diesel burning five door to a four door sedan, much like an upscale VW Jetta, and even a compact crossover called the Q3. The German automaker is also considering a zero emissions A2 BEV. An all electric A2 city car would definitely soften up the U.S. market’s opinion about a possible e-Tron super car further on down the road.
On a more global note, the German automaker has also canceled plans to build an all out racecar spec motor sports version of their current entry level sedan, the RS4. However Audi did tell us that their RennSport division is focusing on the B segment cars, so that only leaves the RS5 to get our high performance hopes up, at least until the next round of cutbacks. However it would have been unlikely for the German automaker to expand the breadth of their RS lineup for next year with the TT-RS scheduled for delivery and an RS3 in the works. Although we here in the U.S. will most likely never see the latter, it is rare that Audi build more than one RS variant per model year. Either way it looks like all of Audi’s in house high performance tuner cars will keep with a sleek two door theme.
Audi has combined for the first time in a model the start-stop system and the S-tronic dual-clutch transmission. This application will be used for the first time in the Audi A3 1.6 TDI with 105 hp and the 1.4 TFSI with 125 hp.
Thanks to this new technology the Audi A3 TDI will have a fuel economy if 56.00 US mpg and the TFSI version of 44.38 US mpg.
The start-stop system turns the engine off as soon as the vehicle comes to a stop; the engine stays off as long as the driver depresses the brake pedal. As soon as the driver removes their foot from the brake pedal, start-stop turns the engine back on – quietly, conveniently and quickly.
In standard trim the Audi A3 Convertible is a very attractive looking open air compact, but the German tuning firm Hofele Design figured that they would put their creative skills to the test and do it one better. Hofele has developed an all new appearance package for the A3 that gives the little car a racing inspired GTS look up front with a redesigned front bumper that incorporates two large air intakes on either side that can be left alone or filled in with the optional fog light kit. Another upgrade that owners can consider at the time of installation is to replace the factory grill with a piece from an S3, if not the original unit can be utilized.
Out back the Audi A3 convertible receives Hofele’s new rear apron that is attached directly to the stock bumper and includes a very sporty looking rear diffuser. Hofele allows A3 owners to add a little performance and style at the same time with their quad sport exhaust system that fits perfectly inside of the new rear fascia. However just like up front Hofele allows owners to reuse the stock components, in this case the exhaust with another diffuser that offers the same sport style with one less cutout for a very clean look.
The sneaky automotive paparazzi have spotted a cleverly disguised next generation hatchback from Audi. It is true that the German automaker has just unveiled a refreshed version of the compact A3 with a new facelift, but the photo shows that the four ringed design team have already gotten to work on the next generation model. The spy shot proves it. Even if on the car says "Golf" on the hatch, the car is in fact a test mule for the next A3. Albeit cleverly disguised with boxed fenders, VW taillights and set of steelies. What we can say about the next Audi A3 is that it will grow a little bit in every dimension, the wider track should make for an even more stable ride.
If you remember the luxury automaker pulled the same trick when trying out the, at the time, future Q3 that was firstly tested using VW Tiguan regalia as well as when the A1 city car was being developed badged as a Volkswagen Polo.