The Audi A3 began production back in 1996 and, after being previewed by the A3 Concept, the car is now entering its third generation. After months of speculation the car has finally made its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The new A3 will go on sale in the spring, and first deliveries to customers will be this summer. Prices in Germany will start from 21,600 euros ($28,500 at the current exchange rates).
Audi has use the latest lightweight technology that helped them to reduce the car’s weight by about 176.37 lbs. In the same time the chassis is tuned for a sporty and agile driving style. At its launch, the new A3 will be offered with one TDI and two TFSI engines, with power ranging from 122 to 180 HP.
The A3 is now 13.91 feet long with its front being dominated by a single-frame radiator grille and LED daytime running lights. The interior has also been completely redesigned and has received new materials, workmanship and ergonomics.
UPDATE 03/05/2012: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs. Hit the jump to read more about the third generation Audi A3.
UPDATE 05/07/12: If you’re interested to know how the current Audi A3 came to be in terms of its design history, Audi has presented a new video chronicling the model’s design evolution. Check it out by clicking on the photo above!
The car measures 13.90 feet long, 4.66 feet height and the wheelbase grew by 0,91 inches to a total of 8.53 feet. Up front the car has received a very sculptural single-frame radiator grille with its six corners and a newly designed engine hood. The front bumper has received new, larger air intakes, while the newly designed headlamps are offered with standard LED technology, but Audi is also offering xenon plus units as an option.
The car’s side is defined by another Audi classic design element: a sharply delineated tornado line that runs above the side sills. At the rear the car has received split taillights – in LED technology when equipped with xenon plus headlights. The trunk lid has a sculpted, three-dimensional look and depending on the engine type the A3 will be offered with either one or two tailpipes on the left side in its diffuser insert.
Customers will have the possibility to choose between 13 paint colors, with an optional S-Line package adding a more sporty appeal.
The new A3’s interior has been completely redesigned and it is different for the different equipment lines – Attraction is the modern, Ambition the sporty and Ambiente the luxurious variant. The interior comes standard in black and titanium gray, but customers can also opt for pashmina beige, chestnut brown and capri orange or an even cooler leather/Alcantara for the seats covers.
The steering wheels is offered in three or four spokes, depending on the equipment line. Shift paddles and multifunction keys are available as an option. On the dashboard you will notice four large, round air vents in jet design, while every button, switch and control has been placed precisely where one expects them. The display of the driver information system (in color on the Ambition and Ambiente lines) positioned between the two large round instruments shows all key information, some in richly detailed 3D graphics – which generates a fascinating effect.
The car’s rear offers interior room for three persons and the trunk lid offers a basic capacity of 365 liters. The list of standard equipment includes: air conditioning system with manual control, height adjustable front seats, on-board computer with efficiency program and a full package of safety restraint systems.
At its official market launch the new A3 will be offered with a choice of three engines: one TDI and two TFSI engines. The base model will be powered by a 1.4 TFSI engine that delivers a total of 122 HP and a peak torque of 147 lbs-ft. This version will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds and up to a top speed of 126.14 mph, all this while delivering a fuel economy of 45.23 US mpg.
The top gasoline version will be powered by a 1.8 TFSI engine with an output of 180 hp and 184.39 lb-ft of torque between 1,250 and 5,000 rpm. This model will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and up to a top speed 144.16 mph, while offering a combined fuel consumption of 42.00 US mpg.
Diesel model will use a 2.0 TDI with 150 HP and 236.02 lb-ft. This version will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 134.22 mph; it delivers a fuel economy of 57.37 US mpg.
The 1.4-litre TFSI and 2.0-litre TDI engines will be linked to a six-speed manual transmission. In the 1.8 TFSI, the seven-speed S tronic transmission will be standard.
The new A3 will go on sale in the spring, and first deliveries to customers will be this summer. Prices in Germany will start from 21,600 euros ($28,500 at the current exchange rates).
Ever since its official debut the Lexus CT200h has been announced as a competitor for the Audi A3. It is a hybrid model its true, but Audi has also announced plans for a hybrid A3. However, next to it we can find lots of other competitors for the A3: models like Mini Cooper or Volvo C30 are just some of them. The new generation Cooper will be unveiled in 2013 and it will be offered with a new three-cylinder engine family next to the conventional four-cylinder engines. The C30 is also preparing for a remodel for the 2013 model year. It will also receive a new range of modular four-cylinder VEA (Volvo Environmental Architecture) engines, but with capacities no bigger than 2.0 liter.
New engine line-up
At this point we love it