When designing the new A3 sedan, Audi had the American market on its mind, as the model offers the compact dimensions needed for a crowded city. Also, Audi wanted to bring the original 1994 Audi A4 to everyone’s mind.
The model looks basically the same as the concept version and it adds some innovative features for the A-segment, like a signature Singleframe grille and available full-LED headlights.
On the inside, Audi opted for a "wraparound" dash design with an innovative three-dimensional inlay surrounding the driver and front passenger. The model offers the same high-quality materials found in the A8 and optional packages will help customers further customize the sedan. For example, an optional LED lighting package adds white LED light surrounding the center console, door panels, cup holders and even the Bang & Olufsen Sound System when so equipped.
The new A3 sedan will be offered with the MMI operating system that features a 7-inch high-resolution display screen with magnesium backing that is less than 1/2-inch thick.
In the U.S. market, the new A3 sedan will be offered with a choice of three engines: a 170-horsepower 1.8 TFSI, a 150-horsepower 2.0 TDI clean diesel, and a 2.0 TFSI whose specifications will be announced at a later date.
All three engines will be offered with a standard six-speed S tronic combined with an Audi drive select system that allows the driver to adjust throttle response, shift points and the electromechanical steering effort. The Audi drive select has four settings: Auto, Dynamic, Comfort and Individual.
The new-generation Audi A3 received an updated chassis, with the front wheels moved forward by roughly 1.5 inches to provide well-balanced proportions, supplemented by optimized interior space utilization and an improved crash structure.
The model comes equipped with MacPherson-design front suspension with A-arms and aluminum pivot bearings, while the rear ones are offered in a four-link design with the springs and shock absorbers mounted separately.
Audi is also installing technologies, like the electronic stabilization control (ESC) that improves traction when cornering.
The new Audi A3 sedan will go on sale on the U.S. market showrooms in the first quarter of 2014.
In the European market the new A3 sedan will go on sale this summer at a starting price of €25,000 - about $32,000 at the current exchange rates.
The new Audi A3 sedan is entering a market relatively young, with few models to compete with.
The biggest competitor for the new A3 sedan is a very young model: the new Mercedes CLA-Class, unveiled earlier this year in Detroit. It comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that delivers a total of 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque - the only engine available on the U.S. market.
Verano is an older model on the market, as it was revealed back in 2011 in Detroit and already managed to steal the heart of many customers. It is powered by an Ecotec 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 177 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque.
If Audi will keep the price down for the new A3 sedan, we are very sure it will be a big hit on the market, as it features a great exterior design, a luxury interior and a wide choice of engines.
With the launch of the A3 Sedan this spring, Audi is entering the world’s largest market segment, the class of compact sedans. The dynamic four-door car offers all of the strengths of the A3 model series – with low weight thanks to lightweight design, powerful and highly efficient engines and numerous high-end solutions for infotainment as well as driver assistance systems. The top model of the series is the S3 Sedan with 221 kW (300 hp).
The Audi A3 Sedan has a sporty stance on the road, and it is precise and highly expressive in every detail. Its design is a cross between the classic three-box concept and the coupé philosophy. The “tornado line” design element forms a distinct light-refracting edge that runs over the entire side. The overhangs are short. The four-door car has a 2.64 meter (8.66 ft) long wheelbase and an overall length of 4.46 meters (14.63 ft).
Above the side sills, the dynamic line rises more sharply than on the other two A3 models. The side surfaces are more intensively curved, and the wheel arches are slightly more flared. With a width of 1.80 meters (5.91 ft), the A3 Sedan is eleven mm (0.43 in) wider than the A3 Sportback; its height (1.42 meters [4.66 ft]) is still nine mm (0.35 in) lower than that of the Sportback.
The four-door car also expresses independent lines in the contour of its hood, in the bumpers, air intakes and its implementation of the singleframe grille. At the rear, the spoiler is integrated in the trunk lid, and the lights emphasize the car’s horizontal lines with their broad and low cuts. LED technology is available as an option. Audi will also be offering full-LED headlights right at market launch – their innovative technology and distinctive appearance underscore the exceptional positioning of the A3 Sedan.
With a 1.4 TFSI engine, the sedan has a curb weight of just 1,250 kg (2,755.78 lb). Audi uses many hot-shaped steel parts in the passenger compartment for low weight and maximum strength, while the engine hood is made of aluminum. The body is very rigid, crash-safe and quiet.
The strict dictate of lightweight design carries over into the interior and the engines as well. The four-cylinder engine weighs just over 100 kg (220.46 lb).
When the Audi A3 Sedan launches in Germany and Europe, the engine line-up will consist of three four-cylinder engines. Completely redesigned, the engines bring together efficiency technologies from Audi – direct fuel injection, turbocharging, innovative thermal management and the start-stop-system. The line-up of engines and transmissions will grow further, and will include two new basic engines.
The 2.0 TDI produces 110 kW (150 hp) and develops 320 Nm (236.02 lb-ft) of torque. It accelerates the A3 Sedan from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 8.7 seconds and takes it to a top speed of 220 km/h (136.70 mph). Its combined fuel consumption is 4.1 liters per 100 km (57.37 US mpg) – for a CO2 equivalent of 108 grams per km (172.20 g/mile).
Key performance parameters of the 1.4 TFSI are 103 kW (140 hp) and 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft). At low engine load, the COD (cylinder on demand) system deactivates two cylinders. The 1.4-liter engine gives the car a combined fuel consumption of just 4.7 liters fuel per 100 km (50.05 US mpg); its CO2 emissions are 109 grams per km (175.42 g/mile). It takes just 8.4 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph), and the car’s top speed with this engine is 213 km/h (132.35 mph).
The 1.8 TFSI produces 132 kW (180 hp) and 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft) of torque. It utilizes an extensive package of high-end technologies, including dual injection into the combustion chambers and the induction manifold. It enables sporty performance, taking 7.3 seconds for the standard sprint to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) and reaching a top speed of 235 km/h (146.02 mph). Its combined fuel consumption is 5.6 liters per 100 km (42.00 US mpg), equivalent to 129 grams CO2 per km (207.61 g/mile).
Depending on the engine, either a manual six-speed transmission or the S tronic is used. The dual-clutch transmission shifts the gears without any noticeable break in propulsive power. It is controlled by either the selector lever or paddles on the steering wheel.
The D shifting map is laid out for maximum fuel efficiency, while the rev levels are somewhat higher in the sporty S mode. In cooperation with the Audi drive select vehicle dynamics system, the S tronic offers a free-wheeling function in its efficiency mode which further reduces fuel consumption.
The pole position that the Audi A3 Sedan has enjoyed in its segment is largely due to its chassis engineering. Providing the foundation here is a finely balanced axle load distribution (60 percent front and 40 percent rear, varies somewhat for different engines). All engines are tilted twelve degrees towards the rear, while the front wheel suspensions are placed far forward.
The front suspension is a MacPherson design with A-arms and aluminum pivot bearings. It is joined to an aluminum subframe. The electromechanically assisted steering system operates sensitively and efficiently together with various assistance systems. In the four-link rear suspension, which utilizes a steel crossmember, the springs and shock absorbers are mounted separately. The sport suspensions for the Ambition line and S line lower the body by up to 25 mm (0.98 in).
The Audi A3 Sedan has 16- to 18-inch-wheels; quattro GmbH can also deliver wheels up to 19 inches in diameter. The front brake discs are internally ventilated.
Electronic stabilization control or ESC also includes an electronic differential lock. In fast driving through curves, it brakes the inside front wheel very slightly to minimize understeering and improve traction.
The interior of the Audi A3 Sedan is characterized by impressive attention to detail. The lines and surfaces are cleanly designed, and a long arc spans the width of the windshield. The instrument panel with its curved front is slender, and the center console is slightly turned towards the driver. The optional color display of the driver information system (DIS) shows images in highly detailed 3D graphics.
Starting with the MMI Radio system, the MMI operating system has an electrically extending screen. Its terminal is housed in the console of the center tunnel. The electromechanical parking brake is activated by a pushbutton. The steering wheel has either three or four spokes, depending on the version. The customer can also order the steering wheel with a flat bottom, multifunction keys and shift paddles. Audi can also install sport seats in the front as an option. They are standard in the Ambition line, where S sport seats with integrated head restraints are available as an option.
The interior colors – black, titan gray, pashmina beige and chestnut brown – are based on the specific equipment line. The two-tone Audi design selection lasso brown creates an exclusive color world. The S line sport package, which can be ordered for the A3 Sedan Ambition, immerses the interior space entirely in black. Available upholstery materials include fabric covers, a mix of fabric and artificial leather, Milano leather and a combination of Pearl nappa leather and Alcantara.
Thanks to the long wheelbase, rear passengers also enjoy ample space and comfortable entry. The cargo capacity of the trunk measures 425 liters (15.01 cubic feet). This capacity can be increased by folding down the rear seatbacks which come with a load-through hatch as an option. The trunk lid automatically swings upward after it is unlocked.
Infotainment and Audi connect
Like its siblings in the model series, the A3 Sedan makes use of the new modular infotainment system (MIB). The top system is MMI Navigation plus with an SSD hard drive offering 64 GB of storage, a DVD drive and whole-word voice control. A high-resolution 7-inch-screen shows the map image in detailed 3D graphics. The MMI Navigation plus system interfaces to cell phones and mobile players via Bluetooth. The user terminal has a turn/push control designed as a “touchwheel” with MMI touch – the touchwheel’s top surface is a touch-sensitive pad for inputting letters, symbols and numbers.
Other infotainment components include a module for digital radio reception (DAB+), the Audi phone box for conveniently coupling a cell phone to the car antenna and the Bang & Olufsen sound system. Its 705 watt amplifier drives 14 loudspeakers in 5.1 surround sound, and LED light guides illuminate the woofer grilles in the front doors.
Audi connect covers all technologies that network the driver with the car, the Internet, infrastructure and other vehicles. Audi has made the system even more appealing – whenever possible the connection to the Internet is run over the super-fast LTE standard. The LTE telephone module replaces the previous UMTS module here, which enables a download rate of up to 100 MBit/s in the car.
Audi connect lets passengers conveniently surf and e-mail via an integrated WLAN hotspot. For the driver, it brings customized Internet services from Audi into the car. They range from navigation using images from Google Earth and Google Street View to Audi traffic information online and the smartphone app Audi music stream. News and information services complete the line-up. The online community services Facebook and Twitter are integrated in a vehicle-friendly way; along with a text-to-speech function, a practical text function is provided with prepared text units.
A new Audi connect service that is making its debut in the A3 Sedan is parking space information. It shows information on parking spaces, parking garages and underground garages near a destination selected by the driver. Whenever possible, the service indicates the number of available spaces and parking fees. The street address of the parking space can be used as a navigation destination.
The new Audi A3 Sedan is launching with a generous set of standard features. The package of restraint systems includes a knee airbag for the driver. The DIS with color display in the Ambition and Ambiente lines includes an efficiency program, gearshift indicator and rest recommendation feature.
In addition, the Ambition line has a sport suspension, 17-inch-alloy wheels, sport seats and the Audi drive select system. The Ambiente line adds a cruise control system, interior LED lighting package and rear parking assistant. In addition to these standard features, Audi also offers other individual comfort and convenience options – such as a panoramic glass sunroof, convenience key, auxiliary heating and xenon-based adaptive lights. In conjunction with MMI Navigation plus, the lighting system utilizes route data to optimally illuminate the roadway depending on the driving situation.
Optional driver assistance systems also come from the premium class. The adaptive cruise control (ACC) maintains a desired distance between the A3 Sedan and the vehicle in front of it up to a speed of 150 km/h (93.21 mph); with the assistance package, which combines multiple systems, the control range is extended up to 200 km/h (124.27 mph). When combined with S tronic, ACC also offers a stop&go function for low speeds.
The rear radar sensor Audi side assist monitors lane changes, while Audi active lane assist helps the driver to keep within the lane by making slight corrections to the electromechanical steering as necessary. The video camera of Audi active lane assist is also used for traffic sign recognition. A high-end solution for convenient parking is park assist with display of the surroundings – it relieves the driver of steering work in parallel and perpendicular parking maneuvers.
Another high-end option is the safety system Audi pre sense basic. Pre sense front is integrated in the adaptive cruise control system. In case of an imminent rear-end collision, the system warns the driver using a staged reaction strategy; if necessary, it can even initiate hard braking. In an emergency situation at speeds under 30 km/h (18.64 mph), Audi pre sense front can brake the A3 Sedan with nearly full braking power. If a crash occurs, the brake assist system avoids secondary collisions by ensuring that the car does not travel further in an uncontrolled manner.
With the A3 Sedan, Audi is entering the world’s strongest market segment, the class of compact sedans.
In Germany and many European countries, the four-door car will be available at dealers late this summer. The base price for the 1.4 TFSI is around 25,000 euros.