When Audi introduced the A3 Sportback, Europeans and Americans (especially) were excited to see a luxury car company offer a hot hatch. Today Audi aims to build on the legacy of the A3 with the announcement of their third-gen five-door and three-door A3 Sportback– available to European markets.
Longer and wider (58mm and 35mm respectively), the A3 is the latest embodiment of Audi’s progressive technological and performance breakthroughs. Utilizing the company’s new lightweight construction techniques and materials, the new A3 is 198 lb lighter than the previous model. The front axle has been shifted forward by 40 millimetres compared with the previous model, shortening the overhang. All of the engines are installed tilted backward by 12 degrees with the exhaust end facing the bulkhead, providing a well balanced drive.
The front axle of the Sportback is a McPherson construction with wishbones and lightweight aluminum pivot bearings. It is mounted on an aluminum subframe. Mounted on a steel subframe, the four-link rear suspension handles longitudinal and transverse forces independently. The springs and dampers are mounted separately. The two sports suspensions available lower the body by 15mm or 25mm respectively.
The European A3 will see several engine options ranging from turbo diesels, to two different gasoline engines. A TFSI 1.4L (140hp/147 lb-ft), a 2.0L TDI (150hp/236 lb-ft), a powerful 1.8 TFSI (180hp/184 lb-ft) and a 1.6L TDI (coming late 2013). Each power train is comes standard with a six-speed manual. In the case of the UK only 1.8 TFSI, a paddle shifting six-speed S tronic transmission will be available.
The new Sportback exhibits Audi’s latest taut design language with striking shoulder lines and tone body panels. With an available S-Line package, the car comes complete with xenon projectors, daytime running LED headlights, a chiseled body kit and 18” alloy wheels. Inside, offers a completely new S-Line interior package as well. A sport steering wheel and diamond stitched cobra-hood inspired head rests are incorporated into premium leather seats. A raw aluminum cut
Other highlighted features on the Sportback are apparent inside. The central computer of the new MMI includes the MMX board (MMX: Multi-Media eXtension). One of the plug-in module’s key components is the fast T-20 graphics process from Nvidia’s Tegra 2 series. The chip, which generates complex 3D images, is used in all online, voice control, media, navigation and telephone functions.
The high-resolution monitor of the MMI operating system measures either 5.8 or 7 inches in diagonal and extends automatically from the instrument panel. Just 11 millimeters (0.43 in) thick, its lightweight magnesium housing is finished in high-gloss black for an elegant, premium appearance.
For now the three-door version of the A3 will not be coming to the US – again. We can look forward to the sporty five-door TDI and soon the 1.8 TFSI, maybe even a RS3 (no confirmation from Audi on this one).