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Click above for a high resolution gallery of the S3 Sportback

Audi has revealed the model updates for the European-spec 2009 A3 and S3. Both are slightly larger than the previous version, and the S3 is now available in the 5-door Sportback version. The front of the A3 receives a freshened look including a more complex design around the grille and more modern headlights with optional bi-xenon units that incorporate LEDs. At the rear there is a modified tailgate and the taillight design uses fiber optic rods to create a pretty cool effect. The interior features new aluminum design trim and new colors and fabrics for the seats, and the controls for the audio system have been given a new look. As for the powertrain, the Euro-only diesel engines have been reworked to include an updated fuel injection system. All engine options are now available with the S tronic transmission, and the 1.6, 1.4 TFSI and 1.8 TFSI engines can be paired with a newly developed seven-speed version.

Follow the jump for the full press release with all the details for the updated A3 and S3, and check out the galleries of each car below.

[Source: Audi]


The Audi A3: Fresh dynamism increasing driving pleasure

The Audi A3 and A3 Sportback, the premium compact models from Audi, are raising their sporty profile with a raft of improvements and an accentuated design. Innovative technologies such as the S tronic dual-clutch transmission with seven speeds and Audi magnetic ride, the suspension control system, makes for even greater driving pleasure. Its sharper, more striking design lends even greater expression to the A3 family. Additional equipment features, such as the Audi parking system at front and rear, the parking assistant and the reversible loadliner, also add to the appeal of these models. The Audi S3 developing 195 kW (265 hp) is now also available as a Sportback version, a new top model that rounds off the range. Shipping will commence in the summer, with prices starting at € 20,350.

The Audi A3 created the entirely new market segment of the premium compact car when the first-generation model made its debut in 1996. The brand with the four rings has been notably successful in that market segment and has since built 1.9 million units of the Audi A3. After four successive record-breaking years, the one millionth specimen of the second-generation A3 – which went into production in 2003 – left the assembly line just a few days ago. Audi is now solidifying its lead.

The exterior: even sportier profile

New visual details for the three-door A3 and A3 Sportback bring its stretched, sporty profile into the foreground. The front lid and fenders are more expressively styled, and the bumper and large single-frame radiator grille have been modified. A curved trim element in the headlamps known as the "wing" accentuates their technical perfection. Daytime running lights are standard features, and the optional bi-xenon headlamps incorporate LEDs. Down the sides, the highlight features are exterior mirrors with integral turn indicators, new door handles and attractive wheels.

At the tail end, the modified bumper and the lights help this car make a grand exit; the A3 Sportback now has innovative fiber optic rods arranged in a flat, continuous strip that creates an impressive optical effect in the dark. The three-door A3 has a modified tailgate with a new light edge. As a result of the design modifications, the A3 has grown by 2.5 centimeters (0.98 in) in length to 4.24 meters (166.93 in), while the sporty proportions of the Sportback remain virtually unchanged at 4.29 meters (168.90 in) in length.

The interior: sporty elegance

Inside the car, too, the designers fine-tuned the atmosphere of sporty elegance. Aluminum-look elements on the air vents, light switches and center console accentuate the premium character of the Audi A3 and A3 Sportback. The switches and controls beneath the audio system have been given a new, modern look. The instruments have black dials and red needles to reinforce the impression of precision and advanced technology, and a shift indicator displays the recommended gear in any given circumstances in the driver information system. The driver information system's display and the time, date and distance display – standard with the Ambiente and Ambition equipment lines – shows the information in high-resolution white type. The leather sport steering wheel for the Ambition line has new aluminum trim clips, and Audi can supply a flat-bottomed leather sport steering wheel for the Ambition as an option.

New inlays for the Attraction and Ambition, new colors and a wide selection of upholstery fabrics enhance the interior through their sportiness, impressive material quality and meticulous crafting. The upholstery range even includes Fine Nappa leather for the sport seats.

The A3's trunk is the roomiest in its class, at 350 to 1,080 liters (12.36 to 38.12 cubic ft.), with an even larger 370 to 1,100 liters (13.06 to 38.83 cubic ft.) on the A3 Sportback. On quattro versions the trunk floor is a few centimeters higher, to accommodate the special rear axle. A particularly ingenious feature is available for the front-wheel-drive versions – a sturdy, reversible loadliner that is a practical, easy-to-clean tray e.g. for carrying wet items, which can be removed from the car as a carrying tray. Audi can also supply the options of roof rails and a panoramic sunroof for the versatile A3 Sportback.

Powerful drive: the engines

As before, Audi is bringing the A3 and A3 Sportback onto the market with eight different engines – five gasoline and three diesel versions. Six of them are pioneering four-cylinder direct injection units with turbocharging. Their abbreviations TFSI and TDI encapsulate the strengths of Audi's engine technology – performance, high torque, dynamism, refinement and efficiency.

The 1.6 unit develops 75 kW (102 hp), the 1.4 TFSI 92 kW (125 hp), the 1.8 TFSI 118 kW (160 hp) and the 2.0 TFSI 147 kW (200 hp), while the 3.2 quattro with its six cylinders musters 184 kW (250 hp). The 1.9 TDI delivers 77 kW (105 hp) and the 2.0 TDI 103 kW (140 hp) or 125 kW (170 hp), depending on specification. Both two-liter diesel engines have been extensively reengineered – a new common rail injection system now assures ultra-refined running.

The 1.6-liter gasoline engine can also be supplied in conjunction with manual transmission for low-cost running on ethanol E 85 fuel. The diesel with an output of 77 kW (105 hp) is the power unit of the extremely efficient 1.9 TDI e version which, thanks to special fine-tuning measures, clocks up 100 kilometers on a mere 4.5 liters of diesel (52.27 mpg). Most of the other engines likewise slash fuel consumption by as much as 15 percent. The 1.8 TFSI and the technically closely related 2.0 TFSI have been frictionally optimized and have new cylinder bores, pistons and oil pumps.

High tech from Audi: the new transmissions

The range of transmissions has been extended and become even more appealing. Almost all engine versions are supplied as standard with six-speed manual transmission. The 1.6 and 1.9 TDI are outfitted with five-speed manual transmission, and the 3.2 is available exclusively with the S tronic dual-clutch transmission, now also available optionally for all engine versions. The high-tech S tronic changes gears with extreme speed and smoothness. The driver can set it to operate in a fully automatic mode or change gears manually – either at the selector lever or with the standard shift paddles on the leather sport steering wheel (from 103 kW/140 hp).

The S tronic on the six-cylinder engine, the 2.0 TFSI and the diesel versions has six speeds, whereas the 1.6, the 1.4 TFSI and the 1.8 TFSI feature a newly developed seven-speed S tronic. Both its clutches are dry-running – an innovative approach. This means that they do not need a separate oil supply, further adding to their already impressive efficiency. The seven gears are closely spaced for a sporty response, though the top gear is sufficiently high-geared to reduce the engine speed, cutting fuel consumption as a result.

The quattro versions, which put the A3 in a different league to the other players in the premium compact class, likewise have even more to offer. The all-wheel-drive system is available for five engine versions – for the 1.8 TFSI, the 2.0 TFSI, the 3.2 (as standard) and the two 2.0 TDI versions. In its latest technical form the central hydraulic multi-plate clutch responds even faster when the engine's power needs to be redistributed between the front and rear wheels. This increases stability, traction and driving pleasure for the driver.

The standard-fit dynamic suspension, too, provides safety, dynamic handling and comfort all rolled into one. The captivating precision with which the Audi A3 and A3 Sportback handle and their well-balanced character owe a great deal to elaborate concepts such as the four-link rear suspension and the efficient electromechanical power steering. There is optional sport suspension that supports the body 15 millimeters (0.59 in) lower; it is standard on the Ambition, in conjunction with 17-inch alloys. The option of acoustic glass for the windshield (standard on Ambiente) enhances occupant comfort and improves the car's acoustic behavior.

Way ahead of the competition: Audi magnetic ride

There is another new feature that puts the A3 and A3 Sportback streets ahead of their challengers: The adaptive-action shock absorber control system by the name of Audi magnetic ride. This system overcomes the age-old conflict between dynamic behavior and ride comfort. The driver can choose between "Normal" and "Sport" programs by flipping a switch. A magneto-rheological fluid circulating in the shock absorbers changes its flow properties within milliseconds when a voltage is applied; this affects the damping characteristic, which can be varied from comfortably supple to crisply firm. Audi can supply the electronic damping control system as an option for the gasoline versions from 118 kW (160 hp) upwards, as well as for both two-liter TDI versions.

The equipment range for the Audi A3 and A3 Sportback has also been greatly extended. As before, there are three lines to choose from. Attraction is the version with compelling character; the dynamic-looking Ambition for instance includes sport seats, sport suspension and 17-inch wheels, and the luxurious Ambiente equipment line features such items as cruise control, a light and rain sensor, an interior lighting package and the new addition of a windshield with acoustic glass.

For an even more customized specification there are the S line, comprising an exterior package and a sport package, the deluxe Audi exclusive line, and the choice items available within the Audi exclusive range. On all equipment lines and engine versions for the German market, the chorus radio system with four speakers is now standard. There are also modern infotainment systems available, including the Bose Sound System; the Audi exclusive range includes a connection socket for an iPod.

The array of other new options demonstrates the high technological standard of the A3 car line. These include deluxe automatic air conditioning, adaptive light – the dynamic cornering light system – and the Audi parking system for front and rear, displaying the distance from an obstruction via the frequency of the signal emitted. Then there is the new parking assistant. Its pioneering ultrasound sensors scan the parking spaces by the roadside as the car is driven slowly past; the driver is informed in the instrument cluster if one of them is sufficiently large to back into. If the reverse gear is engaged and the accelerator pressed, the system manipulates the electromechanical steering to guide the car automatically into the space. All the driver need do is attend to the accelerator, clutch and brakes.

Pure performance: the new S3 Sportback

The dynamic range-topping member of the A3 family sports new features, too. There is now a second top model on the market, with the S3 Sportback joining the three-door Audi S3. Both versions are equipped with the same engine, the reengineered 2.0 TFSI with an output of 195 kW (265 hp). With 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) of torque available constantly from 2,500 to 5,000 rpm, the direct-injection, two-liter turbo catapults the three-door model from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.7 seconds (Sportback: 5.8 seconds); the top speed is limited electronically to 250 km/h (155.34 mph). Yet the S3's fuel consumption is astonishingly low, at an average of 8.5 liters per 100 km (27.67 mpg).

A six-speed manual transmission handles the business of getting the power from the engine to the standard quattro driveline; 18-inch wheels provide a firm grip with the road. The sport suspension holds the body 25 millimeters (0.98 in) lower and integrates lightweight aluminum components. Black brake calipers act on 17-inch disk brakes. Audi's compact premium sports model offers the reflexes of a top athlete. It reacts spontaneously to steering movements and its handling remains stable, precise and almost neutral right up to its physical limits. When coming out of a bend it veritably seems to dig its claws into the tarmac, enabling the driver to start accelerating again at the earliest possible moment.

Like the A3, the S3 has been optically modified and is clearly distinguished by a number of striking lines, for example on the radiator grille, on the bumpers and on the roof spoiler, as well as by the aluminum-look exterior mirrors. Inside, the driver and front passenger are greeted by sport seats with cloth, Alcantara/leather or all-leather upholstery; Audi exclusive bucket seats are available as an option. Aluminum pedals, three different styles of inlay and a black or silver headlining create an exclusively sporty look. Deluxe automatic air conditioning, an anti-theft alarm and xenon plus headlamps with LED daytime running light extend the range of standard features.

The further optimized Audi A3, A3 Sportback and the two S3 versions are about to go on the market; shipping of the new models will begin in the summer. In conclusion, the comprehensively improved A3 comes with an extended range of standard equipment, including the chorus radio system – all at a starting price of € 20,350.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I never liked the current A3/S3 and this update don´t make them any better... I drive Audi and would call myself a real Audi fan but not of the curret generation A3/S3.. the S3 is great perfromer but today A3 and S3 look nothing special. The last generation was so much nicer..



      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm loving the S3 Sportback, but here's a riddle for you: in the interior shot (6 of 6), there is very clearly a manual shifter, but only two pedals. Where's the clutch, or did Audi reinvent the non-paddle shifting mechanism as we know it?
        • 7 Years Ago
        this big thing on the right is a gas pedal...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think it looks much better with the old grill.....
      • 7 Years Ago
      The grill is a little cheesy, in fact it kind of looks like a cheese grater.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Where are the pics of the new 4 door A3?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Does anyone know why the S3's don't come with DCTs (dual clutch transmissions) ??

      The torque figure is well within the capabilities of Audi's DCT .... I'd rather have it with a DCT

      I'm just not too fond of that third paddle.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I know you can have one on the A3 but I was asking regarding the S3
      • 7 Years Ago
      The hottest hatch money can buy these days ;) Love this car, drove the A3 Sportback with the small diesel engine (105 HP), fun to drive and easily gave me 45-50 mpg...
      • 7 Years Ago
      The old "made it a little bigger" thing. This is how the A3 even came to be in the first place, the A4 got so large they needed to make a smaller model.

      Companies need to learn how to sell things other than "it's bigger".
        • 7 Years Ago
        The current A3 is still Golf sized and seeing as the first A3 was close to the B5 A4 size in terms of interior space it isn't odd that the current A3 launched a year after the B6 A4 doesn't do under for it in interior space.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm talking about in the US.

        The A3 you're talking about which was only in Europe was 3-door Golf-sized. Europe has a good-sized market for Golf-sized cars.

        This A3 is significantly larger.

        The current A3 is the same size as the 2001-era S4 Avant/RS4 Avant.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually, the A3 was first launched only a year after the A4 back in 1996. So it didn't have anything to do with the fact that the A4 was getting to big.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7?

        The 3 doors A3 have been everywhere Audis are sold since 96. It hasn't gotten bigger.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Audi PLEASE give us the S3 2 door hatch. Not just the mini wagon. Pretty please?

      Your pals in the US.
        • 7 Years Ago
        They won't bring the 2-door A3/S3 to the states because they're afraid it will take some market share from the GTI/R32. For years they wouldn't bring a 5-door GTI to the US and they finally corrected that mistake a few years ago. I don't know why they're not afraid the 5-door GTI will take market share from the A3.
      • 7 Years Ago
      b*stards aren't bringing the S3 to the States though. I want that wagon-style S3 (the 5-door model, called the "Sportback" apparently).

      It has everything I'd want. The S-model exterior and interior trim & steering wheel, the S-tronic trans, 2.0 TFSI, Quattro, dynamic-ride suspension. Total package. But no, Audi won't bring it here. How lame. :(
        • 7 Years Ago
        @HeyHuub: Can you quote something that says that? In what I've read it looked like the S-tronic is an option on the S3 as well.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The current S3 is only avaible as stick shift not DSG (S-tronic) ... the S3 is only avaible in Europe and here most driver want stick shift, so Audi di not bother with the S-tronic..

        look at the main Audi page

        • 7 Years Ago
        The S3 is only available in manual, not S-Tronic.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Here's a question... why in hell are the rear ends so different between the two models? The rear lights of the S3 are a la current A4, which I like, but the A3's rear lights are just.... blah... How can it possibly make any sort of production sense to make such a drastically different back end. Not only is the hatch lid different, but the rear quarter panels are too. Seems like a lot of extra work.

      Though, it might be exciting if this means that Audi is going to start further differentiating the S-models from their A counterparts.

      Oh yeah, and bring a 3-door S to the States... it's about the only thing that could replace my GTI...
        • 7 Years Ago
        The S3 you see there is the 5-door Sportback model with the same rear lights as the the normal A3 Sportback.
        The other one is the 3 door version of the A3. The 3 door S3 has got the same rear lights as the 3 door A3.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Daddy Like, the A3 is a good looking hatch, there is no doubting that. Is the front end going to be that aggressive on the standard A3 as well as the s line? All the pictures are of the S3, and part of me feels that that might be a little too much to appeal to a mass market. However, I like it, so thats all that I care about. I think that VW should bring over some of those GTI 5 oval rims, those are sexy, might just bring that extra cool factor. Or maybe they would look like garbage, i still want to see it. S3+3.2 mill+ quattro+ DSG+ Black on Black= Pure Sex. Now if V dub would take that 3.2 to the twin turbo level... insanity.
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