It has Audi's most recent face, the latest tech, and their new 1.8-liter TFSI engine. The only problem is that Audi thinks that us Americans won't buy the 3-door, so they've decided to bring us a sedan version in 2014. Although we'd prefer the hatch, we're just happy to be getting a new A3.
When it comes to the U.S., expect to see a few engine options, and diesel will likely be in the mix. One of the most exciting bits about the new A3 is that it is debuting Audi's latest MMI touch interface. The new MMI touch comes with a larger rotary wheel that has a built-in touchpad on the top, making the entire controller setup much smaller. Also new are toggle switches to change from navi to phone, or music, or car settings. This approach replaces many superfluous buttons, making it easier to operate while keeping eyes on the road.
The video below is from this year's CES, but showcases the same MMI system seen on Audi's A3 Geneva show car.
2013 Porsche Boxster
Lighter, faster and more efficient is Porsche's direction on all their latest vehicles and the new Boxster gets the same treatment. A full redesign for 2013 brings many changes that are always easier to notice when driving than on a spec sheet. The weight is down 55 pounds, engine displacement is down on the base but power is up 10 hp, and a carryover engine on Boxster S makes 5 more horses. While the power gains may not seem like much, an updated PDK automated-manual transmission will bring the new Boxster to 60 mph in as little as 5.4 sec for the base, and 4.7 sec for the S.
Also, the new design has some seriously good looking Carrera GT cues and a slick integrated spoiler/bumper that lifts fully for greater downward force. In addition, 18-inch wheels are now standard on the base, giving the car a more aggressive stance.
When the new Boxster hits the showrooms this summer, getting one will cost $49,500 to start, but as we all know with Porsche, it's very easy to add $10,000 in options.
Strongly rumored to come to the US, the new 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is an interesting proposition for the U.S. market. Poised to take on the Audi A3, the A-Class is a stunning example of Mercedes' design direction. The exterior has some SLS AMG and CLS cues, and on the inside receives Mercedes' newest, and much-needed, interior upgrade.
As for technology, the A-Class is going a step beyond the industry by including Apple iPhone Siri integration into their COMAND infotainment system. Now when you're driving down the street, you can use a familiar advanced voice recognition system instead of the lacking ones most cars provide you. This is a big shift in the way automakers are dealing with tech. It says that they recognize it's best for drivers when they can interact with technology that they're already familiar with instead of forcing them to learn new and different ones for each of their cars.
We like this direction because our smartphones have access to the latest technology first and it reduces development costs for the automaker--a savings we hope passes along to the consumer. Along with Siri, the new COMAND system can fully integrate with the rest of the iPhone, as one would expect. We can't wait to see more on this.
If you thought Lexus was the only one with strange alphanumeric vehicle names like the CT 200h, look no further than this latest concept from Toyota: the FT-Bh. It is certainly a car reflecting deep imagination and fantasy, but it comes packed with promising tech. This concept has an unbelievably low weight of less than 1800 pounds--almost 1000 pounds less than the very-light Veloster Turbo. Not only was weight reduction a focus, but also the coefficient of drag at 0.235. That's lower than anything on the market today.
That all adds up to an impressive 112 mpg, if we were to believe what Toyota's claims. In addition to the extreme aero and weight, the two-cylinder, 1-liter gas engine tied to an electric motor certainly helps to raise the fuel-sipping number.
Is this the future of Toyota's hybrids? Not quite. But we'd be remiss if we didn't say Toyota could go this direction in the next decade.
Geneva marks the debut of Infiniti's latest luxo-sport coupe concept. As the name would suggest, the the Emerge-E is powered by an extended-range setup with 400 hp. A combination of electric motors and a gasoline engine help propel this beauty to 60 mph in under four seconds. Even with the eye-popping performance coming from this extended-range EV, range is said to be near 300 miles. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon cruise.