Of course, the German automaker will be the first to tell you that this new A3 is more than up to the challenge. Audi's typically high-level of design is in effect here, with sheet metal that is attractive without looking like a clone of the larger A4. The A3 will have the option of full LED headlamps, of course, carrying on Audi's now famous positioning in the world of recognizable lighting. Wheels will range from 16-inches to 18-inches, we're told, which will also help to cement the sporty look and premium placement of the small sedan.
Inside, the A3 now offers a driver information display that uses 3D graphics, a revised MMI system (still operable via a column-mounted knob or steering wheel controls), the choice of three different steering wheels (depending on function), optional sport seating and a whole lot more. Interior colorways fall into the black, brown, gray or beige variety, and two-tone packages are also in the mix. Cloth seats, two kinds of leather and Alacantara all find themselves among the options, as well.
The A3 Sedan will be vying for attention in the luxury market's newly hot compact segment.
The A3 will launch in Europe before it comes Stateside, and will offer a three-engine lineup when it does. All three mills are of the four-cylinder variety, with a 2.0-liter TDI offering 150-horsepower and 236-pound-feet of torque, a 1.4-liter, 140-hp and 184-lb-ft TFSI, and a 1.8-liter, 180-hp and 184-lf-ft TFSI. The diesel motor is expected to return roughly 57 miles per gallon on the combined European cycle, the 1.4 and 1.8 engines will offer 50 mpg and 42 mpg, respectively. 0-62 mile per hour times will range from 7.3 seconds for the 1.8 TFSI, to 8.7 for the TDI. As of this writing, the expected powertrain lineup for North America is still unknown.
European customers will have their choice of either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed S tronic dual clutch setup, though we're told that there will be no manual option for US customers. We'll follow up when we know if that's forever, or just at launch. In the meantime, have a full look at our gallery of A3 images and take a moment to scan the official Audi press release, below.
UPDATE: We were able to confirm a few more facts with Audi representatives this evening. The A3 engines that will be headed to the US are the 2.0-liter TDI, 1.8-liter TFSI and the 2.0-liter TFSI. It was also reiterated that the car will make its "official" world debut at the Shanghai Motor Show next month, and will not be on sale in this country until the 2015 model year.
UPDATE II: Video added below.
Launch into a new market segment
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 107 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
217 km/h (134.84 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.
Audi S3 Sedan
Just a few months after the launch of the new sedan model series, Audi will introduce the top model – the S3 Sedan. The 2.0 TFSI produces 221 kW (300 hp) and 380 Nm (280.27 lb ft) of torque. Its high-performance four-cylinder engine combines highly advanced efficiency technologies – dual fuel injection, exhaust manifold integrated in the cylinder head, the Audi valvelift system and a rotary valve module for thermal management.
This version of the Audi S3 Sedan, paired with the S tronic, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.9 seconds; with the manual transmission it takes 5.3 seconds. The car's top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155.34 mph). The four-cylinder turbo has a combined fuel consumption of just 6.9 liters per 100 km (34.09 US mpg) or 7.0 liters (33.60 US mpg) (with S tronic or manual transmission), respectively – for a CO2 equivalent of 159 or 162 grams per km (255.89 or 260.71 g/mile). A fast-operating multi-plate clutch in the quattro drivetrain distributes forces to the front and rear axles (provisional data).
The suspension lowers the body 25 mm (0.98 in). Large brakes are at work behind the standard 18-inch-wheels; the front discs are 340 mm (13.39 in) in diameter. The electrically assisted progressive steering varies the steering gear ratio – it is somewhat more indirect in the middle position, but very direct when large turns of the steering wheel are made. The Audi drive select vehicle dynamics system is standard, and the Audi magnetic ride damper control system is available as an option.
Visually, the top model is distinguished by modifications to the bumpers, the singleframe grille, air intakes, exterior mirror housings, side sills and rear spoiler. The four oval tailpipes of the exhaust system are embedded in the diffuser with chrome trim. In the interior, the S3 Sedan offers sport seats (optional S sport seats), instruments with gray dials and trim strips in black 3D look.