Elie Aoun, 28 March 2012:
all-new, third generation Audi A3 gets a longer wheelbase with
the same overall body length. It comes on the heels of
2.68 million units sold from the first and second
Sixteen years after the launch of its first generation,
the Volkswagen group chose the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show (8-12
March) for the debut of the third generation
premium compact Audi A3, in the 3-door body version, before other body
versions follow later (including the 5-door and an expected sedan version).
With orders taking from this
spring and deliveries starting this summer in Germany (from 21,600 euros
for the base version which will be available in late 2012) and September
in the UK (from GB£19,000, on-the-road price), the new Audi
will hit the market in time with it new and much more direct competitor,
the all-new Mercedes-Benz
5-door hatchback, which changed its body shape (5-door hatchback) and
orientation to face more directly its traditional German rivals, the Audi A3 and the
BMW 1-Series, in
addition to other new premium compact (lower-medium) models such as the new
The new A3 will also have other versions
with hybrid and alternative drive systems such as natural gas and Audi
e-gas (currently in development), in addition to a 1.6 TDI engine which will be launched
also this year,
with an average consumption of 3.8 litres of diesel/100 km (61.90 US mpg,
74.34 UK mpg, 26.32 km per litre), with 99 g/CO2
The first Audi A3 was
launched in 1996 as a
three-door model. In 1999, the five-door model and the sporty S3 were
added. Four years later, the second generation followed in
At about 1.8 million units, total sales of
the second-generation A3 were more
than the double of the previous one (about 880,000 units).
The brand with the four rings
its A3 model line-up with the Sportback (2004), the S3 (2006), the Cabriolet
(2008) and the RS 3 (2011).
Part of the German Volkswagen group
(the largest European
carmaker and the second worldwide, behind GM) which also includes the VW, Skoda, SEAT, Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche and
Bugatti brands, Audi recorded
last year its
best worldwide sales result of 1,302,650 units, a 19 per cent improvement
Within this context, Audi says that over its production life to date, the A3 range
has represented over a fifth of total Audi sales, which reflects the
important role played by the compact model in the brand’s growth.
The new A3 adopts the new
MQB modular platform of the VW group. Known as the Modular Transverse Matrix,
this platform can be adapted to various wheelbase, track and height dimensions
for models stretching from the small to larger family and SUV models.
Compared to the
second-generation A3, the new three-door version has a body length of 4,237 mm (166.8 inches) and height of 1,421 mm (55.94
inches) which are practically the same as those of the previous model.
However, the wheelbase grew by 23 mm (0.9 inch), from 2,578 mm (101.5
inches) to 2,601 mm (102.4 inches).
Since the overall length remained similar,
the wheelbase growth came at the expense of the front overhang which is now shorter,
while the body width increased by 12 mm (0.47 inch), from 1,765 mm
(69.49 inches) to 1,777 mm (69.96 inches).
Audi claims that the lightweight body
and the consequently downsized engines offer secondary benefits as many other components of the chassis, the exhaust system and interior
are lighter. The aluminium
bonnet and wings alone save more than nine
kilograms (19.8 lb) in weight.
Audi gives the A3 1.4 TFSI
as an example, as it weighs 1,175 kg (2590 lb), or about 80 kg (176.4 lb) less than the previous model.
The covered underbody and engine compartment also help reduce consumption and emissions.
The German specifications
(equipment, options and prices differ between countries) offer three equipment lines: Attraction, Ambition and Ambiente, with
different colours and materials for
each one... >>>