Audi ready to roll with the new A3

Audi Ireland announced price and order information for the all new Audi A3 which launches here in September. The new A3 is priced from €25,900 for the punchy 1.2TFSI 105 version. The entry diesel offering is the highly efficient 1.6TDI priced from €28,350.

Audi Ireland announced price and order information for the all new Audi A3 which launches here in September. The new A3 is priced from €25,900 for the punchy 1.2TFSI 105 version. The entry diesel offering is the highly efficient 1.6TDI priced from €28,350.

This is the third generation of the highly successful A3 family. The A3 remains highly sought after by new and used buyers and the improvements made to the new generation ensures this model will be no different. The first generation debuted as a three-door model, and created an entirely new market segment, the premium compact class.

Over its production life to date, the A3 range has represented over 20% of total Audi sales. In Ireland, over 11,000 customers have made the A3 the number 1 car in the premium A segment.

CO2 emissions of as little as 99g/km in the new A3 have been made possible with the help of ‘Audi ultra’ lightweight technology, which has enabled it to tip the scales an impressive 80 kgs lighter than its predecessor. The aluminium front wings and bonnet help in this regard, and contribute to a class-beating kerb weight of just 1,175kg for the 1.4 TFSI model.

In addition to the 1.2 TFSI 105, the new Audi A3 will launch with three other four-cylinder engines, all of which are essentially new developments.

Economy improvements

The 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre TFSI engines and the1.6-litre TDI and 2.0-litre TDI have outputs of 125bhp, 180bhp, 105bhp and 150bhp respectively. Compared with the previous model, they offer fuel economy improvements averaging 12%.

The 1.8-litre TFSI is linked as standard to a 7-speed S-tronic twin-clutch transmission; the 1.4-litre TFSI and 2.0-litre TDI are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. The 1.6-litre TDI engine features emissions as low as 99g ensuring it is the most fuel efficient engine in its class.

All engines in this first phase drive the front wheels; quattro permanent all-wheel drive – and further engines, including a 1.4-litre TFSI with innovative cylinder on demand technology – will follow later in 2012.

The completely redesigned interior of the Audi A3 breaks new ground in the class in terms of quality and design. The minimalist ‘floating’ dashboard with its round air vents, elegant climate control panel and redesigned instrument cluster is a highlight, as are the optional 3D colour display for the Driver’s Information System, the ultra-thin electrically retractable MMI monitor and the new electromechanical parking brake which liberates space in the centre console for the optional MMI operating system terminal.

In its most sophisticated form – MMI navigation plus with MMI touch – the upper side of the rotary pushbutton in the terminal is designed as a touchpad – another ergonomic innovation. Drivers can input letters and numbers by finger motion as they can in larger Audi models.

All trim lines receive significant equipment enhancements in the new generation. Bluetooth interface, driver information system, MMI Radio with retractable monitor, leather multifunction steering wheel, 16” alloy wheels and air conditioning feature amongst standard equipment.

For €1,000 extra customers can opt for the SE version featuring additional items such as cruise control, park assist, fog lights, interior lighting package, front centre armrest, Audi Music Interface, colour driver information system, electric heated mirrors, 3D SE specific inlays and half leather/cloth upholstery. S Line tops out the range for €3,500 extra and features typical S Line stalwarts such as Audi trademark Xenon lighting with LED’s, S Line exterior styling, sports multifunction steering wheel, Audi drive select and Leather and Alcantara sports seats.

Connect system

The Audi connect system bundles all infotainment technologies that let the driver network with the Internet, infrastructure and other vehicles. The central component is the Mobile phone preparation – High with Online Services as a supplement to MMI navigation plus. It produces the connection to the Internet via a UMTS module.

Passengers can conveniently surf and email with up to eight mobile devices via an integrated WLAN hotspot.

Utilising the company’s new Group MQB platform for the first time, the well balanced chassis combines front suspension featuring a McPherson layout with wishbones, and multi-link rear suspension which absorbs longitudinal and transverse forces independently.

Sports suspension which lowers the body by 15 mm will also be available, as will S line suspension lowered by 25mm for even sharper dynamics. The electromechanical power steering system operates with sensitivity, precision and high efficiency; in the straight-ahead position it does not require any energy input, and thus makes an important contribution to the overall efficiency of the new Audi A3.

Another technical area in which the new Audi A3 will excel is in its new high-performance driver assistance systems. They range from radar-assisted adaptive cruise control to Audi side assist, Audi active lane assist, traffic sign detection, park assist and the Audi pre sense basic safety system.

In the infotainment area too, the latest A3 raises its game significantly with features such as a new optional A3-specific Bang & Olufsen audio system, MMI navigation plus and mobile phone preparation with online services, which brings new ‘real time’ online traffic information and, through a WLAN hotspot, gives passengers access to the Internet while travelling.

The all new A3 is available to order from local Audi dealers from July. First customer deliveries can be expected in mid-September.