Geneva show – new Audi A3 to move upmarket
The car is being shown in three-door form, and will be on UK roads in September.
The latest A3 has a subtle new look following closely the concept seen at Geneva a year ago, with the most notable feature a bold ‘Tornado line’ running below the windows.
It is virtually the same overall size as its predecessor, but with a 23mm longer wheelbase freeing up more interior room.
The interior, meanwhile, has seen a complete redesign, Audi upgrading the materials and workmanship to match its largest executive cars.
There is what is described as a ‘minimalist, floating dashboard’, the instrument cluster has been reworked while on the options list is a 3D display for the driver’s info system.
Upper range models also get the Audi MMI rotary control that takes charge of most of the major cabin functions. This has been upgraded with a touchpad on top of the control, Audi believing this is easier and less distracting for the driver to control than a touch screen.
Initially the A3 will be offered with a trio of four cylinder engines, all of which Audi says are new developments with fuel economy gains of 12 per cent on average. They are 1.4 121bhp and 1.8-litre 178bhp TFSI petrol units and a 2-litre TDI diesel of 141bhp.
The 1.4 and 2.0 come with a six-speed manual gearbox, the 1.8 with the seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission. All are front-wheel-drive – quattro all-wheel-drive will be added to the range later, as will further engines including a 1.4-litre TFSI with what Audi says is “innovative cylinder-on-demand technology.”
The range of body styles is also expected to grow, with five-door and cabrio versions joining the range. Some markets, but not the UK, are likely to get a four-door saloon variant.
Audi says that order books for the new A3 will open in the spring with prices starting from around £19,000.
Words by: Andrew Charman