Geneva show – Audi A3 leads way for many

Geneva show – Audi A3 leads way for manyOne of the most significant elements of Audi’s Geneva-debuting A3 hatchback is hidden underneath the car.

The car is the first built on the Volkswagen Group’s new MQB platform, which is set to underpin a wide range of future models.

And they won’t all be cars of similar size – the MQB will be used on everything from the next Polo to a replacement Passat, plus all points Audi, Skoda and SEAT inbetween.

The MQB platform is also evident in Volkswagen’s second Cross Coupe concept, this time powered by a diesel-electric powertrain in contrast to the petrol-electric version revealed at the Tokyo show three months ago.

Geneva show – Audi A3 leads way for manyMQB, when translated from German, stands for Modular Transverse Matrix, and it standardises many vehicle component parameters while making new technologies possible.

It makes features from luxury cars affordable in those at less than half the price as well as making it easier to mount alternative drivetrains in exactly the same way as internal combustion engines and transmissions.

Without MQB, Volkswagen chairman Dr Martin Winterkorn’s pledge to oversee a 30 per cent reduction in the CO2 emissions of VW Group vehicles in the next few years would be impossible to live up to.

The pledge will see the average emissions of Volkswagen grop cars cut to less than 120g/km by 2015.

“That promise is based on the MQB platform,” VW head of vehicle concepts Christian Strube tells Headline Auto.

“It even makes it possible to produce different models for different markets in one factory.”

The A3 will go on sale in the UK in September with three reworked engines producing CO2 emissions from 99g/km, partly thanks to a reduction in weight of up to 80kg compared with the previous model.

The A3 also introduces a major advance in Audi’s connectivity technology, allowing easier fitting in a much wider range of vehicles.

The car has elements that are a generation ahead of what is possible in the company’s flagship A8 saloon at this stage.

In fact despite the platform advance it is perhaps the A3′s connectivity features that Audi is most proud of.

The car will be available with an A3-specific Bang & Olufsen audio system with navigation, mobile phone preparation with online services and real-time traffic information.

Photos: Andrew Charman

Words by: Andrew Charman

Andrew Charman

About Andrew Charman

Photo-Journalist, Author, Specialist in Motoring and Motorsport.

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