The new Audi A3 has finally arrived in South Africa.
Audi ultra-lightweight technology keeps the new model's weight low, laying the foundation for high efficiency and a decidedly sporty character. The basic Audi A3 weighs no more than 1175 kg. Compared to the previous model, Audi reduced the car's kerb weight by up to 80kg, depending on the engine.
In the occupant cell of the new Audi A3, form-hardened high-tech steels reduce weight by 18kg. The bonnet and fenders are made of aluminium, and they save over 9kg. Many parts in the chassis and interior also contribute to overall weight reduction — from the aluminium pivot bearings in the front suspension, to the fan motor of the climate control system.
The latest-generation A3 is brand new from the ground up — utilising the all-new MQB-Group platform. This platform will form the basis for many additional A3 models due in the coming years.
The new Audi A3 has a sporty and taut stance on the road. Each styling element is precise and highly expressive, and its athletically sculpted body with a low engine hood, prominent shoulders and sharply inclined C-pillars, emphasise the silhouette of the vehicle. It measures 4.24 metres long, 1.78 metres wide and 1.42 metres tall. Relative to the previous model, its wheelbase has grown to 2.60 metres.
The large, hexagonal single-frame radiator grille dominates at the front. As an option, Audi offers headlights in xenon plus technology, together with LED daytime running lights; in this instance, the tail-lights also feature LEDs.
The seats and steering wheels feature new designs, and the car's user controls are clear and intuitive. The capacity of the luggage space is 365 litres.
A comprehensive array of optional infotainment components is offered to make use of the new services, in which the top unit is MMI navigation plus with MMI touch. This high-end system impresses with a super-flat, electrically extending seven-inch monitor and a new user control concept that integrates MMI touch in the pushbutton control wheel.
The engine line-up has been newly designed from the ground up and combines potent efficiency technologies — direct injection, turbocharging, innovative thermal management and the start-stop system. Their downsizing concept — the substitution of forced induction for displacement — means ample power with low fuel consumption, which has been reduced by roughly 12 percent on average versus the previous model.
The new A3 will launch in South Africa with a 90kW 1.4T FSI manual and S tronic model, a 77kW 1.6TDI, a 132kW 1.8T FSI manual and S tronic, and a 132kW 1.8T FSI quatrro S tronic. In upcoming months, Audi SA will further extend its engine line-up to include a 77kW 1.2T FSI and a 135kW 2.0TDI quattro engine.
The 1.4T FSI manual and S tronic models produce 90kW of power with an average fuel consumption of 5.2 litres per 100 km and CO2 emissions of between 113 and 120g/km.
The 1.6 TDI is also highly efficient, with a combined fuel consumption of 4.4 litres per 100km and a CO2 emission figure of only 102g/km, exempting all three models from CO2 emissions tax.
The 1.8T FSI engine replaces the previous-generation 2.0T FSI engine with a power output upgraded from 118kW on the previous model to 132kW on the new model. Combined fuel consumption on the 1.8T FSI manual and S tronic models ranges between 5.6 and 5.8 litres per 100km, with a CO2 emissions figure of 135g/km on the manual and 130g/km on the S tronic. The quattro S tronic model has a combined fuel consumption of 6.6 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions of 152g/km.
The sophisticated chassis of the new A3 combines sporty driving enjoyment with high levels of comfort and impressive stability. The standard ESC stability control system integrates an electronic limited slip differential, making handling even smoother and safer at the vehicle's cornering limit in fast driving through curves.
At the heart of the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is a hydraulic multi-plate clutch which quickly distributes the power between the front and rear axles as needed.
Audi SA will offer the new A3 in three trim lines: S, SE and quattro, with the level of standard equipment being substantially improved from the previous generation.
S trim line will include the following standard specification:
- 16-inch 10-spoke design cast aluminium alloy wheels
- LED interior lighting package
- Front centre armrest
- Leather-covered multi-function steering wheel, four-spoke
- Light/rain sensor
- Driver information system
- MMI radio with pop-up LCD colour screen and MMI operating logic
SE trim line will include the following standard specification over and above S:
- 17-inch five-arm Kinetic design cast aluminium alloy wheels
- Sports suspension
- Sports seats
- Audi Drive Select with efficiency programme
- Exterior aluminium package
- Aluminium door sill trims
- Leather-covered multi-function sports steering wheel, three-spoke, with shift paddles for S tronic models
- Fully automated dual-zone air-conditioning
- Driver information system in colour
- Active speaker system
quattro trim line will include the following standard specification over and above SE:
- 17-inch five-arm design cast aluminium alloy wheels
- Alcantara/leather combination seat covering
- Storage and luggage compartment package
- Audi Music Interface
- Aluminium-look interior
Pricing (including five-year/100 000km Freeway Plan):
Audi A3 1.2T FSI manual S: R267 000 (available in February 2013)
Audi A3 1.4T FSI manual S: R274 500
Audi A3 1.4T FSI S tronic S: R291 500
Audi A3 1.6 TDI S tronic S: R302 500
Audi A3 1.8T FSI manual SE: R305 000
Audi A3 1.8T FSI S tronic SE: R322 000
Audi A3 1.8T FSI quattro S tronic: R351 500