Unlike Mercedes-Benz with their new A Class, Audi
has opted not to risk radical change to the design of the new Audi A3, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. But, although at first glance it looks very similar to the outgoing model, Audi point out that this is an all-new design.
Orders for the new three-door model will open this spring, with first deliveries in September. Prices will start at around £19,000 – no doubt with the usual tempting goodies to increase that price.
There will be three engines offered at launch, all of them “reworked” to deliver efficiency gains that, Audi say, average out at 12%. Indeed the 1.6 TDI that will follow on later this year, boasts emissions of 99 g/km of carbon dioxide, thereby qualifying for free road tax in the UK. There are two petrol engines, starting with the 122PS 1.4 TFSI and a 180PS 1.8 TFSI. The diesel option is a 142PS TDI.
We can assume there will be five door (and indeed sporty) versions to follow, along with other engine options.
Audi credit lightweight design as one of the reasons for the greater efficiency. Using aluminium for the front wings and bonnet, along with other measures, has allowed the engineers to shed an impressive 80 kg.
The overall dimensions are almost identical to the current model, but the wheelbase has been extended to 2.6 metres. It is also slightly wider at 1.7 metres.
As the pictures show, the appearance is evolutionary, looking like a sharper-edged version of the current car. The big Audi grille has the slightly more angular shape of Audi’s most recent offerings. Xenon headlamp models get the familiar Audi LED running lights, which are also optional on other models. Audi are also promising LED headlamps and expect to be the first in this class.
Where Audi designs usually shine is in the interior and the new A3 promises to keep up that standard, with a new touchpad (as fitted on larger Audi’s) for interaction with the optional navigation and multimedia. In keeping with the latest trends in optional extras, new A3 buyers will be tempted with hot goodies like radar-assisted cruise control, lane assist, park assist and traffic sign detection systems.