South Africa’s first electric car has just landed. It’s called the Leaf...
New 2012 Audi A3 Just Launched In Geneva
We’re big fans of the Audi A3 here at Overdrive, and the new one looks even better with the new Audi family headlights and front bumpers. We drove the new A5 Cabrio recently with the new Audi face and, in the metal, it looks fantastic.
The new A3 has been quite extensively reworked though, and will feature three reworked engines, for better fuel economy and more power. We reckon pretty soon all cars are going to run on fresh air and produce 1000 horsepower.
There’ll be more engines as the range grows old, but initially you’ll be able to pick from a 1.4 TFSI (122hp) and 1.8 TFSI (180hp) petrol and 2.0-litre TDI (143hp). I’m sure much later we can expect a wilder S3 and a properly bonkers RS3 version as well. The 1.6TDi looks like the winner though, Audi are claiming fuel efficiency of just over 3litres/100km!
The interior has been reworked as well and now features a Star-Trek inspired pop up screen for SatNav and all your media needs. To my eye the interior borrows much from the smaller A1, but that’s no bad thing. Audi is good at pop up screens, the way the screen folds out of the dash of the A8 was a highlight of my year last year. Yes, being a car nerd has its advantages.
Audi’s thrown in a bunch of safety system’s from more expensive models up the range, 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.
We’ll get hold of Audi SA and let you know the South African launch date as soon as we have it.
Swiss motor show debut for new compact hatchback which raises the bar with exemplary finish, exceptional technological input and all-new chassis
- All-new three-door A3 model opens for order in spring priced from approximately £19,000 OTR, first deliveries in September
- Features major advances in quality, infotainment and driver assistance technology, efficiency and driver appeal
- Three reworked engines at launch delivering efficiency gains averaging 12 per cent – 1.4 TFSI (122PS) and 1.8 TFSI (180PS) petrol and 2.0-litre TDI (143PS)
The trailblazing Audi hatchback credited with filtering the premium feel-good factor through to the compact class is about to raise the stakes yet again as the all-new A3 debuts in Geneva with an evolutionary new look and revolutionary leaps in quality, technological sophistication and driver appeal. The third generation of the three-door model is the first to break cover in Switzerland, and will open for UK order in spring priced from approximately £19,000 ahead of first deliveries in September.
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 kg 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 terms of dimensions, the new A3 is virtually identical to its predecessor in length and height at 4,237mm and 1,421mm respectively, but it features a longer 2,601mm wheelbase in the interest of dynamic composure and interior packaging. It is also slightly wider at 1,777mm.
The single-frame radiator grille that is typical of Audi dominates the look of the front end, and as before in higher specification models it is flanked by xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps, the latest versions featuring a new ‘clasp-like’ solid band which surrounds more of the lens. These will also be optional for other models, and wherever they are fitted the tail lights will also be equipped with LEDs. In the longer term, full LED headlights will also be available, and will be a first in the compact car segment.
In profile, the pronounced tornado line – a classic element of Audi design – gives structure to the area below the windows, and above the sills a dynamic line rises sharply upward. The gently sloping C-pillars and the roof that sweeps back into a modest spoiler lend the car a distinctly coupe-like air.
At the rear the spoiler edge above the diffuser emphasises the width of the new premium compact, and the inner architecture of the split tail lights is a variation on the headlights’ theme. The tailgate has a sculpted, three-dimensional look, and below it in the diffuser insert are either one or two tailpipes on the left side depending on the engine type.
The completely redesigned interior of the Audi A3 breaks new ground in the class in terms of quality and design, with standards of materials, workmanship and ergonomics which genuinely push the boundaries at this level. 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.
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.
Significant efficiency gains
The new Audi A3 will launch with three four-cylinder engines, all of which are essentially new developments. The 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre TFSI engines and the 2.0-litre TDI have outputs of 122PS, 180PS and 143PS respectively. Compared with the previous model, they offer fuel economy improvements averaging 12 per cent.
The 1.8-litre TFSI is linked as standard to a seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission; the 1.4-litre TFSI and 2.0-litre TDI are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. 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 new A3 chassis has been designed with an optimum balance between comfort, composure and driver appeal in mind. It works with a finely-tuned power steering system with a highly efficient electromechanical drive and an Electronic Stability Program integrating an electronic limited slip differential which makes handling even more fluid and safe at performance limits.
The optional Audi drive select system lets the driver vary the operating characteristics of key components, namely the steering weighting, the throttle response and the transmission shift points (where S tronic is fitted). It can also be upgraded to incorporate control of the optional Audi magnetic ride system with its magnetorheological fluid-filled dampers.
At a glance
The new Audi A3
Design and body
– Sporty-progressive styling with coupe-like lines and long wheelbase,
length 4.24 metres
– Intelligent mixed multi-material construction utilising steel and aluminum
– Weight reduced by 80 kg, kerb weight of Audi A3 1.4 TFSI is just
1,175 kg (2,590.43 lb)
– Optional xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED tail lights
– Spacious interior, load capacity of 365 litres
– Elegant design and exemplary ergonomics, standard and optional graphics in
the DIS display and decorative inlays with various materials
– At launch, one TDI and two TFSI engines with 122PS to 180PS, all engines have state-of-the-art efficiency technologies
– Power transmission by manual gearbox or S tronic, front-wheel drive at launch,
quattro permanent all-wheel drive later for more powerful engines
– 1.6 TDI delivers 74.3mpg, equivalent to 99 g CO2/km
– Versions with alternative drive systems such as hybrid, natural gas and
Audi e-gas are currently in development
– Alloy wheels, up to 18 inches in size
– Electronic Stability Program with electronic limited slip differential is standard
– Audi drive select vehicle dynamics system and adaptive shock absorbers are
– Extensive standard features as well as numerous optional enhancements
– Advanced MMI system with MMI touch, ultra-slim, electrically retractable
– Optional highly advanced driver assistance systems, including Audi adaptive cruise control, further developed park assist and Audi pre sense basic
– Wide range of infotainment components, sound system from Bang & Olufsen, Mobile phone preparation High with Audi connect online services