Audi Ireland has announced price and order information for the all new A3, which will be launched here in early to mid-September, with the order book opening in July, writes Padraic Deane.
The new A3 goes on sale with an on-the-road price that starts from €25,900 for the punchy 1.2 litter TFSI, 105bhp version. The entry diesel offering is the highly efficient 1.6 TDI, 105bhp priced from €28,350.
This is the third generation of the highly successful A3 family, which was launched initially in Ireland in 1996. Renowned for its build quality, good looks, efficient engines and generous equipment levels, the A3 has been highly sought after by both new and used buyers and Audi boasts that improvements made to the new generation ensure this model will be no different.
The first generation debuted as a three-door model, and created an entirely new market segment – the premium compact class. In 1999, the five-door model and the sporty S3 rounded out the line-up. Over its production life to date, the A3 range has represented more than 20 per cent of total Audi sales. In Ireland, 11,000 customers have made the A3 their car of choice in the premium A segment.
CO2 emissions as little as 99g/km in the new A3 have been made possible with the help of ultra lightweight technology, which has enabled it to tip the scales an impressive 80kg lighter than its predecessor.
In addition to the 1.2 TFSI 105, the new Audi A3 will launch with three other four-cylinder engines, all of which are essentially new developments. The 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre TFSI engines and the1.6-litre TDI and 2.0-litre TDI have outputs of 125bhp, 180bhp, 105bhp and 150bhp 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 mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. The 1.6-litre TDI engine features emissions as low as 99g/km, ensuring it is the most fuel efficient engine in its class. 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.
Audi says the redesigned interior of the Audi A3 breaks new ground in the class in quality and design, with standards of materials, workmanship and ergonomics that 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 highlightl.
All trim lines receive significant equipment enhancements in the new generation. Bluetooth interface, driver information system, MMI Radio with retractable monitor, leather multifunction steering wheel, 16” alloy wheels, and air conditioning feature among standard equipment.
For €1,000 extra customers can opt for the SE version featuring additional items such as cruise control, park assist, fog lights, interior lighting package, front centre armrest, Audi Music Interface, colour driver information system, electric heated mirrors, 3D SE specific inlays, and half leather/cloth upholstery.
The S Line tops out the range for €3,500 extra and features typical S Line stalwarts such as Audi trademark Xenon lighting with LED’s, S Line exterior styling, sports multifunction steering wheel, Audi drive select and Leather and Alcantara sports seats.
Utilising the company’s new group MQB platform for the first time, Audi says the well balanced chassis of the new Audi A3 combines front suspension featuring a McPherson layout with wishbones, and multi-link rear suspension which absorbs longitudinal and transverse forces independently.
A sports suspension which lowers the body by 15mm will also be available, as will S line suspension lowered by 25mm for even sharper dynamics. The electromechanical power steering system operates with sensitivity, precision and high efficiency; in the straight-ahead position it does not require any energy input, and thus makes an important contribution to the overall efficiency of the new Audi A3.
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. More on the new A3 after it is launched in September.