The Audi A3 and A3 Sportback, the premium compact models from Audi, are raising their profile this summer with a raft of technical and visual improvements. Innovative technologies in such options as the unique S tronic dual-clutch transmission with seven speeds as well as the Audi magnetic ride suspension control system create a mature handling and ride. Its sharper, more striking exterior design lends even greater expression to the A3 family. Additional equipment such as the advanced Audi parking systems also add to the appeal of the latest models. The Audi S3 developing 195 kW (265 hp) now also becomes available as a 5 door Sportback version, a new top model that completes the comprehensive range. The first examples will arrive in the UK this summer.
The Audi A3 created the entirely new market segment of the premium compact car when the first-generation model made its debut in 1996. The ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ brand has been notably successful in that market segment and has since built 1.9 million units of the Audi A3. After four successive record-breaking years, the one millionth example of the second-generation A3 – which went into production in 2003 – left the assembly line just a few days ago. Audi is now solidifying its lead.
The Audi A3 Exterior
New visual details for the three-door A3 and A3 Sportback emphasise its modern profile. The bonnet lid and front wings are more sculpted, and the bumper and large single-frame radiator grille have been updated to enhance road presence. The new headlamps incorporate a curved trim element, known as the "wing" which accentuates their technical perfection. On S line, Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights provide a distinctive optional feature. New exterior mirrors with integral indicators, new door handles and an attractive new alloy wheel range add to the side profile of the new generation A3.
To the rear, the modified bumper and new tail lights create a clean design; the A3 Sportback now has innovative fibre optic rods arranged in a flat, continuous strip that creates an impressive visual effect in the dark. In addition, the three-door A3 has a modified tailgate with a new light edge. As a result of the design modifications, the A3 has grown by 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in) in length to 4.24 metres (166.93 in), while the sporty proportions of the Sportback remain virtually unchanged at 4.29 metres (168.90 in) in length.
The Audi A3 Interior
Inside the car, too, the designers fine-tuned the premium feel of the car. Elegant aluminum design elements on the air vents, light switches and center console accentuate the prestige character of the Audi A3 and A3 Sportback. The switches and controls beneath the audio system have been given a new, modern look. The instrument cluster boasts a new sporty feel with black dials and red needles which reinforce the impression of precision and advanced technology, and a shift indicator displays the recommended gear in any given circumstances in the driver information system. Fitted as standard to the SE, Sport and S line the driver information system displays the time, date and distance in a clear, high-resolution white font. The three-spoke leather steering wheel on the Sport and S line has new aluminum trim, with a flat-bottomed design available as an option on S line.
New inlays for the Standard, SE and Sport and a wide selection of upholstery colours and fabrics enhance the interior through design, impressive material quality and meticulous crafting. The upholstery range includes Alcantara/leather and Fine Nappa leather trim for the sport seats.
Split folding rear seats, as standard, offer versatile space for the A3's luggage bay which is the roomiest in its class, at 350 to 1,080 litres (12.36 to 38.12 cubic ft.), with an even larger 370 to 1,100 litres (13.06 to 38.83 cubic ft.) on the A3 Sportback. On quattro versions the boot floor is a few centimeters higher, to accommodate the special rear axle. A particularly ingenious feature is available for the front-wheel-drive versions – a sturdy, reversible loadliner that is a practical, easy-to-clean tray used, for example, carrying wet items, can also be removed from the car as a carrying tray. As part of the wider option range roof rails and a panoramic sunroof are available for the A3 Sportback.