The New Audi A3 | Part Seven (2003)

The New A3


  • Electromechanical Audi Servotronic steering with speed-related power assistance is new to the A3, combining optimum feel and excellent suppression of road surface imperfections with high efficiency and low energy consumption
  • In contrast to conventional power steering, the new system does without a servo pump, hoses, coolers and equalisation reservoirs in the interest of simpler production and easier maintenance. It also consumes energy only when the driver actually turns the steering wheel, helping to conserve fuel
  • Sensors in the steering monitor steering forces, the speed at which the driver is turning the steering wheel and the speed at which the car is travelling. They apply this data to calculate the power assistance required, which is then built up by an electric motor and transmitted via a worm gearing to the pinion in the steering system
  • In practice this means maximum ease of steering when parking the car, and a more sensitive response and active steering feel at higher speeds. Another innovation is the active return travel of the steering with intuitive zero point, which ensures that inclined road surfaces and sides wind no longer impair the vehicle's directional stability
Brakes And Safety Systems
  • Four disc brakes varying in size depending on the engine ensure safe and reliable deceleration. The top-of-the-range 3.2 quattro features a 17-inch brake system, setting a new standard in this segment. On the front-wheel brakes this means disc diameter of no less than 345 millimetres or 13.6"
  • Like the latest Audi S4, the new A3 now features a dual rate brake servo allowing very sensitive application of brake forces under normal conditions with a reinforcement ratio of 1:5, and a higher support factor of 1:8.5 when the brake servo detects a pre-defined braking pressure
  • The latest generation Electronic Stabilisation Program comprises the following functions: the ABS anti-lock brake system, EBD Electronic Brake-force Distribution, ASR Anti-Slip Regulation, engine-dragtorque control MSR, the EDL Electronic Differential Lock, the hydraulic brake assist and the extended stabilisation braking system ESBS
  • Enhanced control algorithm in the electronic control unit now enables ESP to recognise and intervene in potentially critical situations even more rapidly. With its self-learning capacity, ESP consistently monitors the car even under stable driving conditions, adjusting the intervention point to the current driving situation on the road
  • All A3 models are fitted as standard with the Tyre Mobility System, with a run-flat spare tyre available as an option
  • Specific use of strong and extra-strong body panels, tailored blanks of varying widths and the most advanced and sophisticated joining technologies ensure outstanding stiffness and crash resistance properties
  • Number of components has been significantly reduced compared with previous A3, particularly in the floor assembly. The entire front area of the car now consists of just one single unit, helping to reduce weight and boost rigidity, which is 20 per cent higher in the new car both in flexural and torsional terms. Static torsional rigidity is up by an even more impressive 33 per cent
  • Cross-sections are designed to cope with varying loads, profiles remain consistent and unchanged throughout the body, and structure points connecting the various components have been optimised. Tailored blanks are used to guarantee efficient use of materials
  • Integrated assembly components such as the hybrid front end, aluminium subframes and an aluminium cockpit support integrated in the overall body structure enhance body stiffness even further
  • Multi-chamber aluminium crossbar bumper system renders the new A3 exceptionally impact-resistant in a head-on collision. Interacting with the longitudinal arms or "chassis legs", the bumpers absorb energy with maximum efficiency to relieve the load on the passenger cell and, in particular, the footwells
  • Hybrid carrier system consisting of an aluminium collision safety support with a bolted-on steel apron ensures additional safety. In a side-on collision the carrier system rests consistently on the sidesills, transmitting forces to the lower structure of the car with maximum efficiency
  • Seat-integrated hip-thorax side airbags further enhance safety, and the sideguard head airbag system is fitted as standard, covering almost the entire window area from the A- to the C-pillar to significantly reduce impact forces
  • The Audi A3 already meets the requirements of future safety standards. It safely resists an impact against a deformable barrier at up to 50mph and with at least 70 per cent overlap, the passenger cell and the fuel tank both remaining outside of the actual deformation area in such a collision. The entire rear structure of the car deforms specifically helped by extra-large support arms
Published 16 June 2003 Melanie Carter

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