The All New Audi A3
The Audi A3, a perennial favourite amongst the Audi line-up, is making a new bid to dominate the hacthback market. This is the third generation of the A3 line which started in 1996, and is a completely different car from previous incarnations. Only the gearbox looks the same. Everything else in the car is new. The engines are new. The suspension is new. The interior is new. In most cases, auto manufacturers will try to keep as many elements from the previous generation as possible. In this case, just about everything has been revised and revisited.
The A3 is completely different because this generation uses the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform. It is loosely translated into English as “Modular Transverse matrix.” This platform allows Volkswagen to design a wide variety of different vehicles using the same components. This is very different from the automobile platform sharing of the past where there are many similarities such as those between sedans and crossover SUVs. Everything from supermini cars to large family sedans can use the MQB. In essence, all MQB cars will share the same engines, front axle, and positioning of the pedal box. But the platform is flexible so that VW car designers can use a wide variety of car sizes and wheelbase. This means there will be ten million VW, Audi, Seat, and Skoda cars per year using the MQB.
So what does the MQB bring to the average car buyer? First of all, the cost of designing each car is quite a bit lower because a lot of components are shared. Because the Volkswagen group is producing so many cars using the same components, buying parts in such large quantities will also drive the price down. This means the folks at Audi can put the savings elsewhere. There are many improvements both inside and outside of the third generation New Audi A3.
On the outside, the bonnet and the front wings are made of aluminium, the front frame is also made out of aluminium as well. These are lightweight parts that help make the car lighter and quicker, but they are also more expensive. That’s one of the ways that the savings from the MQB is being spent elsewhere. The A3 has xenon headlamps with LED daylight lamps. In future models of the third generation A3, LED headlights will become available as well.
The weight of the vehicle is 80 kilograms less than before. The weight of the car for the Audi A3 1.4 TFSi is only 1175 kilograms. With respect to the car tax, the emissions for the car is 106 g/km. The A3 is 100 kilograms lighter than the equivalent BMW 1 Series.
The most desirable engine in the Audi A3 is possibly the 1.8 litre TFSi petrol with 180 bhp. The car is capable of going from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in just 7.2 seconds. The top speed is 144 miles per hour. The fuel efficiency is a very competitive 50.4 miles per gallon.
With the more common 2.0 litre TDI engine, it works fine with regards to performance at 150 bhp. It can get to highway speeds pretty quickly by going from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in 8.6 seconds. The top speed with the TDI engine is 134 miles per hour. The lighter weight is reflected in better performance numbers for the car. Buyers looking to save money on fuel will be very impressed with the 68.9 miles per gallon fuel efficiency.
In the latter part of 2012, Audi is planning to release an even more efficient 1.6 TDI engine with the potential to get 74.3 miles per gallon on fuel efficiency. The CO2 emissions will be only 99 g/km. There will also be models that make used of hybrid, natural gas and Audi e-gas technologies as well depending on the market.
The driver of the Audi A3 will be greeted in the inside cabin with the infotainment platform, which is brand new for the third generation A3. First of all, hardware updates will be easy to do. The hardware is advanced enough to do voice control, online activities, navigation, and phone functions. The navigation screen is either 5.8 inches or 7 inches diagonal width. The Audi Music Interface (AMI) allows integration with another mobile music player. It also has a Bluetooth interface. The top-of-the-line version of this platform features 60 gigabytes of memory, a DVD drive, and whole-word voice control.
The Audi A3 provides features that set it apart in the premium compact class category. It comes with Audi adaptive cruise control, which maintains the desired safe distance between the driver and the car in front. If there is an impending collision, the adaptive cruise control system can warn the driver and automatically initiate braking in order to reduce the speed of impact. If the car detects that a collision has occurred, it will try to prevent additional movement of the car that can result in a second crash. It will turn on the interior lighting as well. If the mobile phone option is included, a call is made to emergency services.
There are other features that drivers will love such as Audi side assist, which uses radar to watch the traffic at the rear of the car in order to assist with lane changes. The Audi active lane assist helps the driver stay in the lane with slight steering corrections if it is necessary. The video camera in the car is used as a traffic sign detection system. It will show speed limits and other information on the navigation system’s screen. There is even a rest recommendation system which detects driver fatigue and warns him or her accordingly.
With all of these additions, the Audi A3 is a very different car than before. But it is also much better with the latest technology. It meets or exceeds driver expectations with respect to performance and fuel efficiency. Overall, this is a great choice in the premium compact category.
Image Source: NRMA New Cars