In a bid to appeal to a wider audience in the North American market, Audi is set to add a four-door saloon to the A3 range.
Come 2011 the Audi A3 will be available to American buyers as a hatchback, sportback, cabriolet, and the soon-to-be four-door saloon.
An Audi insider had this to say:
?We?ve taken a good look at what it will take to better establish the A3 in the US market in the future. The four-door layout is something North American car buyers continue to seek, especially from a premium brand such as Audi.?
To be built atop the next generation Volkswagen Golf platform, the A3 saloon will be similar in size to the Volkswagen Jetta.
Audi noted the A3 saloon would not share the Jetta's conservative styling. A more streamlined profile with coupe-like proportions is expected. Styling is said to be similar to, but edgier than today's A3 (pictured).
Technically, the A3 saloon will be largely similar to the current model with a MacPherson strut arrangement up front and a multi-link setup in the rear.
A range of petrol and diesel engines will be on offer, starting with the entry level 1.2 litre TFSI engine.
The four-cylinder is good for 78kW (105hp) and is 15 percent better on fuel than the current 1.6 litre naturally aspirated engine - all the while providing more power.
From there displacement and power increases with 1.4 litre, 1.8 litre, and 2.0 litre engines being available. Power outputs come in at 104kW (140hp), 126kW (170hp), and 156kW (210hp) respectively.
The range-topping Audi S3 Quattro will retain its 2.0 litre turbo engine but will see power rise to 208kW (280hp), an increase of around 11kW (15hp).
The entry-level diesel option will be the fuel-sipping 1.6 litre TDI mill. Featuring automatic stop-start technology, the oil burner is good for 3.7L/100km's and has 78kW (105hp) on tap.
More power is available from either a 105kW (140hp) or 126kW (170hp) 2.0 litre engine, with Audi also said to be working on a twin-turbo version.
Aimed squarely at BMW's 123d, the twin-turbo engine would be good for 152kW (204hp) making it a worthy competitor to the BMW unit.
Front-wheel drive will be the layout of choice for entry level models while Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system will be available as an option.
A six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG transmission will be offered with more powerful models to receive an uprated cog swapper to handle the extra grunt.
With 500 litres of boot space (130 litres more than the A3 Sportback) the Audi A3 saloon makes a lot of sense and could perform well in the North American market.
Expect further information and the usual bevy of spyshots to hit the web in the coming months.
[Source: Auto Car]