2013 AUDI A3
Launching initially in three-door form, the evolutionary styling of the new A3 follows in the footsteps of its larger stablemates, featuring the same stepped headlight design and the familiar hexagonal grille.
Regular folk may struggle to tell the new hatch from its predecessor, but like a pair of "identical" twin siblings, a side-by-side comparison makes the differences more obvious (see our gallery below).
The new A3 is roughly the same overall length and height as the outgoing model, but with a slightly wider body and a longer wheelbase (built on the new modular MLB platform), interior space is improved.
In Europe, the A3 hatch will launch with three four-cylinder engines, including two petrol mills and one diesel unit.
Opening the range is the familiar 1.4 litre TFSI petrol engine, delivering 90kW and 200Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is listed at 5.2 l/100km, and a 0-100km/h time of 9.3 seconds is claimed.
Topping the petrol range (for now) is the 1.8 litre TFSI, offering 132kW and 250Nm. Fuel consumption is only slightly off the smaller engine, at 5.6 l/100km, and the 0-100km/h time is listed at a swifter 7.2 seconds.
The sole diesel option is the 110kW 2.0 litre TDI, with fuel consumption listed at a very low 4.1 l/100km. The miserly diesel will cover the 0-100km/h sprint in 8.6 seconds, Audi says.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the 1.4 TFSI and 2.0 TDI engines, while the top-shelf 1.8 TFSI will get Audi's seven-speed S stronic dual-clutch automatic as standard.
The A3's suspension package features McPherson struts up front, along with a multi-link arrangement at the rear.
A front-wheel-drive configuration is standard across the range, although quattro all-wheel-drive models are scheduled to arrive sometime after launch.
Inside, Audi's familiar MMI multimedia system is featured. A new smaller touchwheel drives the system, combining the touchpad of the new A6 with the existing A3's scroll wheel.
The wheel allows control of the navigation, telephone, media and radio settings, all managed via a 3D-style menu.
Driver aids and safety features include adaptive cruise control, with an optional assistance package acting as a collision avoidance system, activating the brakes when required. Audi Side Assist and Lane Assist are also featured.
As for the five-door A3 hatch and the four-door A3 sedan, we can likely expect those to debut over the coming year - along with the hotly-anticipated S3 flagship.
Speaking with TMR today, Audi Australia General Manager for Corporate Communications, Anna Burgdorf, confirmed that while local timing is still to be confirmed, a 2013 local debut for the new A3 is scheduled.
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