The Audi A3 sedan is officially on sale, and with a starting price of $39,800 for the entry-level 1.4 TFSI it's now the most affordable way to get yourself into a brand-new luxury sedan.
The structure of the A3 sedan range largely mirrors the A3 Sportback range, but without the 1.6 TDI model.
Engine sizes range from 1.4 to 1.8 litres for the petrol engines, while the sole diesel option is a 2.0 TDI unit.
With demand growing at the bottom end of the luxury car market, the A3 sedan looks poised to capitalise on the sales momentum generated by the A3 Sportback, BMW 1 Series, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and its sole luxury small sedan competitor, the Mercedes CLA.
“We are thrilled with the price positioning of our A3 model range in general," said Audi Australia Managing Director, Andrew Doyle.
"It’s a highly competitive segment of the market and with a sales increase of 93 percent (compared with 2012) the new A3 Sportback has been very well-accepted since its May 2013 launch.
"We are now looking forward to even more customer interest with the arrival of this all new body style to the range.”
Although it looks identical forward of the B-pillar, the A3 sedan shares no sheetmetal with its hatchback counterpart.
It does share the A3 Sportback's MQB platform architecture, although there are more than enough dimensional differences to make the sedan's version of MQB rather different to that of the hatch.
The sedan is longer, naturally, measuring in at 4456mm long against the hatch's 4310mm. Overall, it's longer, wider and lower than the hatch.
It all adds up to a car that puts a greater emphasis on rear passengers than the hatchback, while also providing a more voluminous boot.
And thanks to a raft of weight-saving measures, it weighs just 1250kg for the entry model.
The base model A3 1.4 TFSI is powered by a 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol inline four, and enjoys outputs of 103kW and 250Nm. Fuel economy is a claimed 4.7 l/100km.
Meanwhile, the 1.8 TFSI is available in both front-drive and all-wheel drive configuration, with the former producing 132kW/250Nm, and the latter 132kW/280Nm.
Listed Fuel consumption for the 1.8 TFSI models comes in at 5.6 l/100km and 6.5 l/100km respectively.
The 2.0 TDI has a more modest 110kW of power, but a substantial 320Nm of torque. On the combined cycle, Audi says the diesel returns an average economy figure of 4.5 l/100km.
Thanks to greater use of aluminium in the front structure and front suspension components, Audi has been able to shift the A3's centre of gravity further rearwards for more neutral handling. The front suspension is a conventional MacPherson strut design (albeit with an alloy front knuckle to reduce unsprung weight) while the rear is a multi-link set up.
Steering is electrically assisted and variable in its weighting via Audi's Drive Select (1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TDI only), and there's an electronic pseudo-LSD system to aid front-end traction under power.
All models get 17-inch alloys, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, a trip computer, leather upholstery and a retractable 5.8-inch infotainment screen as standard, along with the usual luxuries of dusk-sensing headlamps, rain-sensing wipers and Bluetooth audio/phone integration.
Stepping up to the 1.8 TFSI or 2.0 TDI nets you leather front sports seats, foglamps, a colour trip computer display, a different steering wheel and the Audi Drive Select system.
The options list is extensive, but the most desirable extras are offered in five different option packages.
The S line sport package is expected to be one of the more populare packages, and is largely a styling upgrade. Wheels enlarge to 18-inches, bi-xenon headlamps are added and sports suspension brings the A3 closer to the deck, while interior features include a black headliner, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, aluminium trim and Alcantara-trimmed sports seats.
Also available are the Style, Technik, Comfort and Assistance packages, which include such niceties as satellite navigation, a reversing camera, heated and power-adjustable front seats, active cruise control, blind spot monitoring and a high-end audio system.
Standard safety equipment comprises seven airbags (dual front, front side, full-length curtain and driver's knee), as well as stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD and brake assist.
The A3 sedan range is available now, with the pricing as following:
- A3 Sedan 1.4 TFSI Attraction: $39,800
- A3 Sedan 1.8 TFSI Ambition: $44,800
- A3 Sedan 2.0 TDI Ambition: $44,800
- A3 Sedan 1.8 TFSI Ambition quattro: $47,800