– a new, even more sharply styled A3 featuring new engines and accommodating the latest driver assistance and infotainment advances, including the standard-fit Audi smartphone interface and the optional fully digital Audi virtual cockpit, becomes available to order in May. The first three-door, five-door Sportback, Saloon and Cabriolet versions, headed by their respective S3 flagships, will arrive with UK customers from late summer. The plug-in hybrid A3 Sportback e-tron with its 176mpg capability and 37g/km CO2 output will also make its debut in updated form later this year.
The highlight in the interior of the new Audi A3 is the Audi virtual cockpit, which can now be specified as an alternative to the standard analogue unit. This innovative operating concept, which is available for the first time in the compact class, displays the most important driving-relevant information in high resolution on a 12.3-inch diagonal TFT screen.
The driver can switch between two views by pressing the “View” button on the multifunction steering wheel. In classic mode, the instruments appear as large as the usual analogue displays. In infotainment mode, however, a central window predominates, which provides more space to the navigation map or shows lists for the telephone, radio and audio. The rev counter and speedometer appear as small round clocks.
The menu structure in the MMI system has also been redesigned. Operation with its flat hierarchies is based on smartphones. The centerpiece of the MMI terminal is the round rotary/push-button control, whose ring is illuminated in white in the top version. On its surface is the optional touch-sensitive touchpad for entering characters and for multi-finger gestures, allowing the driver to zoom within the map. Above and beside the rotary/push-button control are toggle switches and buttons with which the driver can navigate through the newly designed menu structure. The enhanced voice control for navigation, radio, media and phone now also understands many phrases from everyday language.
Although hardly any change has been made to the dimensions – 4.24 metres in length with a wheelbase of 2.60 metres – the new Audi A3 looks more purposeful than ever. Its Singleframe grille features sharper lines and is broader, and its headlights are flatter, with distinctive outer contours.
The rear accentuates the width of the new A3 – with the horizontal illuminated graphics of the rear lights and the separation edge above the redesigned diffuser. The colour palette has also been expanded. Twelve paint colours are available to choose from depending on specification, including the five new colours Ara blue, Cosmic blue, Nano grey, Tango red and Vegas yellow.
The engine line-up for the Audi A3 comprises six engines (three petrol and three diesel units). Their power output ranges from 110PS to 190PS. All fulfil the EU6 standard.
The 1.0 TFSI engine is a new entry-level choice for the A3 range, and notable for creating its first ever three-cylinder variant. The compact engine delivers 115PS and 200 Nm (147.5 lb-ft) of torque at 2,000 to 3,500rpm, and its inherent efficiency is achieved without sacrificing anything in terms of driving pleasure.
The 1.4 TFSI COD features cylinder-on-demand efficiency technology, turning off two cylinders when the corresponding output is not required. The engine with 1,395 ccm displacement offers 150PS and 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque.
A technical highlight is the completely new 2.0 TFSI with its innovative combustion process. From a displacement of 1,984 ccm it generates 190PS, delivering 320 Nm (236.0 lb-ft) of torque at 1,500 to 4,200rpm.
The consistently popular 2.0-litre four-cylinder TDI engine with 1,968 ccm displacement will be available in two states of tune in the new A3 – 150PS and 340 Nm (250.8 lb-ft) at 1,750 to 3,000rpm – and slightly later with 184PS and 380 Nm (280.3 lb-ft) at 1,750 to 3,000rpm.
The entry-level diesel engine is the 1.6 TDI with 110PS. It is available in combination with the six-speed manual transmission or the S tronic seven-speed dual clutch transmission.
The 2.0 TFSI engines are joined by a fully newly developed seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission with wet clutch. It replaces the previous six-speed dual clutch transmission with dry clutch.
The new Audi A3 transmits the engine power to the front wheels by default. For the petrol-engine versions, quattro all-wheel drive is available for the 2.0 TFSI with 190PS.