Audi developed the A3 sedan with the U.S. and China in mind. It's grown 6.5 inches in length versus the current hatchback to 175.5 inches and almost 2 inches in wheelbase to 103.4 inches. That's about 10 inches shorter than the current A4 sedan.
(Skip to details on the A3 Cabriolet)
The sedan will offer three gasoline and one diesel engine in the U.S., all turbocharged four-cylinders. The A3 will get a 1.8-liter and 2.0-liter that run on gas, and a 2.0-liter clean diesel in the TDI version. The new S3 performance version will get a high-output version of the 2.0-liter gas engine.
Though a manual transmission is offered overseas, the U.S. will get only the six-speed S tronic dual-clutch automated manual. For the first time, the new A3 includes Audi Drive select, whose four modes — Auto, Dynamic, Comfort and Individual — vary power-steering assist, accelerator sensitivity and shift points.
The A3 comes with front- or Quattro all-wheel drive, and the lower-output 2.0-liter will pair with optional Quattro in the A3. The S3 comes only with Quattro.
Audi emphasizes that the A3 may be relatively small and affordable, but it won't short buyers on features or luxury. Standard features include leather upholstery, a split-folding backseat, Bluetooth, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a panoramic moonroof. Also standard is the latest Multi-Media Interface. MMI employs a thin, 7-inch display that motors up from the dashboard. The A3 adds the touch-pad introduced by the A8 sedan; here it's incorporated atop the familiar knob that's the basis for all MMI systems.
Options include a navigation system, Bang & Olufsen stereo, blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control and Wi-Fi functionality for up to eight devices using 4G LTE connectivity.
The A3 Cabriolet wears a soft-top with power up and down operation. Audi says the top opens or closes via the electrohydraulic mechanism in less than 18 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. The top folds into three layers and rests in a tray when retracted. Cargo space is 10.1 cubic feet when the top is down, which is more than the Volkswagen Eos and Mini Convertible.
Without a hardtop, Audi shields occupants in rollover collisions with active rollover protection. Two plates spring upward from the body when a rollover is detected. Perhaps most intriguing is the A3's availability of all-wheel drive with the convertible platform. All-wheel-drive convertibles are rare and a combination our readers have asked about in the past. Back to top
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