By Mike Hanley on February 28, 2011
Audi has never sold a sedan version of its A3 compact car in the U.S., instead marketing just a four-door hatchback, but the A3 sedan concept the automaker revealed at the Geneva International Motor Show would be more than welcome on our shores in production-car form. With taut lines, a great stance and signature Audi cues like LED headlights, the A3 concept exudes style.
It would have been understandable if Audi had decided to debut the A3 concept with a hybrid drivetrain and tout some extremely high mileage figures, but we're glad to see Audi went another route and highlighted performance. The concept is powered by a 408-horsepower, turbocharged five-cylinder — a well-known engine layout from Audi's past — that works with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Naturally, the concept has Quattro all-wheel drive.
The A3 concept's white interior probably won't make the jump to a production car, but the cabin's design seems production-ready. Round dashboard vents recall those of the current A3, but the overall appearance is much more minimalist. Audi's MMI controller knob is on the center console, but the new touch-pad element seen in the A8 full-size sedan has moved to the top of the controller knob in this concept. Audi says production cars will get this setup soon. In a sign of the times, the concept also features iPad cradles on the backs of the front seats for rear-passenger viewing.
Senior Editor Mike Hanley is a father of three boys; he reviews new cars, admires classic cars and has embraced the minivan lifestyle. Email Mike