The successful Audi A3 model range has now become even more attractive – it launches in South Africa with new technology, engines and refreshed styling. Also new onboard is the innovative operating and display concept, the Audi virtual cockpit. The new Audi A3 is available as a three-door Hatchback, a five-door Sportback, Sedan and as a Cabriolet. The sport version in the form of the Audi S3 comes with numerous innovations and has enhanced its dynamic characteristics even further.
Over the past 20 years, the Audi A3 has played a significant part in the Audi brand success story. Launched internationally in 1996, the first generation not only created its own segment, but became the global market and segment leader in the premium A-segment.
As one of the model lines with the highest conquest rate in the Audi range, the Audi A3 continues to make a major contribution to the brand’s rejuvenation by acquiring important first-time customers and range-climbers for the brand. All of this underlines the Audi A3’s status as an important high-volume model, with a diverse target group that still holds great potential.
Over the past three generations of the model, Audi has delivered in excess of 1 million units to customers worldwide, with South Africa delivering 51,400 of those units between 1998 and 2016. The introduction of the latest generation in 2012 marked the start of a new and exciting era for Audi in thepremium A-segment. Now, the introduction of the refreshed product range is perfectly poised to continue the heritage of the A3 brand in South Africa.
The dimensions of the new Audi A3 models have remained virtually unchanged; however the styling has been updated to reflect headlight and taillight design changes, a further emphasized bonnet, integrated front bumper, a redesigned Singleframe grille and a newly contoured rear diffuser. For a sportier look, the S line exterior package can also be ordered providing the vehicle with a different front bumper and rear diffuser.
16-inch wheels are available as standard across the 1.0T, 1.4T, 2.0T and 2.0TDI with a range of 17 and 18 inch wheels optionally available. The Audi S3 however, is available with 18-inch wheels as standard.
The headlights of the Audi A3 form striking new lighting graphics with their jagged bottom edges. Bi-xenon units are standard, while LED headlights as well as Matrix LED headlights are also optionally available for the first time in the premium compact class. Both LED and Matrix LED headlights offer dynamic turn signals. Fifteen LEDs each produce the high beam of the Matrix LED headlights, which radiate from three reflectors. Supplied with information by the camera at the interior mirror, their control module turns them individually on and off as required; or additionally dims them in 64 stages each.
Extensively overhauled: the engine line up
The engine line up for the Audi A3 comprises five engines made up of three petrol and one diesel. Their power output ranges from 85 kW to 228 kW in the top model, the Audi S3.
With the 1.0 TFSI, Audi for the first time offers a three-cylinder engine in the Audi A3 range. This compact engine provides 85 kW and delivers 200 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 3,500 rpm. Its consumption rate is limited to 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres – a CO₂ emission level of 104 grams per kilometre, making it exempt from CO₂ tax in South Africa. The new entry-level petrol engine is efficient at no cost to driving pleasure. It accelerates the A3 from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.7 seconds up to a top speed of 206 km/h.
Another first for the A3 is the 1.4 TFSI with cylinder-on-demand (COD) efficiency technology, switching off two cylinders when that power is not required. The engine with 1,395 cm³ displacement affords 110 kW of power and develops 250 Nm of torque. The average fuel consumption in combination with the manual transmission is just 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres – corresponding to 105 grams of CO₂ emitted per kilometre, thereby also making it exempt from emissions taxation.
A technical highlight is the completely newly developed 2.0 TFSI with its innovative combustion method. From a displacement of 1,984 cm³ it generates 140 kW and provides 320 Nm of torque. It takes 6.7 seconds for the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h and reaches a top speed of 244 km/h. The consumption is 5.5 litres per 100 kilometres, with a CO₂ emission level of 126 grams per kilometre. The 2.0 TFSI engine is accompanied by a totally new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with wet clutch which supersedes the previous six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Audi South Africa will offer one four-cylinder TDI engine with 1,968 cm³ displacement in the new A3. The 2.0 TDI comes with 105 kW and 340 Nm from 1,750 to 3,000 rpm. Only available in
S tronic transmission, the 105 kW engine consumes 4.5 litres of fuel per kilometre on average, corresponding to 117 grams CO₂ per kilometre.
In the S3, Audi has raised the bar once more in terms of power. 18 kW more power and torque increased by 20 Nm. The 2.0 TFSI now generates 228 kW and delivers 400 Nm in the wide range of 2,000 to 5,400 rpm. Its consumption has improved in conjunction with the new seven-speed
S tronic by around eight percent to 6.4 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. By further optimizing the steering characteristic and exhaust system control, the Audi S3 drives even more dynamically.
The new S3 models offer superior performance and ground-breaking efficiency. With its further enhanced performance, the booming high-performance four-cylinder unit combines cutting-edge technologies – dual injection into the combustion chambers and into the intake manifold, integration of the exhaust manifold in the cylinder head, the Audi valvelift system and a rotary valve module for the thermal management system.
In interaction with the seven-speed S tronic, which comes with a freewheeling function, the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h takes just 4.5 seconds in the Audi S3. The figure is 4.6 seconds for both the S3 Sportback and the S3 Sedan, while the Cabriolet takes 5.1 seconds.
The A3 Hatchback, Sportback and Sedan will all offer the 1.0T FSI, 1.4T FSI, 2.0 TFSI, 2.0TDI and S3 versions, whereas the Cabriolet engine range is limited to only the 2.0T FSI and S3 Cabriolet.
The new Audi A3 distributes the engine power to the front wheels as standard. The suspension of the new Audi A3 is tuned for impressively balanced sportiness. In the case of the optional sport suspension, the body lies 15 millimetres lower, and 25 millimetres lower with the S line sport suspension.
The electromechanical power steering is sensitive and highly efficient; however Audi also optionally supplies the electrically operated progressive steering system (not available for 1.0 TFSI), in which a special steering rack yields different gear ratios depending on the steering angle. As a result, the car drives with even greater agility and also minimises driver input on tight bends and when parking. This feature is available as standard on the Audi S3.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) completes the range of handling features. In fast cornering, wheel-selective torque control, a software function of the ESC, minimally brakes the inside front wheel (with front-wheel drive) or both inside wheels (with quattro drive). Both wheels of the axle can then transmit greater lateral force. The difference in propulsive forces causes the A3 to turn into the curve very slightly – making its handling even more precise, more neutral, sportier and more stable.
The sporty and clear body lines of the exterior can also be found in the interior of the new A3. The interior impresses with the top-quality materials and workmanship customary at Audi, as well as exemplary ergonomics.
Luggage capacity ranges from 365 litres on the Hatchback, to 380 litres on the Sportback, with 425 litres available in the Sedan and 320 litres on the Cabriolet.
The highlight in the interior of the new Audi A3 is the Audi Virtual Cockpit. The innovative operating concept is available for the first time in the compact class. The Audi Virtual Cockpit depicts the most important driving-relevant information in high resolution on a 12.3-inch 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, a central window predominates that provides more space for the navigation map or shows clearly arranged lists for the phone, radio and audio sectors.
In infotainment, the new Audi A3 again sets new standards. The MMI radio plus with the electrically extending seven-inch monitor is standard equipment. For the first time, there is a choice of two different MMI Navigation systems to choose from, a basic version or an advanced version. Both versions include Audi connect and Bluetooth streaming, the only difference being the MMI touch pad and the level of radio system. With Audi connect, many online functions are brought into the car such as Google Earth and Google Street View, point of interest search and the ability to turn the car into a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 8 devices. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto round off the infotainment offering by seamlessly integrating into the car via the Audi smartphone interface system.
The Audi A3 range will be bolstered in 2017 with the launch of two Audi Sport models in the form of the RS3 Sedan and the RS3 Sportback.
The range will offer the following standard equipment on the 1.0T, 1.4T, 2.0T and 2.0TDI engines:
Auto release function
16 inch wheels
17 inch wheels (Cabriolet only)
Driver information system
Electrical interface, Aux and USB
Exterior mirrors in body colour
Front centre armrest
Inlays in Micro metallic silver
Leather covered sport steering in 3 spoke design
Light and rain sensor
Interior lighting package
MMI radio plus
The Audi S3 range will offer the following standard equipment:
18 inch wheels 5 twin spoke star design
Audi Sound System
Deluxe automatic air-conditioning
Driver information system with colour display
Electric interface, Aux in and USB
Front Sport seats
High gloss package
Inlays in matt brushed aluminium
Interior mirror with automatic antiglare action
Leather covered multifunction sport steering wheel, flat bottomed with shift paddles
Leather/ fabric seat upholstery
LED Headlights and rear lights incl. dynamic turn signals at the rear
Light and rain sensor
MMI radio plus
Pedals and footrest in stainless steel
The range will be priced as follows, including all taxes and the standard 5 year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan: