A bigger car usually means a heavier unit that consumes more fuel. However, the opposite is true for the latest Audi A3. The newest version of the German carmaker’s A3 is bigger and yet, it is lighter and more fuel efficient that the outgoing model. The Audi A3 is the first car of the Volkswagen that is built using a new architecture called MQB, which will also underpin around 40 different models and six million vehicles by the Audi, VW, Skoda and Seat brands by 2018. Also available in a sedan variant, the newest A3 at 4237mm is 87mm longer than the first-generation model.
At 1175kg, the newest A3 weighs 80kg less than the outgoing model. According to Audi Chief Engineer Michael Dick, they managed to cut 25kg from the weight by using a multi-material bodyshell; 10kg by using aluminum for the front fenders and engine hood; 4kg each by installing lighter seat structures and a lighter air conditioning system. The newest A3 boasts of being more fuel efficient than the outgoing model, cutting CO2 emissions by 17 percent.
Audi plans to introduce a 105-hp 1.6-liter diesel version at the end of 2012, which will be the carmaker’s most fuel-efficient model, as it only consumes 3.8 liters of fuel per 100km and emits 99 grams of Carbon Dioxide per kilometre travelled. In response to growing demand for greener cars, Audi plans to introduce in 2012 an A3 that will be powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that can run on compressed natural gas.
Audi will only offer the newest A3 sedan version to buyers in the United States, replacing the outgoing A3 hatch. The company will also market the sedan version in Europe and in China. According to data from JATO Dynamics, the A3 is the top compact-premium model in Europe in terms of sales, selling around 137,000 units.
Designed with concise lines, the new Audi A3 displays the following compact dimensions: length of 4,237 mm (13.90 feet) and height of 1,421 mm (4.66 feet). These dimensions are almost the same as on the previous model but the vehicles proportions have become sportier with an increase in its wheelbase of 23 mm (0.91 inches) to 2,601 mm (8.53 feet), shorter front overhang and increased width of 12 mm (0.47 inches) to 1,777 mm (5.83 feet).
A3's progressive formal language is a product of all of the dedication of its Audi engineers. The model’s headlights are flat and boast a wave-shaped lower edge. The major element at the front is the highly sculptural six-cornered single-frame radiator grille while the engine hood continues its lines. Large air intakes at the front hint at the engines’ power. Moreover, as an option, Audi can put in xenon plus units like LED bands that form the daytime running lights making the A3 instantly recognizable especially at night.
Another classic element of Audi design which gives structure to the area below the windows is its sharply delineated tornado line on the sides of the body. Above the side sills, this vibrant line rises sharply upward. Complementing the look are dynamically flared metal surfaces and large wheel arches prevailing front elevation to the new Audi A3. The low angles of the lean C-pillars and the roof that sweeps back into a modest spoiler complement the sporty look of the vehicle.
The split taillights in LED technology, when equipped with xenon plus headlights, are indicative of a variation on the inner workings of the front headlights. The styled rear with the spoiler edge above the diffuser emphasizes the width of the new premium compact. Finally, the trunk lid has a sculpted, three-dimensional appearance. The new A3 has one or two tailpipes on the left side in its diffuser insert depending on what engine type is selected.