Audi is so confident that vehicle buyers in the United States will embrace diesel that it is bringing back diesel-powered five-door version of the A3 compact to the country next summer, the German carmaker announced ahead of the New York Auto Show. The A3 five-door will be powered by a 2-liter TDI engine.
Audi withdrew the last-generation A3 hatch from the US at the end of the 2013 model year, but the compact managed to capture “an incredibly passionate and loyal fan base,” Audi of America President Scott Keogh said in a statement. Keogh said the five-door version of the A3 compact has been one of Audi’s most requested models since they unveiled the new A3 family.
The diesel A3 will be competing against entry-level luxury cars like the Lexus CT hybrid, a similarly sized hatch having a starting price of $32,960 including shipping. Lexus sold 15,071 CT hybrids in 2013 in the US while Audi delivered just 7,205 units of the previous A3 hatch in 2012. The sales figure in 2012 showed that around 55 percent of A3 buyers opted for the TDI engine.
Marketing experts at Audi came into conclusion that added fuel economy and torque of diesel engines were more appealing to environmentally conscious in cities like Portland, Ore., Seattle and San Francisco. Keogh, in a recent interview with Automotive News, described the diesel A3 as the “perfect ‘creative class’ car,” using a term coined by social scientist Richard Florida to describe the clustering of technology workers, artists and other “creative” types in urban locations.
According to Audi, the new A3 Sportback’s body shows excellent values in relation to dynamic and static torsional rigidity. This results in the foundation for the model’s high precision like those in the fits of the doors, trunk lids, and hoods. The same can be said for the production and even the acoustic comforts on the interior. Fitted as standard equipment is the noise-insulating windshield, which even with that extra intermediate film layer, results in the windshield having the same weight as the one in the previous model.
The doors and the windows are surrounded with two new sealing lines resulting in the wind noise being reduced. These lines also ensure that the entry sills are clean. Meanwhile, the design of the vehicle’s exterior mirrors, mounted on the panels of the upper door, help as well with the acoustic comfort. These are just some of the improvements done by the brand to help lower the noise on the interior. Additional measures made include using an acoustically insulating fleece material for the wheel housing shells.
This particular insulation is positioned at the back of the pillar trim and behind the instrument. The same lightweight material was also utilized for the luggage compartment. As added benefit, the weight impact of the material is simply 1.10 lbs. (0.5 kg). Passive safety is another feature where the new A3 Sportback takes the lead. In the event of a frontal collision, there is a cross-member that ensures that the forces are dispersed to the two side members.
To dissipate the forces, the side members experience defined deformation. Functioning as extra load paths are the structural members for both the front suspension and the engine. Working in the same manner are sections of the fenders’ upper regions. Should the need arise, the pedals can be decoupled from the vehicle’s firewall. In addition, the steering column is able to absorb energy and there is no danger of it being shifted to the occupant cell.