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New tech key to A3 success story

Trickle-down technologies, revised drivelines give A3 range a modern makeover

25 Mar 2022

AUDI finally launched the fourth-generation A3 range in Australia this week. The German brand’s small car made its local debut almost two years after it was introduced in Europe (May 2020).


Audi Australia product planner Peter Strudwicke said Covid-19 pandemic-related issues and microprocessor shortages forced the company to delay bringing the model to our shores, but insisted the new technology on offer in the A3 range – most of which trickled down from the new A6 sedan – and its more refined mechanical package, had made the wait worthwhile.


“The A3 and S3 are very important cars for us. They’re our top-selling non-SUV models. Globally, we’ve sold over five million A3s over three generations – more than 56,000 of those in Australia,” Mr Strudwicke said, adding that many A3 buyers will again update from the previous generation.


He added that Audi Australia anticipated the new model would appeal to “a lot of previous A3 buyers, some of whom will move into a new A3 and others who will move up the range.”


The Audi S3 Sportback and sedan will be introduced locally next week.


As the most popular (non-SUV) passenger vehicle in Audi’s local line-up, the A3 serves as a relatively affordable entry point to the range. It is also a model whose mix of variants and onboard technologies may attract first-time prestige car buyers to the brand…


Despite the fact that the entry point of the range had gone up by $9700 compared with that of the outgoing model ­­and that average variant-for-variant increases of more than $5000 had been implemented, Mr Strudwicke said $46,300 (plus on-road costs) was commensurate with the level of re-engineering the A3 had undergone and that returning customers were likely to appreciate the new model’s heightened sophistication.


“The last generation A3 was very successful for us, and the model mix was about 50:50 between sedan and Sportback (hatchback) and we expect something similar with this generation… There are a lot of technologies that are new to the A3 range – many of which have filtered down from the A6 – and that are a big leap ahead, as well as multi-link rear suspension that we think has really helped to refine the range and help it to feel a little more planted (on the road),” he said.


“A lot of the refinements to the A3 are in things you don’t immediately see, and the engines are a big one. Both engine selections in the local A3 offer improved power delivery, lovely, relaxed cruising, and great overtaking, and in the 35 TFSI, best-in-segment fuel consumption.


“The 48-volt mild hybrid drivetrain has a number of functions that are further developed over our previous hybrid system, including integration with the forward-facing radar and front camera.


“The system enables the (petrol) engine to be switched off between 40 and 160km/h and facilitate coasting. But it can also provide 12kW of additional power, and even help to brake the car, reduce the load on the petrol engine, and contribute to that really good real-world fuel efficiency.”


The 2022 A3 range now starts with the 35 TFSI Sportback, which is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine (equipped with cylinder-on-demand and mild-hybrid technology), which develops 110kW at 6000rpm and 250Nm between 1500-3500rpm. The variant is claimed to sip between 4.9- and 5.0 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle (depending on the body style). A 0-100km/h acceleration time of 8.4 seconds is listed.


Next in the A3 line-up, is the 40 TFSI quattro S line from $52,900 plus on-road costs. It is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine developing 140kW at 6000rpm and 320Nm from 1500 to 4100rpm. Acceleration from standstill to 100km/h is listed at 7.0 seconds and, depending on body style, the variants are capable of consuming as little as 6.7- and 6.6L/100km respectively.


All local A3 variants are equipped as standard with Audi’s S-tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.


Audi’s newest A3 Sportback is 30mm longer (now 4337mm) and 20mm wider (now 1816mm) than the outgoing model, while sedan variants are 40mm longer (now 4495mm), 20mm wider (now 1816mm) and 10mm taller (1425mm). The wheelbases of the respective A3 body styles remain unchanged at 2640mm (Sportback) and 2636mm (sedan).


Standard equipment across the entry-level A3 35 TFSI range now includes 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, LED headlights, wireless phone charging pad, and Audi’s 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit instrument array. Sportback variants add a powered tailgate.


The 10.1-inch central touchscreen infotainment system incorporates wireless Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity, Android Auto connectivity via cable, DAB+ digital radio reception, and proprietary satellite navigation. The myAudi smartphone app allows access to additional features, including remote lock/unlock, emergency calls, and Audi Service request.


Higher grade A3 40 TFSI quattro S line variants additionally feature Audi Sport 18-inch alloys, Audi drive-mode selector, the brand’s luggage compartment package, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, interior LED ambient lighting package, as well as sports seats. 


Safety equipment extends to AEB with cyclist and pedestrian detection, cruise control, lane-keeping assistant, reversing camera, and tyre pressure monitors as standard across the range. 


Left-hand drive versions of the Audi A3 scored a five-star safety rating under EuroNCAP’s strict new crash testing criteria.


All A3s are available in a choice of 12 paint colours and three interior colour schemes and come standard with a comprehensive five-year service plan package priced at $2250.


2022 Audi A3 pricing*:

35 TFSI Sportback (a) $46,300 (+$5600)
35 TFSI sedan (a) $48,800 (+$6500)
40 TFSI quattro S line Sportback (a) $52,900 (+$3600)
40 TFSI quattro S line sedan (a) $55,400 (+$4500)

*Excludes on-road costs.

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