Audi unveils all-new five-door A3
What's the news?
Audi has released full details (other than pricing and local market specification differences of course) of its five-door A3 hatchback - or Sportback in Audi-speak. It continues the mini-Avant look of its predecessor, gains some space, loses weight and will be available as a plug-in hybrid.
The A3 Sportback is marginally larger in every direction than its predecessor, though the front and rear wheels have been pushed further apart by a considerable 58mm - or 35mm more than the three-door A3. Other than that it's business as usual and there are few surprises in the Sportback's design. All the cars in the press images feature alloy roof rails, but it's not yet clear whether these will be standard. Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lamps are optional, with full LED headlights mooted for the future. As ever the S line variants steal the limelight.
Unsurprisingly, the Sportback carries over its dashboard from the three-door model. More importantly, rear passengers benefit from the lengthened wheelbase. The boot accommodates 380 litres with the split-fold rear seats in place or up to 1,220 litres with them folded down.
Initially, buyers choose from 1.6-litre TDI diesel or 1.4 TFSI petrol engines, producing 105- and 122hp respectively. The line-up will quickly be expanded with 150- and 184hp variants of a 2.0-litre TDI unit, along with a 105hp 1.2-litre TFSI engine, plus a 140hp version of the 1.4-litre petrol unit featuring cylinder-on-demand. Finally for the 'regular' engines will be a 180hp 1.8-litre TFSI model. A3 Sportbacks with up to 140hp will be offered in front-wheel drive guise only, while quattro four-wheel drive will be available in conjunction with the more powerful engines. Manual and dual-clutch S tronic automatic gearboxes are offered across the line-up.
We're expecting to see a new Audi S3 at the Paris Motor Show alongside the A3 Sportback, and Audi confirmed that an S version of the Sportback is in the pipeline. Intriguingly, it also let slip that the A3 Sportback e-tron, featuring a plug-in hybrid drive system, will go on sale in 2014.
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