Audi Ireland today announced the official arrival of the Audi A3 to Audi dealerships nationwide. Whilst the punchy 1.2TFSI 105 version from €26,900 OTR will arrive later in 2013, the 1.4 TFSI is available to order in early December from €28,400 OTR. The entry diesel offering is the highly efficient 1.6TDI 105 priced from €29,400 OTR.
Audi pioneered this premium compact segment, and this is now the third generation of the highly successful A3 family which was launched initially in Ireland in 1996. Renowned for its supreme build quality, good looks, efficient engines and generous equipment levels, the A3 remains highly sought after by both new and used buyers and the improvements made to the new generation ensures this model will be no different. Over its production life to date, the A3 range has represented over 20 per cent of total Audi sales, establishing itself as a steadfast pillar of the brand’s success. In Ireland, over 11,000 customers have made the A3 the number one car in the premium A-segment and the Audi A3 Sportback is the most popular variant of the A3 family making up 60% of total sales. With the Golden Steering Wheel for 2012 being awarded to the New Audi A3 Hatchback, the A3 Sportback continues in this formula and is destined for success in the automotive press world.
CO2 emissions of as little as 99g/km in the new A3 Sportback have been made possible with the help of ‘Audi ultra’ lightweight technology, which has enabled it to tip the scales an impressive 90 kg lighter than its predecessor. The aluminium front wings and bonnet help in this regard, and contribute to a class-beating kerb weight of just 1,205kg for the 1.4 TFSI model. In addition to the 1.2 TFSI 105, the new Audi A3 Sportback will launch with three other four-cylinder engines, all of which are essentially new developments. The 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre TFSI engines and the 1.6-litre TDI and 2.0-litre TDI have outputs of 125BHP, 180BHP, 105BHP and 150BHP respectively. Compared with the previous model, they offer fuel economy improvements averaging 10 per cent.
The 1.8-litre TFSI is linked as standard to a seven-speed S-tronic twin-clutch transmission; the 1.4-litre TFSI and 2.0-litre TDI are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. The 1.6-litre TDI engine features emissions as low as 99g ensuring it is the most fuel efficient engine in its class. All engines in this first phase drive the front wheels; quattro permanent all-wheel drive – and further engines, including a 1.4-litre TFSI with innovative cylinder on demand technology – will follow later in 2013.
The completely redesigned interior of the Audi A3 Sportback breaks new ground in the class in terms of quality and design, with standards of materials, workmanship and ergonomics which genuinely push the boundaries at this level. The central computer of the new MMI includes the MMX board (MMX: Multi-Media eXtension). One of the plug-in module’s key components is the fast T-20 graphics process from market leader Nvidia’s Tegra 2 series. The chip, which generates complex 3D images, is used in all online, voice control, media, navigation and telephone functions. The high-resolution monitor of the MMI operating system measures either 5.8 or 7 inches in diagonal and extends automatically from the instrument panel. Just 11mm thick, its lightweight magnesium housing is finished in high-gloss black for an elegant, premium appearance.
Audi is also presenting important innovations for the control terminal on the centre tunnel console. The permanent rocker switches – the hard keys – for navigation, telephone, radio and media have been rearranged. With the top-of-the-line MMI navigation plus, the large rotary pushbutton with MMI touch – a solution from Audi’s full-size models – has been consolidated into a touch wheel. The touch-sensitive field, on which drivers can enter letters and numbers with their fingers, forms the surface of the control wheel.
The standard MMI system can be upgraded to MMI navigation plus with MMI touch – a media centre with 10 GB of music storage capacity and a DVD drive. The high-resolution 7-inch monitor displays the map with detailed 3D graphics. Mobile phones and players can be paired with MMI navigation plus through the integrated Bluetooth interface.
A number of attractive modules round out the range, including a module for digital audio broadcasting and the Audi Phone Box for easily connecting mobile phones to the vehicle antenna. The optional Bang & Olufsen sound system, whose 705-watt, 5.1-channel amplifier drives 14 speakers, is available in addition to the Audi Sound System. LED light guides illuminate the fames of the woofers in the front doors.
All trim lines receive significant equipment enhancements in the new generation. Bluetooth interface, driver information system, MMI Radio with retractable monitor, leather multifunction steering wheel, 16” alloy wheels and air conditioning feature amongst standard equipment. For just €1,000 extra customers can opt for the SE version featuring additional items such as cruise control, park assist, fog lights, interior lighting package, front centre armrest, Audi Music Interface, colour driver information system, electric heated mirrors, 3D SE specific inlays and half leather/cloth upholstery. Sport tops out the range for €1,500 extra and features 17” alloy wheels, typical sports multifunction steering wheel, Audi drive select and newly designed sports seats.
The chassis of the new Audi A3 Sportback offers great composure and stability thanks to the finely balanced distribution of axle loads. The front axle has been shifted forward by 40 millimetres compared with the previous model, shortening the overhang correspondingly. This means that occupancy in the car is increased and precious rear legroom is extended. All of the engines are installed tilted backward by 12 degrees with the exhaust end facing the bulkhead. This concept is an element of the modular transverse platform (MQB). Sports suspension which lowers the body by 15 mm will also be available, as will S line suspension lowered by 25mm for even sharper dynamics. The electromechanical power steering system operates with sensitivity, precision and high efficiency; in the straight-ahead position it does not require any energy input, and thus requires zero fuel which adds to the overall efficiency of the new Audi A3.
Another technical area in which the new Audi A3 Sportback will excel is in its new high-performance driver assistance systems. They range from radar-assisted adaptive cruise control to Audi side assist, Audi active lane assist, traffic sign detection, park assist and the Audi pre sense basic safety system. The new Audi A3 Sportback presents a ground-breaking innovation in mobile communications electronics – the modular infotainment platform (MIB). The concept behind it enables very fast innovation cycles in development.
With safety always top of mind, the A3 Hatchback has already achieved 5 Stars in the Euro-NCAP test.
Andrew Doyle, managing director of Audi Ireland commented:“The launch of the Audi A3 Sportback model will give us a great kick start to the New Year. Arriving in February, 2013, the A3 Sportback has been a hugely successful model for us since its launch back in 1999.
This third generation all-new Audi Sportback model has been completely redesigned inside and out. It’s sportier, spacious and more fuel efficient than its predecessor and comes standard with the innovative Audi MMI Radio. It has been designed with Audi benchmark quality to meet the sophisticated demands of our customers and we are confident this all-new model will be very well received by new and existing customers.”