The athletic engines of the new A3 purr at a low RPM, and send the car shooting as you press the accelerator, producing a throaty growl. And this mean performance doesn’t come at the cost of fuel-efficiency. It’s a car loaded with technology.
The A3, first launched in India in August 2014, has been a moderate success. While it could never outsell the bigger and more expensive A4 sedan — or even the entry-level luxury SUV, the Q3 — the A3 did attract a lot of non-Audi buyers into the company fold. Soon, Audi will launch the new A3 in India. We drive it in the beautiful city of Visakhapatnam.
The designers have given the new A3 even sportier, more expressive body lines. The car measures 4,458mm in length, 1,796mm in width and 1,416mm in height. Its wheelbase is 2,637mm. A powerfully sculpted engine hood, harmoniously integrated bumpers, emphasised horizontal lines, streamlined tail design, the Singleframe grille and flatter headlights give it a distinctive appearance. There are optional LED headlights with dynamic turn signals and sporty 16-inch alloy wheels.
The clear body lines of the exterior can also be found inside the cabin. It particularly impresses with the top-quality materials and overall workmanship. Highlights include three-dimensional titanium grey inlays and Jet-turbine like round air vents with both spot and diffuse functions. While the front seats are spacious, the rear-seating area, as expected, is cramped. The luggage capacity, at 425 litres, is very good.
There is a seven-inch retractable screen on the dashboard, cruise control with speed-limiter, panoramic sunroof, leather seats, dual-zone AC with sun-position sensor, MMI navigation, interior and exterior mirrors with anti-glare function, and a host of other features. The A3 also gets the Audi Phone Box with wireless charging — simply place your phone in the Box and not only will your phone get charged, but it will also use the car’s antenna for an enhanced connectivity experience.
Two engines will be available: the 35 TDI (diesel) and the 35 TFSI (petrol).
The 35 TDI is a 2-0-litre motor with a power output of 143bhp and a maximum torque of 320Nm. The 35 TFSI is a 1.4-litre motor with a power output of 150bhp and a maximum torque of 250Nm. The diesel is mated to the six-speed ‘S tronic’ transmission, while the petrol comes with the seven-speed ‘S tronic’ transmission. Electronic stabilisation control (ESC) with electronic limited slip differential is standard.
Cylinder on demand
The A3 petrol gets a technology which is usually available only in super cars. It’s called Cylinder on Demand (COD). So, if you are driving in a relaxed manner and at low or mid RPM, the system temporarily deactivates two of the four cylinders by closing their valves. If you accelerate powerfully, it switches back instantaneously into a four-cylinder mode. The result is that the A3 petrol not only accelerates from 0-100kph in a quick 8.2 seconds, it also has an exceptional fuel-efficiency of 19.2kpl.
(The A3 diesel accelerates from 0-100kph in 8.7 seconds and has a fuel-efficiency of 20.38kpl. Both petrol and diesel have a top speed of 224kph.)
The new A3 is a powerful combination of some high-end technologies and a comfortable drive. However, the rear-seating area is cramped, and it is ideally a car you should buy if you love to drive. It’ll be launched soon; expect a starting price of at least Rs 30 lakh.