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Audi A3 saloon: Three to Tango

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Audi is preparing to launch one of its most important new cars, the new A3 saloon, this year. Audi is preparing to launch one of its most important new cars, the new A3 saloon, this year.
SummaryUnlike its German compatriots, Audi perhaps believes our market isnít ready for luxury hatches yet and that a saloon is a more attractive alternative. It could be right

Build quality is very high too and you almost instantly know that this is an Audi cabin. There are beautiful textures, perfectly fitting plastics and plenty of metal garnishing, so as always, the Audiís cabin feels special. There are some less than perfect bits as wellólike the plastics on the top of the dashboardóthat fall a little short of the Audi standard. But, in general, this car is exactly what you expect of an Audi.

Also semi-familiar is the design of the inside; it reminds you a bit of Audiís sport coupť, the TT. It is neat and minimalistic but not too exciting, with four chrome-ringed, well-crafted circular air-con vents being the standout feature. The instrument dials look bright and clear, and the screen for the MMI (multi-media interface) system slides up from the dashboard. Like Audiís other saloons, the A3 can be specced with the fully loaded MMI system (with a larger screen and a trackpad), and Audi is likely to offer this in the top-spec version for India, with features like satellite navigation slotted in, in order to keep the brandís luxury tag intact.

The company is aware that Indian buyers have certain expectations of luxury cars, and so will maintain features like leather seats and automatic climate control. Audiís signature LED daytime-running lights, however, are likely to be available only on the top-spec versions.

Whatís under the hood?

Powering the A3 will be both petrol and diesel engines and Audi is likely to eventually provide quite a wide and varied choice. The mainstay of the range, however, is expected to be the familiar, but now thoroughly updated, 2.0 TDI diesel engine that also powers the Skoda Octavia. Audi has only recently upgraded the A4ís engine to 174 bhp, which means the 148 bhp version of the 2.0 TDI is what the A3 is likely to get.

Audi is also planning on getting a smaller diesel in the shape of the new 1.6-litre that produces 103.5 bhp and 25.5 kgm of pulling power. It is basically a more compact version of the next-generation engine that powers many VW-Audi group cars; this engine is

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