Audi is refreshing the A3 with new engines—including the A3’s first 3-cylinder unit and a new 2.0L TFSI—new driver assistance systems and the Audi virtual cockpit. The new A3 is available in a three-door version and as a Sportback, a sedan and a Cabriolet.
The engine lineup for the new Audi A3 comprises six engines (three gasoline and three diesel units). Power output ranges from 81 kW (110 hp) to 140 kW (190 hp). All A3 models fulfill the EU6 standard. With the 1.0 TFSI, Audi is offering a three-cylinder model in the Audi A3 series for the first time.
The compact engine outputs 85 kW (115 hp) and delivers 200 N·m (147.5 lb-ft) of torque at 2,000 to 3,500 rpm. Consistent lightweight design has brought the curb weight of the Audi A3 with 1.0 TFSI engine down to just 1,150 kg (2,535.3 lb)—the lightest in its class. The body of the new Audi A3 is crashproof and rigid to a high extent. A noise-insulating windshield is standard equipment.
The 1.4 TFSI COD ultra features cylinder-on-demand efficiency technology, turning off two cylinders when the corresponding output is not required. The engine with 1,395 ccm displacement outputs 110 kW (150 hp) and develops 250 N·m (184.4 lb-ft) of torque.
The completely new 2.0 TFSI—a version of the Millerized 2.0 TFSI ultra in the new A4 (earlier post), generates 140 kW (190 hp), delivering 320 N·m (236.0 lb-ft) of torque at 1,500 to 4,200 revolutions per minute.
The Miller cycle uses a higher expansion ratio than compression ratio (i.e., over-expansion) obtained by either early or late closing of the intake valves (EIVC and LIVC, respectively), and results in a smaller effective compression stroke; combustion and expansion proceed normally.
The Audi 2.0 TFSI intake valves close much earlier than usual; in connection with increased pressure in the intake manifold, this reduces throttling losses. With the shortened compression phase, Audi engineers increased the compression ratio from 9.6:1 to 11.7:1. This means that in the compression phase, the engine only has to compress as much gas as a 1.4 TFSI. Also in the expansion phase, in which it fully utilizes its two liters of displacement, it profits from the high compression ratio; the resulting higher level of pressure during combustion further increases the engine’s efficiency.
In order for the fuel-air mixture to swirl sufficiently despite the short intake time, the combustion chambers, piston recesses, intake ducts and turbocharging of the new 2.0 TFSI are specially adapted to the new combustion method. Under higher loads, the Audi valvelift system opens the intake valves later, resulting in a higher charge, which ensures good power and torque delivery. Injection pressure has been increased to 250 bar.
Audi offers the four-cylinder TDI engine with 1,968 ccm displacement in two performance levels in the new A3. The 2.0 TDI comes optionally with 110 kW (150 hp) and 340 N·m (250.8 lb-ft) at 1,750 to 3,000 revolutions per minute – and will soon be available with 135 kW (184 hp) and 380 N·m (280.3 lb-ft) at 1,750 to 3,000 revolutions per minute.
The new entry-level diesel engine is the 1.6 TDI with 81 kW (110 hp). It is available in combination with the six-speed manual transmission or the S tronic seven-speed dual clutch transmission.
The 2.0 TFSI engines are joined by a fully newly developed seven-speed S tronic with wet clutch. It replaces the previous six-speed dual clutch transmission. The new Audi A3 transmits the engine power to the front wheels by default. For the gasoline-engine versions, quattro all-wheel drive is available for the 2.0 TFSI with 140 kW (190 hp).
Driver assistance. The A3 now features traffic jam assist, which works together with Audi adaptive cruise control (ACC) and its Stop&Go feature. The optional system keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and in combination with the S tronic, automatically sets the vehicle in motion again after a short stop. In sluggish traffic up to 65 km/h (40 mph), the traffic jam assist even briefly takes over the steering on well-paved roads.
Another new feature for the A3 family is the optional Emergency Assist. This system initiates braking down to a safe stop if, despite warnings, no steering activity by the driver is detected. The new rear cross-traffic assist warns the driver about cross traffic when slowly backing out of a perpendicular parking space, for example.
Virtual cockpit. The highlight in the interior of the new Audi A3 is the Audi virtual cockpit. (Earlier post.) This innovative operating concept is available for the first time in the compact class.
The Audi virtual cockpit displays the most important driving-relevant information in high resolution on a 12.3-inch diagonal TFT screen. The driver can switch between two views by pressing the “View” button on the multifunction steering wheel. In classic mode, the instruments appear as large as the usual analog displays.
In infotainment mode, however, a central window predominates, which provides more space to the navigation map or shows lists for the telephone, radio and audio. The tachometer and speedometer appear as small round clocks.
The menu structure in the MMI system has been redesigned. Operation with its flat hierarchies is based on smartphones. The centerpiece of the MMI terminal is the round rotary/push-button control, whose ring is illuminated in white in the top version. On its surface is the touch-sensitive touchpad for entering characters and for multi-finger gestures, allowing the driver to zoom within the map. Above and beside the rotary/push-button control are toggle switches and buttons with which the driver can navigate through the newly designed menu structure. The enhanced voice control for navigation, radio, media and phone now also understands many phrases from everyday language.
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. The plug-in hybrid version, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, combines a 1.4 TFSI, which outputs 110 kW (150 hp) and delivers 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque, with an electric motor that produces 75 kW and 330 N·m (243.4 lb-ft). The system output of 150 kW (204 hp) affords sporty driving performance.
Full charging of the lithium-ion battery (8.8 kWh) from a 380-volt three phase-current supply takes a little over two hours.
Audi A3 Sportback g-tron. Audi offers still another drive alternative with the A3 Sportback g-tron. The five-door compact model can use climate-neutrally produced Audi e-gas as fuel, in addition to fossil-based natural gas.
The A3 Sportback g-tron is equipped with a 1.4 TFSI engine producing 81 kW (110 hp); due to the engine’s configuration for bivalent fuels, the car’s range is over 400 km (248.5 mi) in the NEDC with natural gas fuel. When powered by gasoline, the driving range is extended by as much as an additional 900 km (559.2 mi).
The new Audi A3 series goes on sale in early May, with the first deliveries to customers occurring in summer. The basic price for the Audi A3 with the new 1.0 TFSI engine is €23,300 (US$26,550) in Germany.