Audi A3 and S3 sedans have no alarms, no surprises; will sell boat loads

There’s nothing terribly surprising about the new A3 and S3 sedans. Depending on how you look at it, the new sedans look like an A3 with a boot, which it is, or a scaled down A4. Regardless Audi should have no problems selling this car.


Opinion: Why our bullishness about the A3 sedan’s sales prospects? While its German luxury contemporaries now all have hatchback competitors, Audi will be the first to market a mainstream sedan — the Mercedes-Benz CLA will no doubt appeal to some with coupe-style looks, but its compromised rear bench and overt sportiness will turn many off — in this segment. And being first in the American and Chinese markets, both of which prefer sedans over hatches every day including Sunday, is a huge advantage. It mightn’t sway those who see Audi drivers as w*nkers, but for China’s newly affluent middle class and those Americans looking for a small luxury sedan, the new A3 sedan may just be the ticket.

The fact that many will find it hard to distinguish between an A3 and an A4 sedan may actually work in the small sedan’s favour.

The facts: At its launch in Europe the A3 sedan will be available with either a 2-litre turbo-diesel (110kW; 320 Nm; 4.2L/100km), a 1.4-litre turbo petrol (130kW; 250Nm; 4.7L/100km) and a 1.8-litre turbo petrol (132kW; 250Nm; 5.7L/100km). Power is sent to the front or all four wheels via either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch (S-Tronic) transmission.

The S3 will ship with 221kW of power and 380Nm of torque thanks to its turbocharged 2-litre engine. This should see the 0 to 100km/h sprint dusted off in 4.9 seconds in dual-clutch cars and 5.3 seconds in manual versions. Fuel economy in Europe is rated at between 6.9 and 7L/100km. Compared to the regular A3 sedan, the S3 sits 25mm lower thanks to its sports suspension, is equipped with larger brakes, wears a body kit, has quad tailpipes and comes with all-wheel drive as standard.

Options on the new car include LED tail-lights and, in what may be a first for the segment, LED headlights. If you cheque book can handle it there’s also adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, panoramic sunroof, adaptive xenon headlights, lane keeping assistance, automatic braking and collision avoidance or mitigation.

Depending on your trim level or options box ticking skills you can also equip the entertainment system with 7-inch high-res touchscreen, MMI controller, digital (DAB+) radio reception, 4G internet hot spot, text-to-speech Twitter and Facebook functionality, and a navigation system that’s hooked up to Google Earth, Google Street View, traffic data and parking space info. There’s also on offer a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 14 speakers, 5.1-channel surround sound, 705W amplifier and LED-lit woofer grilles.

The new A3 sedan will be launched in Australia in the first quarter of 2014.

Dimensions

Length: 4,460mm
Width: 1,800mm
Height: 1,420mm
Wheelbase: 2,640mm
Note: these are preliminary overseas numbers provided to us by Audi.

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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]