Audi A3 Sportback can read handwriting, one letter at a time

Thanks to a new chassis, body and drivetrain, the A3 Sportback has lost up to 90kg depending on the model — Audi quotes a running weight of 1,205kg for the new car when it’s equipped with a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. The weight loss is all the more admirable as the A3 Sportback has grown a few centimetres here and there.

Standard features, at least in Europe, include a pop-up bonnet designed to lessen the blow to pedestrians in the event of a crash, a full complement of airbags (including a driver’s knee bag) and air conditioning.

Naturally a whole smorgasbord of options is available. On the list are xenon heaadlights, LED tail-lights and daytime running lights (LED headlights will become available later in the A3’s life), leather and alcantara-clad interiors, LED mood lighting, blind spot monitoring, hands-free parking, adaptive cruise control, sports suspension, panorama sun roof, and keyless entry and start.

The MMI entertainment and nav system can be ordered with either a 5.8- or 7-inch pop-up display, regular MMI knob or a touch-writing capable version. In addition to regular features, such as Bluetooth hands-free and music streaming, USB or iPod connectivity, and a SD card slots, is an Nvidia Tegra T-20 graphics processor. This should ensure that 3D map graphics, Google Earth imagery and landmarks render without hesitation.

Top-of-the-range units also feature 60GB of entertainment storage, whole word voice recognition, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system with a 705W 5.1-channel amp and 14 speakers. Via Audi Connect, the system can also serve as an internet Wi-Fi hotspot.

As is to be expected in an Audi, there’s a whole plethora of turbocharged petrol and diesel engine options to choose from.

On the petrol-side of the ledger there’s a 77kW/173Nm 1.2-litre, 90kW/200Nm 1.4-litre and 132kW/250Nm 1.8-litre. As far as diesels go there will be a 3.8L/100km 1.6-litre and a 4.2 L/100km 110kW/320Nm 2-litre. Transmission choices on the home front extend to 6-speed manuals and, depending on the engine, either a 6- or 7-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic.

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]