Audi A3 saloon: Three to Tango

Jan 11 2014, 17:51 IST
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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 isn’t ready for luxury hatches yet and that a saloon is a more attractive alternative. It could be right

top of the dashboard—that 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 Audi’s sport coupé, 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 Audi’s 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 brand’s 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. Audi’s signature LED daytime-running lights, however, are likely to be available only on the top-spec versions.

What’s 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 A4’s 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 expected to be super efficient and will help give Audi the most competitive price point. Now 103.5 bhp may not seem like a lot, but 25.5 kgm of pulling power is more than sufficient, especially since the A3 weighs less than 1,300 kg.

The 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol is actually the same one used in the Skoda Octavia and here too it produces 178 bhp and 25.5 kgm of torque. We love this engine’s combination of smoothness, refinement and outright power, and you can expect the A3 equipped with this engine to perform really well. Both engines will get automatic gearboxes and

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