Jude P. Morte / Brent Co | September 21, 2006 00:00Bang-for-the-buck vehicles in the luxury car segment is now the norm instead of being the exception, give gasoline and goods pricing nowadays. With that as a maxim, Audi recently joined the said segment with the recent launch of the new Audi A3 luxury compact hatchback.
The new A3 combines sporty driving characteristics with a spacious interior. For starters the A3 sports the Audi trademark new single-frame grille. The gently rising baseline of the window area and the coupé-like roof line meet at the tail, which makes the whole car look as if it is about to leap forward.
With the number of lines significantly reduced and the individual surfaces split up graphically, the rear-end styling is noted for its explicit clarity. Also, the rear features visible, high-quality tailpipes that underline the car's character.
Inside, the Audi A3 is distinguished by two features: sportiness and elegance. This impression is the result of the low seat position, the high and wide centre console and the division of the dashboard. The A3 also features new generation steering wheels, with the three-spoke and four-spoke steering wheels calling to mind the single-frame design of the radiator grille. The interior surfaces and each individual detail are noted for their first-rate quality and a superbly crafted finish, highlighted by sport seats with Napa leather upholstery in black, light grey and red.
The A3 comes in three variants. The first is a 1.6L four-cylinder engine with variable intake manifold, valves operated by roller cam followers (to reduce friction) and a single overhead camshaft that puts out 102 hp. The second variant is a two-liter TDI (turbocharged direct injection) variant with DSG (direct shift gearbox) that puts out 140 hp and 320 NMs of torque (all available between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm) and features a rapid-starting diesel system that allows the driver to start the engine without a long preheating process. The top-of-the-line 3.2-liter V6 engine (with DSG and Quattro permanent four-wheel drive) puts out 250 hp and 320 NMs of torque between 2,500 and 3,000 rpm, propelling the A3 from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds and achieving a (governed) top speed of 250 km/h.
The A3 also features electro-mechanical steering with speed-dependent power assistance. It combines optimum feedback from steering movements with a low level of sensitivity to vibration from the road surface, and consumes far less energy than a conventional system. Also, a newly-programmed electronic stability program (ESP) assists the driver in critical situations. If the car threatens to swerve and the driver decides to steer to stabilize the vehicle, steering resistance is reduced. If there is a risk of the driver exacerbating the critical situation by an incorrect steering maneuver, steering resistance is increased.
PGA Cars, Inc. president Miguel Coyiuto said the new Audi A3 redefines the benchmark in the premium compact class. "With its sporty character, excellent build quality and sophisticated technology it adds more depth to the premium compact segment," added Coyiuto.