The striking single frame grille that symbolises the latest Audi corporate look extends its reach to three-door versions of the best-selling A3 compact hatchback from this month, bringing the 19 models in the three-door range into line with their five-door Sportback counterparts.
Benefiting from suspension and steering enhancements, new alloy wheel choices and additional S line sports styling options, the 2006 Model Year A3 range is available to order now with OTR prices ranging from £15,515 to £24,130. First deliveries to UK customers are expected in July.
The new look A3 is available with a choice of seven engines, three transmissions and three trim levels – standard, comfort-biased SE and Sport, the latter offering the option to upgrade to an even more distinctly sporting S line specification for an additional £1,000. Unlike the previous model, the latest A3 also offers customers choosing the S line option the opportunity to go one step further by adding unique S line sports styling for a supplement of £950.
Exclusive S line features include 18-inch, RS 6-style 5 Arm alloy wheels, S line badging for the side panels and sill strips, leather and Speed cloth upholstered sports seats and a perforated leather-trimmed S line sports steering wheel in a new design for this latest A3. Taking the S line theme to the next level, the new additional £950 styling option adds a unique S line front and rear bumper design and a roof spoiler to subtly enhance the look.
A3 Sport and S line models now also feature a revised sports suspension with modified spring and damper settings designed to further improve ride comfort and handling agility.
The existing full complement of safety features has been further enhanced by a new steering aid built into the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) which senses an impending skid and monitors the driver’s response. If the driver’s steering inputs are helping to bring the car back on course, the weight of the steering is reduced, but if there is a risk of those inputs worsening the situation, steering resistance is increased.
Audi hill hold assist – an optional new feature that can also be programmed into the latest ESP system – offers extra convenience and added safety by preventing the vehicle from rolling backwards on an uphill incline. Brake pressure built up when the foot brake is applied is maintained for a short while after the brake is released on a gradient. The brake is released as soon as a gear is engaged.
Of the seven advanced engines making up the latest A3 range, three employ the latest FSI direct petrol injection for an optimum combination of strong performance, impressively low fuel consumption and minimal CO2 emissions, the most recent being the exceptionally responsive turbo charged 2.0 T FSI with 200PS. The line-up also includes two four-cylinder engines delivering the economy benefits of TDI diesel technology with no shortage of performance, and at the forefront a remarkable 250PS 3.2-litre V6 petrol unit with 250PS for outright performance enthusiasts.
Other major advantages of the A3 range include the quattro permanent four-wheel-drive system, which brings significant traction and safety gains to 2.0 T FSI, 2.0 TDI and 3.2 V6 models, and the widely acclaimed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), also available in conjunction with these engines. DSG offers all the advantages of a sporting close ratio manual gearbox and a slick shifting automatic, with none of the negative aspects of either. Featuring twin automated clutches, it permits exceptionally rapid, 0.02 second manual gear changes, yet it can also behave like a more traditional automatic shift for more relaxed urban driving.