MUNICH - Audi has kept design changes to a minimum on its face-lifted A3 and concentrated on upgrading its range of engines.
The new A3 is on sale now in Japan and Germany. The car will be available in most European countries by the end this week. Sales in the UK will start in October.
Audi has sold about 500,000 A3s since the car debuted in 1996. Audi says that, for 63 percent of A3 buyers, the car's design played an important part in the decision to buy. So exterior changes are subtle on the revised model.
The most obvious changes are to the A3's front end, where the car has new ellipsoid headlights and a new grille. Xenon headlights can be specified for an extra DM1,466 (E750). At the rear, the taillights have been redesigned and there is a new badge design on the tailgate.
Inside is a new center console to allow installation of a satellite navigation system and color monitor. New controls for the air conditioning and a redesigned steering wheel have also been added.
To stiffen the body and reduce side-tilt when cornering, Audi has equipped the A3 with sturdier anti-roll bars. It has also modified the suspension springs and shock absorbers to improve handling.
Audi's 1.9-liter turbodiesel engine has been significantly upgraded. Improvements include a new cylinder head with pump-injector injection, modified pistons and connecting rods. The engine now develops 130hp at 4,000rpm with a fuel consumption of 5.1 liters per 100km.
With the standard six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive, the A3 1.9-liter TDI accelerates to 100kph in 9.2 seconds. It has a top speed of 205kph. The engine is also available in a four-wheel-drive quattro version of the A3. That car has a special sports suspension.
Emissions from the entry-level 1.6-liter, 102hp gasoline engine have been reduced by 20 percent to meet EU4 standards.
The 1.8-liter, 150hp turbocharged gasoline engine has lighter pistons, new connecting rods, new inlet camshaft phasing and new injection valves.
Equipped with this engine, the A3 can accelerate to 100kph in 8.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 214kph.
An even more powerful 180hp version of the 1.8-liter turbocharged gasoline engine is available. This engine gives the A3 a 0-100kph time of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 228kph.