MALLORCA, Spain – Audi's latest A3 is bigger but lighter than the outgoing model and also adds a sedan variant.
The A3 is the first Volkswagen Group car underpinned by a new architecture, called MQB, that will be used on 40 different models and 6 million vehicles by the Audi, VW, Skoda and Seat brands by 2018.
The five-door A3 weighs 1175kg, 80kg less than the outgoing car and the same as the first, three-door A3 launched in 1986 even though at 4237mm it is 87mm longer than the first-generation model.
Audi Chief Engineer Michael Dick said: "We saved 25kg with a multi-material bodyshell, another 10kg using aluminum for the front fenders and engine hood, 4kg each with lighter seat structures and a lighter air conditioning system."
The A3 is more fuel efficient with CO2 emissions cut by 17 percent compared with the outgoing car. A 105-hp 1.6-liter diesel version to be introduced at the end of the year will be the most fuel-efficient model, using 3.8 liters of fuel per 100km (62 U.S. mpg; 74 UK mpg) with CO2 emissions of 99g/km.
Bowing to demand for greener cars, Audi will introduce next year an A3 with a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that can run on compressed natural gas as the brand's first CNG model.
Audi is adding a sedan version that will be the only variant sold in the United States, replacing the outgoing generation hatchback currently sold there. The sedan will also be sold in Europe and in China.
The first A3 was sold only as a three-door hatchback. The five-door Sportback was added in 2004 and a cabriolet followed in 2008.