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The Audi A3, offered in the USA exclusively with the five-door body style, raises its sporty profile with a raft of improvements and an accentuated design. Innovative technologies such as the S tronic dual-clutch transmission and Audi magnetic ride, the suspension control system, makes for even greater driving pleasure. Its sharper, more striking design lends even greater expression to the A3.
Dealer deliveries will coincide with the change of the model year, around September 2008, with pricing and equipment not yet finalized for the USA.
The Audi A3 strengthened the premium compact car segment upon its debut in 2005 in the USA. Since its worldwide market introduction in 1996, 1.9 million units of the Audi A3 have been built. After four successive record-breaking years, the one millionth second-generation A3 – which went into production in 2003 in Europe and 2005 in USA as a five-door – left the assembly line just a few days ago. Audi is now solidifying its lead.
The exterior: even sportier profile.
New visual details for the five-door A3 bring its stretched, sporty profile into the foreground. The front lid and fenders are more expressively styled, and the bumper and large single-frame radiator grille have been modified. A curved trim element in the headlamps known as the "wing" accentuates their technical perfection. Daytime running lights are standard features, and the optional bi-xenon headlamps incorporate LEDs. Down the sides, the highlight features are exterior mirrors with integral turn indicators, new door handles and attractive wheels.
At the tail end, the modified bumper and the lights help this car make a grand exit; the five-door A3 now has innovative fiber optic rods arranged in a flat, continuous strip that creates an impressive optical effect in the dark. The sporty proportions of the five-door A3 remain virtually unchanged at 4.29 meters (168.90 in) in length.
The interior: sporty elegance.
Inside the car, too, the designers fine-tuned the atmosphere of sporty elegance. Aluminum-look elements on the air vents, light switches and center console accentuate the premium character of the Audi A3. The switches and controls beneath the audio system have been given a new, modern look. The instruments have black dials and red needles to reinforce the impression of precision and advanced technology, and a shift indicator displays the recommended gear in any given circumstances in the driver information system.
The A3's trunk is the roomiest in its class, at 370 to 1,100 liters (13.06 to 38.83 cubic ft.) on the five-door A3. On quattro versions, the trunk floor is a few centimeters higher, to accommodate the special rear axle. Audi can also supply the options of a panoramic sunroof for the versatile five-door A3.
Powerful drive: the engines.
As before, Audi is bringing the five-door A3 onto the U.S. market with two different gasoline engines. The 2.0 TFSI has 200 hp, while the 3.2 quattro with its six cylinders musters 250 hp.
High tech from Audi: the new transmissions.
The range of transmissions has been extended and become even more appealing. The 2.0 TFSI engine is supplied as standard with six-speed manual transmission, and the 3.2 is available exclusively with the S tronic dual-clutch transmission, now also available for all engine versions. The high-tech S tronic changes gears with extreme speed and smoothness. The driver can set it to operate in a fully automatic mode or change gears manually – either at the selector lever or with the standard shift paddles on the leather sport steering wheel.
The S tronic on the six-cylinder engine and the 2.0 TFSI has six speeds. Its clutches are dry-running – an innovative approach. This means that they do not need a separate oil supply, further adding to their already impressive efficiency.
New for the five-door A3 is the 2.0 TFSI quattro, available exclusively with S tronic transmission. In its latest technical form, the central hydraulic multi-plate clutch responds even faster when the engine's power needs to be redistributed between the front and rear wheels. This increases stability, traction and driving pleasure for the driver.
The standard-fit dynamic suspension, too, provides safety, dynamic handling and comfort all rolled into one. The captivating precision with which the five-door A3 handles and its well-balanced character owe a great deal to elaborate concepts such as the four-link rear suspension and the efficient electromechanical power steering. There is optional sport suspension that supports the body 15 millimeters (0.59 in) lower.
Way ahead of the competition: Audi magnetic ride.
There is another new feature that puts the five-door A3 ahead of its challengers: The adaptive-action shock absorber control system by the name of Audi magnetic ride. This system overcomes the age-old conflict between dynamic behavior and ride comfort. The driver can choose between "Normal" and "Sport" programs by flipping a switch. A magneto-rheological fluid circulating in the shock absorbers changes its flow properties within milliseconds when a voltage is applied; this affects the damping characteristic, which can be varied from comfortably supple to crisply firm. In the U.S., this is optional on both 2.0 TFSI, and the top 3.2 version.
Pricing and equipment will be available in Fall 2008 upon arrival at U.S. dealers.
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