With the introduction of the 110 kW A3 2.0 FSI alongside the existing 2.0 TDI diesel model, Audi is marching closer to its aim of offering a wide range of A3 models which will culminate in the introduction of the A3 range topper - the 3.2 V6 quattro with the option of a DSG direct shift transmission - towards the latter half of 2004.
Audi introduced the latest A3 to South Africa late in 2003 with the 103 kW 2.0 TDI.
The FSI range consists of four models in two trim executions. As with all Audi models, the A3 range is covered by a five-year or 100 000 km Freeway maintenance plan including Audi Assist personal and emergency services:
2.0 FSI Attraction 6-speed manual R202 000
2.0 FSI Attraction 6-speed tiptronic R215 000
2.0 FSI Ambition 6-speed manual R212 000
2.0 FSI Ambition 6-speed tiptronic R225 000
The new two-litre engine featured in the A3 is one of Audi's most advanced power units. The crank case and basic engine dimensions are exactly the same as the aluminium power unit already featured in the A4.
The big difference, however, is that the FSI engine comes with direct petrol injection incorporating a common rail injection system and a single-piston high-pressure injection pump.
This injects fuel directly into the cylinder head rather than into the intake manifold, as with non-FSI engines.
As a result an FSI engine allows a stratified charge principle at part load, whereby the engine only needs a fuel-air mixture capable of immediate ignition around the spark plug.
The remainder of the combustion chamber is filled with a leaner mixture containing a considerable amount of excess air, and as a result the engine can be run without the incoming mixture flow being throttled.
The direct injection engine also benefits from reduced heat losses, because the layer of air around the "cloud" of ignitable mixture isolates the latter from the cylinder and cylinder head.
The four-valves per cylinder are actuated by low-friction roller cam followers while the intake camshaft can be continuously adjusted.
The 2.0 FSI in the A3 develops maximum output of 110 kW and maximum torque of 200 Nm at just 3500 r/min. With this kind of power, the A3 2.0 FSI with manual six-speed gearbox accelerates from 0-100 km/h in just 9.1 seconds and has a top speed of 211 km/h.
More important, though, is fuel economy, with average fuel consumption of just 6.9 litres/100 km in the combined cycle.
Standard items on all models include 'Easy Entry' front seats, electric windows and central locking with remote control. Height adjustment for both driver and front passenger is standard on all models, and - new to this class - heated rear seats can also be ordered as an option.
A sun screen for the rear window is standard on all models and an option on the 2.0 FSI Attraction. Electronic climate control with separate controls for the driver and front passenger is also standard, as are 16 inch alloy wheels.
Fog lamps are standard on all models except the 2.0 FSI Attraction.
Options include a BOSE sound system and a navigation system, (only the base navigation to start with, the full system will follow later - including TV), plus and optional CD changer in the glove box for easy access.
You can also opt for a electric sliding/tilting glass sunroof, Xenon headlights (including headlight washers) cruise control, acoustic parking system, and mobile phone preparation which allows operation of the telephone from the multifunction steering wheel.
A four-spoke leather-covered steering wheel is an option on the 2.0 FSI Attraction.