Audi South Africa's latest offering, the A3 sedan, will either entice first-time buyers into a premium car or keep existing customers looking to step out of their hatchback and into the stable.The Audi A3 sedan will be in SA showrooms in January 2014.The German automaker has been so busy that it will reach its 2015 global objective of 1.5-million cars on the road by the end of 2013. At the end of October 2013 there were just over 1.3-million.Audi A3 sedan image gallerySouth Africa is the 12th-biggest market in the global Audi business with the company selling more than 1 500 vehicles a month. Local Audi boss Ryan Searle says the A3 sedan will play a very important part in this numbers game.NEW SIBLINGThe A3 sedan is the third addition to the A3 family since the hatchback was launched in November 2012. There were 1200 on the road in December 2013; the Sportback (launched in April 2013) has sold 1900. The S3 was launched in October 2013; the S3 Sportback will arrive in January 2014; the S3 sedan and A3 cabriolet mid-2014.Searle said at the launch in Johannesburg: “This isn’t just an A3 with a boot, it’s a new car. It doesn’t share any exterior body parts with the Sportback either. Its main focus is to bridge the small gap between the A3 Sportback and the A4. “We don’t want to lose customers in that gap - we want to be able to offer a product to help them move up in their life cycle (of cars). The car is much smaller than the A4 in every aspect so remains in the compact A-segment.”In other words, it’s the entry car into a premium range. Only the shell of the car has changed; the interior is identical to that of the hatchback.Audi says “its design is a cross between the classic three-box concept and the coupe philosophy”. The sedan has a 2.64m wheelbase, is 1.8m wide, 1.42m high (9mm lower than the Sportback) and 4.46m long.BROADER TAIL LIGHTSIts lines are much sharper than those of other A3 models, from the lines running down the bonnet and tapering into the headlights to the shoulder lines which are also more defined. The wheel arches are slightly more flared.A spoiler is part of the boot lid and the tail lights broaden more with a lower cut. There are six models in the line-up and three engines - two petrol engines in the form of a 1.4T FSI and 1.8T FSI and one diesel, a two-litre TDI. Each is specced SE and comes with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed auto transmission (S tronic).The 1.4T FSI engine makes 92kW/200Nm (90kW for the S tronic). It’s a gutsy little car but you can feel the huge difference in power between the entry model and the more powerful 1.8 which kicks out 132kW/250Nm. That difference is particularly evident when overtaking.The diesel is noisy after getting out of a T FSI but quiets down when driving. It pushes out 110kW/350Nm. Since the car is longer than the hatch there's more rear legroom. Boot volume is 425 litres - growing to 880 with the rear seats folded. Standard goodies include a multimedia infotainment system plus navigation with a 64GB SSD. There’s also a DVD drive and voice control. A slide-out colour screen in the centre console is included along with LED interior lighting, a front centre armrest, 17” alloy rims, sport seats, fog lights, leather covered multi-function sports steering-wheel (three-spoked, paddles for S tronic models) and dual aircon to name a few.It was only a matter of time for Audi to bring an A-segment offering to the game, BMW has had the 1 series and Mercedes-Benz has the CLA - not fair comparisions, but the closest. Pricey? Yes, but as Audi says, the A3 sedan is a stepping stone for those customers who want to buy into a premium product. PRICESAudi A3 Sedan 1.4T FSI SE - R 323 500Audi A3 Sedan 1.4T FSI SE S tronic - R 340 500Audi A3 Sedan 1.8T FSI SE - R 341 500Audi A3 Sedan 1.8T FSI SE S tronic - R 358 500Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TDI SE - R 355 500Audi A3 Sedan 2.0TDI SE S tronic - R 372 500All units will be delivered with a standard five-year or 100 000km Audi Freeway Plan (maintenance included) and a one-year warranty.