New Audi A3 blazes trail to SA

2012-11-16 12:10

The latest-generation Audi A3 has arrived in South Africa, boasting an all-new VW Group platform, top technological features and a range of new engines.

In what is described as a “new and exciting era” for the German automaker, the luxury hatchback is underpinned by an ultra lightweight principle.

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High-tech steels reduce the A3’s overall weight by 18kg and the engine bonnet and fenders, made of aluminium, shave a further 9kg off the overall mass. Along with additional chassis and interior components, these contribute to a mass that is no more than 1175kg, Audi said.

Compared to the previous version, the new car’s kerb weight is lower by up to 80kg.


The A3 also rides on an all-new Volkswagen Group platform that will underpin a number of A3 models, including sedan and Sportback bodystyles in 2013, and the Volkswagen Golf 7 that arrives in South Africa in February 2013.

The A3’s wheelbase has grown to 260cm and it measures 424cm long, 178cm wide and 142cm tall although its body retains athleticism with its low bonnet, bold shoulder line and raked C-pillars. Luggage space has grown to 365 litres.

As usual, Audi’s large, single-frame grille dominates the car’s front although this focus can be shifted with dazzling optional xenon plus headlights and LED daytime running lights. Tail lights are fitted with light emitting diodes as standard.

The cabin incorporates a number of new features including an instrument panel Audi said “seems to float … (with) intuitively easy ergonomics”.

Circular airvents are inspired by jets and the seats and steering wheels are also made to a new design. 

Optional features include Audi’s top-of-the-range MMI navigation plus system with a 7” monitor and touch capability linked the system’s regular push-button control wheel.

Three trim levels are offered – S, SE and quattro – and the level of standard equipment, according to Audi SA, is much improved over the previous models.

The S line includes 16”, 10-spoke aluminium alloy wheels, an LED interior lighting package, driver information system, light and rain sensors, front centre armrest, Bluetooth and MMI.

The SE trim adds 17” five-spoke aluminium alloy wheels, a sports suspension, sports seats, Audi’s Drive Select system, aluminium exterior package, an active speaker system and colour driver display.

The quattro trim line adds leather and alcantara seat finishes, a luggage compartment package, an updated MMI system and aluminium interior finishes.


The A3’s engine line-up has been overhauled too, and introduces the number of new powerplants to the range.

All engines subscribe to Audi’s downsizing principle and feature direct injection, turbocharging and start-stop systems. 

Range-topping petrol and  turbodiesel engines are also equipped with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system that distributes power between the front and rear axles as required.

At launch, the new A3 is available with 90kW 1.4T FSI and 132kW 1.8T FSI petrol engines and a 77kW 1.6TDI turbodiesel.

The line-up will be extended to include a 77kW 1.2T FSI and a 135kW 2.0TDI (with quattro) over the coming months.

For now, the 1.4T FSI manual and S tronics return an average 5.2 litres/100km and CO2 emissions between 113 and 120g/km.

The 1.6 TDI has an emissions figure of 102g/km and, as the 1.4, also comes in beneath South Africa’s 120g/km CO2 emissions tax threshold. Its fuel consumption is a claimed 4.4 litres/100km.

The 1.8T FSI engine replaces the previous-generation 118kW 2.0T FSI engine and is available with manual and S tronic transmissions, and front- and quattro all-wheel drive. Combined fuel consumption on this engine ranges from 5.6 to 6.6 litres/100 km, with CO2 emissions figures of 135g/km (manual), 130g/km (S tronic) and 152g/km (quattro S tronic).

PRICES (including emissions tax, where applicable, and standard five-year or 100 000km maintenance plan):

1.2T FSI manual S - R267 000 (available from February, 2013)
1.4T FSI manual S - R274 500
1.4T FSI S tronic S - R291 500
1.6 TDI S tronic S - R302 500
1.8T FSI manual SE - R305 000
1.8T FSI S tronic SE - R322 000
1.8T FSI quattro S tronic - R351 500

  • trevorlbennett - 2012-11-16 14:56

    A 1.2L for R276k?

      trevorlbennett - 2012-11-16 15:31

      I must commend VW though on the lightweight MQB platform.

      greg.quinn.353 - 2012-11-17 16:41

      Agree its a rip off. You can get the new Volvo V40 1.6L Turbo Petrol or Diesel for 281k. I had an A3 previously but now have a Volvo and I'm sorry the Volvo's are overall more fully featured, higher quality vehicles, and oh that ride.. that smooth ride.. and Volvo's seats in their new cars are also legendary..

      thando.gqabaza - 2012-11-19 08:02

      Normal VW engines have proven to be unreliable ( injector failure seems to be as common as turbo failure now ) , so what's gonna happen to these highly stressed 1.2 litre engines ? Also , are they any stylists still working at Audi after Schreyer went to Kia ? They could use some new designs

      brak.jan - 2012-11-19 09:55

      I agree. All the prices sound a bit too high to me, especially the 1.2. If the 1.2 was R245-R250, then it might have worked. The 1.2 won’t be a fireball, but I’m happy that the VW group dropped the old 8 valve inline 4’s. The 1.2 TSI develops 175nm of torque from 1500rpm to 4100rpm, so it will do just fine in smaller cars, while returning great fuel consumption.

  • de.stig.9 - 2012-11-16 15:02

    Let’s take the A1, stretch it, replace the grille and lights with facelifted A4 and call it A3. The less said about the interior the better, that plain dash with 3 switches doesn’t cut it for me.

  • cypro.mailula - 2012-11-16 16:12

    Correcting Wheels24: "The 1.8T FSI engine replaces the previous-generation 118kW 2.0T FSI engine"........the 118kw engine was a 1.8T, the 2.0T in the A3 had 147kw.

  • andre.nortje.37 - 2012-11-16 17:16

    With the s-line sports kit on you will pay about 400k! Just a little too much for a 1.8T even if it does produce over 130 kW

      dane.bezuidenhout - 2012-11-16 19:11

      Wrong, check the pricing on their site. For R365k you can get SE 1.8T S Tronic with S Line, B&O, Xenon/LED, electric lumbar, towbar. You don't need much else.

      andre.nortje.37 - 2012-11-19 12:20

      I test drove one a week ago, and 400k was price quoted to me, sorry bro!

      andre.nortje.37 - 2012-11-19 12:21

      Awesome to drive though!

      andre.nortje.37 - 2012-11-19 12:23

      I will probably go for the new GTI anyway! It will hopefully come in under 400k with the DSG and it is said to have 166kW 2.0T

  • freddie.jones.58367 - 2012-11-16 17:51

    This will only sell to the taxpayer subsidised company car market. No one will pay those prices from their own, after tax, income. Just compare it to the Japanese/Korean competition.

  • vince.hobs - 2012-11-16 19:42

    No thanks,am waiting for the new merc A class.N Audi is an overpriced vw anyway.260 k for a 1.2 engine!.

      xolisa.boqwana - 2012-11-18 15:01

      Mercedes is overpriced as well. Still shocked at people paying over R400k for a C180.

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-11-20 15:09

      Yeah, and you drive one and can't help but think, 400k, and I got what feels like the Hyundai Atos's performance? So you start to look towards at least the 350, and thats where the price starts to get absolutely mental.

  • sizwev - 2012-11-16 22:42

    These will sell well regardless... Great looking car(after throwing in optional kit off course)

  • adriaan.olivier.589 - 2012-11-17 08:16

    What a pity that I don't like the look of the new one, reminds me too much of that horrible looking A1 ugh. And what's up with those "shoulder pads" on the front seats and those uncomfortable looking rear seats. No thanks, I can't believe that I'm saying this (love Audi's) but Merc A-class for me.

  • bongmaz - 2012-11-17 11:05

    ok on the outside ,interior is unacceptable.

  • Jason - 2012-11-17 16:18

    Is this a joke? Externally, the A3 looks almost exactly like the A1 and the Q3 is as close as dammit to the Q5. Audi also seems to be losing the plot with these dinky-toy engines. 1.2 with 77kw on a car that costs over R250K? Where is the 2.0Tdi? And what market is Audi targetting with the A3? The ubiquitous "mom's taxi" or the "spoilt-student run-around"? Because let's be honest, you won't see many of these as family cars or long-distance travellers. Makes me sick to know that my favourite brand of vehicle has decided to join the rat race.

  • trevor.bush.9655 - 2012-11-17 18:33

    So many people are missing the plot here and still have this Benoni metallity of bigger engine is LEKKER...get with the times, it's POWER TO WEIGHT...with a 1.2 you get VERY low fuel consumption and these cars are made for GLOBAL consumption, not just you "special" South Africans. I agree, the choice is HUGE now days so instead of knocking the A3, go see what works best for you and buy it.

      de.stig.9 - 2012-11-17 21:05

      Dude u missing the point, paying R267 000 for 77kw power and still get smoked by 2009 Polo TDI

      Jason - 2012-11-18 09:05

      Yeah. You just keep telling yourself that while struggling up a hill at 5000rpm in 2nd gear and being overtaken by a granny in a Renault.

  • siphok1 - 2012-11-18 06:43

    regardless of what people might think about it, I love it. it is sophisticated and high quality. I love the looks. I think it will suit me well. Audi has outdone itself in this regard. the 1.8t. SE s- tronic sounds appetizing to me. you might say BMW 1 series is better but it is awkward looking for me and doesn't appeal to me. Audi has my vote and pockets. that's my opinion and yours doesn't matter to me.

  • jackey.moss - 2012-11-19 08:35

    This is all nonsense, I mean cant Audi make "slightly" bigger engines more efficient ??? 2l, 1.6l ??? Sorry to say this but me think they lost the plot.I mean to what model will a owner of the previous gen upgrade to if he had a 3.2l A3..coz the maximum for now is 135Kw and its a diesel.The S3 and RS3 will most probably out of his price range...

      trevorlbennett - 2012-11-19 12:51

      Its not up to them. They have to reuse whatever engines VW has on offer for their small engines application.

  • Nicholas.van.Renen - 2012-11-19 23:13

    It will be interesting to see how much the 2.0t will be when it comes out? This new platform is supposed to make everything cheaper.. That would be dreaming of course..

  • Jason Naidoo - 2013-03-31 18:09

    All you need to do is test drive a RCZ. Style, Sexiness, Value for money

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