The new A3 Saloon range becomes available for UK ordering this summer, closely followed by the 300PS, quattro all-wheel-driven S3 Saloon. The first ever booted A3 begins the Vorsprung durch Technik brand’s foray into the world’s largest market segment – the compact saloon class. It slickly integrates more seats-up load space than the A3 Sportback with similarly ample passenger accommodation and performance, the latter helped by ‘Audi ultra’ lightweight construction processes that trim weight to as little as 1,205kg.

The design of the new A3 Saloon is a cross between the classic three-box concept and the coupé philosophy. Its overhangs are short, and its “tornado line” design element forms a distinct light-refracting edge that runs along the entire side. Above the side sills, the dynamic line rises more sharply than in the other two A3 models. The side surfaces have more pronounced curves, and the wheel arches are also slightly more flared.

Vital statistics include a length of 4,460 millimetres, a 150 millimetre increase on the A3 Sportback, and a width of 1,796 millimetres, which is 11 millimetres wider. At 1,416 millimetres in height the A3 Saloon is also nine millimetres lower. The wheelbase equals the A3 Sportback at 2,636 millimetres, providing plenty of passenger room between the axles. The boot’s carrying capacity amounts to 425 litres with the seats up – 45 litres more than the A3 Sportback. This capacity can be increased by folding down the split rear seat backs. The boot lid automatically swings upward when unlocked.

The low 100kg weight of the 1.4-litre TFSI 140PS engine itself also facilitates keen performance. As well as low weight, this 140PS version of the 1.4 TFSI is also notable for its efficiency-focused Cylinder on Demand technology. At low engine load, the system deactivates two cylinders to minimise mechanical effort and cut fuel consumption. As a result, combined economy tops out at a TDI-rivalling 60.1mpg, while CO2 is pared back to 109 grams per km. Helped by its healthy 250Nm torque peak, the A3 1.4 TFSI Saloon takes just 8.4 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 62mph, and can reach 132mph where conditions allow.

The 1.8-litre TFSI which is next in line produces 180PS and 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft) of torque.It employs new technologies, including dual injection into the combustion chambers and the induction manifold, to deliver a broad spread of strong performance, but its headline figures are a 7.3-second 0-62mph sprint time and a 144mph top speed. Combined fuel economy is 49.6mpg, equivalent to 135 grams of CO2 per km.

The diesel contingent is initially represented by the latest 2.0-litre TDI producing 150PS and 320 Nm (236.02 lb-ft) of torque. It powers the A3 Saloon from 0 to 62mph in 8.4 seconds, takes it to a top speed of 132mph and is capable of returning up to 67.3mpg. This equates to CO2 output of 108 grams per km.

Source: Audi