Audi has unveiled the new A3 saloon. The A3 saloon sits below the A4 and will compete with the new Mercedes CLA saloon.
A potent 296bhp Audi S3 version of the new four-door will also be part of the global A3 line-up, seen here officially for the first time ahead of its Shanghai motor show reveal next month. Although the cars are pictured here in America, it will not be shown at the New York motor show.
The A3 saloon, which has the Mercedes CLA as its chief rival, is 4460mm long, 1796mm wide and 1416mm high, with a wheelbase of 2400mm. This makes it 150mm longer, 11mm wider and 9mm lower than the A3 Sportback on which it is based, with the pair sharing the same 2636mm wheelbase.
These dimensions also make it 170mm shorter, 19mm wider and 19mm lower than the Mercedes CLA. The wheelbase of the CLA is 63mm longer than the A3 saloon’s.
"This is a car that will attract young professionals to the brand, people with their first managerial job, perhaps with only young children, but who want to enjoy their success," said an Audi spokesman. China is expected to be the biggest market for the car, with younger, wealthy businessmen increasingly opting to drive rather than be driven, followed by the US. In Europe, sales will concentrate on Russia, Germany and the UK.
Internationally, three engines will be offered from launch: 138bhp 1.4 TFSI and 178bhp 1.8 TFSI petrols, and a 148bhp 2.0 TDI diesel.
The four-wheel drive S3 saloon will be introduced early next year. Its 2.0 TFSI engine helps propel it from 0-100kph in 4.9secs when equipped with the optional six-speed double-clutch S-tronic automatic gearbox. A six-speed manual, with 0-100kph time of 5.3sec, is standard.