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Faster, flashier Audi A3 flies into SA

Latest launches

By: IOL Motoring Staff

Audi's facelifted A3 is being launched in South Africa this week, sporting a redesigned face and a brand new range of engines, while fans of Audi's Virtual Cockpit will be pleased to know that this option is now available in the A3.

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All change under the bonnet

The bottom end of the range embraces the downsizing trend with the previous 1.2-litre four-cylinder TFSI turbopetrol making way for a new 1-litre, three-cylinder TFSI unit. The new motor produces 85kW and 200Nm, up 8kW and 25Nm on the 1.2 and according to Audi the new derivative will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 9.7 seconds.

Next up is a more powerful 1.4-litre TFSI featuring fuel-saving cylinder-on-demand technology and pushing 110kW and 250Nm (up 18kW and 50Nm on the previous 1.4). There's a bit of upsizing going on further up in the range, where the 132kW/250Nm 1.8 TFSI makes way for Audi's new 140kW/320Nm 2-litre unit, first seen in the new-generation A4. This one will take you to 100 in a claimed 6.7 seconds, versus 8.1s in the case of the 1.4.

But the most potent of all is the new S3, good for a 4.5s sprint thanks to its more powerful 2-litre TFSI that produces 228kW and 400Nm, up 22kW and 20Nm. As before it is fitted with a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch gearbox and Quattro all-wheel drive.

The range continues to cater for diesel-heads too, with a 105kW/340Nm 2.0 TDI, which loses 5kW to its predecessor, but gains 20Nm. Audi's seven-speed S-Tronic, optional in the 1.0, 1.4 and 2.0 petrol models, is standard on the diesel.

Subtle facelift

The external design changes to the A3 are somewhat less radical than those beneath the bonnet, but the new frontal design is rather distinct with its jagged-edged headlights and new grille design. Bi-xenon headlights are part of the deal, but buyers can opt for LED or Matrix LED lights, both featuring Audi's so-called dynamic turn signals. Design changes at the back end are limited to new taillights and a reshaped diffuser.

Changes to the A3's gorgeous interior are limited, although the trendy Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, offering two different view themes, joins the range as an option. Furthermore, buyers can now choose between two versions of the optional MMI Navigation system, with Audi offering what it calls a more 'basic' version and a more advanced variant. Also available among the 'Audi Connect' features are Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Google Street View.

Standard features

A3 range: 16-inch alloy wheels (17" wheels on Cabrio), Bi-xenon headlights, MMI radio plus with 18cm screen and Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, auto lights and windscreen wipers and a leather-covered sports steering wheel.

S3 range: 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, sports suspension, partial leather seat trim (sports seat design up front), flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel, MMI radio plus and automatic climate control.

As before, the A3 and S3 line-up is available in three-door and five-door hatchback, four-door sedan and cabriolet body styles.

PRICES

A3 3-door Hatch:

1.0 TFSI manual - R391 000

1.0 TFSI S-Tronic - R 409 500

1.4 TFSI manual - R412 000

1.4 TFSI S-Tronic - R430 500

2.0 TDI S-Tronic - R481 500

2.0 TFSI manual - R429 500

2.0 TFSI S-Tronic - R448 000

S3 Quattro S-Tronic - R638 500

A3 Sportback:

1.0 TFSI manual - R398 500

1.0 TFSI S-Tronic - R417 000

1.4 TFSI manual - R419 500

1.4 TFSI S-Tronic - R438 000

2.0 TDI S-Tronic - R489 000

2.0 TFSI manual - R437 000

2.0 TFSI S-Tronic - R455 500

S3 Quattro S-Tronic - R646 000

A3 Sedan:

1.0T FSI manual - R 408 500

1.0 TFSI S-Tronic - R427 000

1.4 TFSI manual - R429 500

1.4 TFSI S-Tronic - R448 000

2.0 TDI S-Tronic - R499 000

2.0 TFSI manual - R447 000

2.0 TFSI S-Tronic - R465 500

S3 quattro S-Tronic - R656 000

A3 Cabriolet:

2.0T FSI S-Tronic - R566 500

S3 quattro S-Tronic - R758 000

Prices include a five-year / 100 000km 'Freeway Plan'.

ALTERNATIVES

Lower-range

Audi A3 Sportback 1.0 TFSI - 85kW/200Nm - R398 500

BMW 118i 5-door hatch - 100kW/220Nm - R399 742

VW Golf 1.4 TSI Comfortline - 92kW/200Nm - R337 100

Middle-range

Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI - 110kW/250Nm - R419 500

Mercedes-Benz A200 - 115kW/250Nm - R417 996

Volvo V40 T3 Kinetic - 112kW/250Nm - R345 298 

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