Since the start of 2013, American Audi enthusiasts have been receiving an array of new vehicles. A 354-horsepower Audi SQ5 and the Audi RS7 Sportback delivering a mammoth 560 horsepower have stood out on the 2013 auto show circuit. Arrival of the Audi Q3 in North America is imminent as is a refreshed version of the A3 Sportback. Though the Audi A3 Sportback serves comfortably as a premium, athletic urban vehicle since 2006, the United States luxury car marketplace changed a lot over this time. Compact luxury cars, once existed as a niche segment, is now a major part a premium brand’s line-up. Of late, vehicles such as the Cadillac ATS, Acura ILX and the Mercedes-Benz CLA elevated the refinement bar in the compact premium vehicle category. Audi has chosen the 2014 model year is the ideal time to bring the A3 sedan to North America.
Headlining Audi’s presentation at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, the Audi A3 Sedan and the S3 Sedan aims to heighten the expectations that premium vehicle drivers can expect from smaller vehicles. Assembled in a four-door notchback body style, the Audi A3 Sedan rests within a 175.5-inch bumper-to-bumper length. The 2015 Audi A3 sedan is 6.5 inches longer than the outgoing Audi A3 Sportback. Despite the sizeable lengthening, the 2015 A3 sedan is still well-placed as a compact car. In fact, the new A3 sedan stands closer to the size of many subcompact cars including the Chevrolet Sonic and Nissan Versa.
Styling of the new Audi A3 Sedan sports a higher sophistication than it predeceasing vehicle. Confirming with the image of the Audi A4 and A6 four-door models, the 2015 A3 sedan exhibit’s a mature, sporty exterior appearance. A picture perfect depiction of luxury and performance in an entry-level vehicle, Audi suggests their new 2015 S3 sedan channels the attitude of the original Audi A4. Audi’s next-generation styling wears the well-defined, trademark Singleframe grille and a pair of HID headlamps casting an animal-like stare. Full-LED headlights will be optional equipment for the first time on a compact luxury car. The Audi A3 sedan’s chiselled side and rear-end detail possession a sharp flow projecting sport sedan finesse. Flooding the interior with ambient light, the 2015 Audi A3 sedan comes with a standard panoramic glass sunroof.
Inside a leather-upholstered interior, the Audi A3 sedan oozes with high quality charm. Plastics, leather and aluminum trim accents of the 2015 A3 sedan’s cabin richly corresponds with Audi’s personality for merging racing and luxury. When natural light from the panoramic sunroof is limited, optional LED interior lighting package brightens the Audi A3 sedan’s interior with a dazzling glow.
In addition to the instant sensation of luxury, occupants of the 2015 Audi A3 sedan will find technology bringing the riding experience to a zenith. Graphic processing technology from reputable company NVIDIA provides the structure to handle powerful three-dimensional images. Operating from a seven-inch, center-mounted touchscreen, Audi’s MMI technology supplies an immersive method for entertainment and convenience features. Audi connect is also available on the new 2015 Audi A3 sedan offering several improvements. The Audi connect technology adds 4G/LTE data transfer abilities and a Picture Navigation service integrated with Google navigational systems. One of the standout features included on the 2015 A3 sedan’s equipment list is Audi phone box. An interesting new technology that works with a connected mobile phone, Audi phone box can extend broadcasting coverage through a specialized antenna. There is also a new app integration program that will allow hands-free access to smartphone apps. A 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen Sound System is also available for 705 watts of audio performance.
Power for the 2015 Audi A3 sedan will comprises of gasoline and diesel powerplants. A 170-horsepower 1.8 TFSI, two version of a 2.0 TSFI and a 2.0 TDI Clean Diesel engine will be available on new compact sedan. A six-speed S Tronic gearbox will be standard with all 2015 A3 sedan powerplant options. Front-wheel drive or Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive can be used to deliver engine power to the ground.
Beyond the performance of the Audi A3 sedan, the S3 sedan explores top echelons in compact motoring. The 2015 Audi S5 sedan combines quattro all-wheel drive with a high output version of the 2.0 TFSI engine. Though horsepower figures for the North American version of the 2015 Audi S3 sedan is unconfirmed, the European models defines performance output at 300 horsepower. The 2015 Audi S3 sedan will also include additional enhancements such as a lowered suspension, 18-inch wheels and Audi drive select vehicle dynamics system.
The 2015 A3 sedan is also making big news for alternative powertrains in Audi products. The e-tron name will be worn on a plug-in hybrid version of the 2015 Audi A3 sedan. A 1.8 liter TFSI engine is joined to a 75-kilowatt electric motor on the Audi A3 sedan e-tron. This will mark the very first time the e-tron badge will be worn on an Audi production car.
With increased competition in the entry-level luxury car market in North America, Audi’s 2015 A3 sedan may be a well-timed launch.
Photo and information source: Audi AG
Confirmed by trade publication Automotive News, Audi is currently exploring prospects of producing at least new one vehicle stateside. In the article posted on July 11th, Audi Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler stated, “It is totally clear that we need new production capacity in the U.S.,” claiming it is a only a matter of time. These words followed Stadler’s 2010 projection for Audi to sell as many as 1.5 million vehicles worldwide by the 2015 calendar year. Parent brand Volkswagen could lure Audi to their new Chattanooga, Tennessee manufacturing facility. The Chattanooga complex has currently started production of the new Volkswagen Passat.
At that time, the Audi CEO stated production inside of the United States of America was not necessary to meet their sales target. Admitting there is a strong chance for a new assembly plant in North America; Audi has since indicated the United States may not be the exact location for future production. Audi could be more inclined to assembling their vehicles in Mexico favouring lower labour and operation costs. It was also reported by the Toronto Star that the Canadian province of Ontario plans to mount a bid for a potential manufacturing facility.
More recently published rumours mention the Audi Q5 is a likely candidate for North American production. Through the 2009 and 2010 model year, the Q5 compact crossover vehicle has been the Audi range’s 2nd highest selling product in the United States market behind the A4. Audi has previously dismissed any notion of producing vehicles specific to the United States as not being in the company’s interests.
Any decision made about potential United States production is expected ahead of 2015. Audi already assembles cars in Hungary and India assembly plants. Between 1987 and 1998, Audi had also previously constructed cars in Japan aligned with Hino Motors Limited.
Information source: Audi AG, Automotive News, Toronto Star
Photo source: Chris Nagy