Lit­tle en­gine that could

Audi’s A3 set the bench­mark in small cars, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

WHEN Audi launched the A3 in 2004 it was quite open about its am­bi­tion for it to be a small car that peo­ple would as­pire to own.

Audi said up­front it wasn’t out to be­come the vol­ume leader in the seg­ment. Its am­bi­tion for the A3 was to be the bench­mark in the class.

Model watch

THE A3 was the en­try model in the fast-grow­ing Audi range and that put it up against cars such as the BMW 1-Se­ries, Mercedes A-Class, Volvo S40 and even the Alfa 147.

Though it looked less ag­gres­sive than its pre­de­ces­sor and was 55mm longer, 30mm wider and 10mm lower, there was still a fa­mil­iar­ity about it.

The A3’s looks were un­der­whelm­ing, but there was big news un­der the skin with in­no­va­tions in­clud­ing new sus­pen­sion, elec­tro-me­chan­i­cal steer­ing, an in­no­va­tive di­rect-in­jec­tion en­gine and a di­rect-shift gear­box.

The en­gine range was made up of three petrol en­gines and a tur­bod­iesel.

It started with a 1.6-litre sin­gle over­head camshaft four-cylin­der en­gine that pro­duced 75kW at 5600 revs and 148Nm at 3800 revs, and ended with a 3.2-litre V6 that of­fered 184kW at 6300 revs and 320Nm at 2500 to 3000 revs.

But the real in­ter­est was in the 2.0-litre FSi en­gine and the 2.0-litre tur­bod­iesel that fit­ted in be­tween the book­end en­gines. It was a di­rect­in­jec­tion en­gine where the fuel was va­por­ised in the com­bus­tion cham­ber and not in the in­take man­i­fold, as is the case with most petrol en­gines.

Audi claimed sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in re­sponse, econ­omy and ef­fi­ciency for a petrol en­gine, which put out 110kW at 6000 revs and 200Nm at 3500 revs, and promised a 0-100 km/h sprint in 9.1 sec­onds.

The tur­bod­iesel pro­duced 103kW at 4000 revs and 320Nm at 1750-2500 revs.

The 1.6-litre en­gine was avail­able with a five-speed man­ual gear­box or a six-speed tiptronic auto. FSi buy­ers could choose be­tween a six-speed man­ual and six-speed auto, and diesel buy­ers got a DSG se­quen­tial-shift man­ual six-speed.

The DSG works much like an auto box, with­out the losses that come with an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Audi of­fered two mod­els in the A3 range, the en­try-level At­trac­tion and the Am­bi­tion.

The At­trac­tion came with a choice of the 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre FSi en­gines, along with 16-inch al­loy wheels, cloth trim, split-sys­tem air­con­di­tion­ing, eight-speaker CD sound, sta­bil­ity con­trol and trac­tion con­trol. The Am­bi­tion was avail­able with the 2.0-litre FSi en­gine and the tur­bod­iesel.

Perched above them all was the Quat­tro Am­bi­tion with the 3.2-litre V6, all-wheel drive and DSG trans­mis­sion.

On the lot

PAY $13,000-$23,000 for a 1.6-litre At­trac­tion, $ 15,500-$ 18,000 for a 2.0-litre FSi At­trac­tion (2004-2005),

Fuel miser: the smooth-run­ning A3 is well equipped and fru­gal on fuel.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.