Audi A3 range loses some backbone
Audi New Zealand has taken the unusual step of revamping its A3 range to make room for a rival model.
That’s a big call, given that company boss Dean Sheed calls the A3 a ‘‘backbone’’ model for the brand. It’s the second-best-selling Audi here, behind Q7 and ahead of the resurgent A4.
Luckily, the competition is an Audi too. Next year, we’ll see the Q2 SUV. As the name suggests, it’s smaller than the current Q3. But contrary to what the name suggests, it’s actually larger than the A3.
Q2 will be launched in the first quarter of 2017 with a 1.4-litre 2WD powertrain - straight from the A3 - with a 2.0-litre quattro version to follow later in the year. Projected pricing is $50k.
Sheed says ‘‘the major assumption is that new buyers will come [for Q2]’’.
It’s a more youth-oriented proposition than the rather conservative A3, and will offer more colour (both literal and metaphorical) and considerable scope for personalisation.
But Sheed also recognises plenty of people will cross-shop between Q2 and A3, given their similarity in size.
That’s been the main impetus for making two A3 1.4 models into one: previously available in $49,500 and $52,900 guises, the 1.4-litre model is now offered only in a single Design specification, still at $49,500.
But it’s gained some specification as well: compared with the previous car, it now carries Xenon lights and daytime running lights, MMI navigation, Pre Sense City autonomous braking, parking radar front and rear with camera, and smartphone projection for both Apple and Android devices.
The Design is powered by a 1.4-litre engine with 110kW/ 250Nm and cylinder deactivation technology: it can shut down two cylinders in gentle running when full power is not required.
That Q2-sized space is even larger with an upwards move for the 2.0-litre A3. Previously $56,900, it now costs $61,500 but has stepped up in specification considerably.
In addition to the extra equipment on the 1.4 Design model, the new 2.0 Sport gets keyless entry/ start, 18-inch alloys, lane-change assist with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist and a flatbottomed steering wheel.
Entry A3 has gained navigation and phone projection technology.