Audi A3 range loses some back­bone

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - MO­TOR­ING

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.

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