The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Prestige -

Ger­many. The 1.0-litre TSFI tur­bocharged petrol en­gine, as used in the smaller A1, pro­duces just 5kW less power than the cur­rent 1.4 but de­liv­ers the same amount of torque. At the same time it uses less fuel and is likely to cost con­sid­er­ably less, oth­er­wise it wouldn’t be un­der con­sid­er­a­tion. The price re­duc­tion is likely to be in the order of $2000.

Even if Audi Aus­tralia signs off on the three-pot, it could be a hard sell in a mar­ket where Aussies love their V8s.

The ri­val BMW 1 Se­ries starts with a three-cylin­der en­gine, though with larger dis­place­ment and higher out­puts.

“I think it might be all about the drive,” says Audi’s Anna Burgdorf. “I think if we re­ally do make it a price leader, which it is built up to be, then there’s def­i­nite po­ten­tial for it — in the A1 (the triple) is 30 per cent of the take up, which is strong.”

Along with the demise of the stan­dard 1.4, the cur­rent 1.8 will make way for a more pow­er­ful 2.0-litre. The 1.4 COD (cylin­der on de­mand de­ac­ti­va­tion) and the hy­brid e-Tron carry over.

Hav­ing notched few sales, both diesels have been dropped, although the 1.6 is avail­able on spe­cial order.

The A3 comes as a hatch (called Sport­back), sedan and cabri­o­let. The hatch is cheap­est and will be the model that gets the 1.0-litre en­gine if it comes.

The sporty S3 has once again fallen foul of Audi’s hot cli­mate re­stric­tions and gets just 3kW more and no ex­tra torque.

For trans­mis­sions, the 1.4 and 140kW 2.0 team with a new “wet” seven-speed twin clutch S tronic au­to­matic, able to han­dle higher out­puts. The e-Tron and S3 re­tain the cur­rent six-speed.

The 1.4 and S3 have a sixspeed man­ual op­tion, while S3 also gets all-wheel drive. What’s the tid­dler go like? Not bad, but we’ll re­serve judg­ment un­til we drive one on Aussie roads. We put the cars through their paces out­side Mu­nich. It poured but we weren’t there to hurl the car around a race­track.

With 85kW of power, com­pared to the 1.4’s 90kW (though the com­mon torque fig­ure is 200Nm), the three­cylin­der is slower off the mark at 9.7 sec­onds to 100km/h.

It lacks the punch of the 140kW 2.0 litre that we also drove yet it’s far from dis­ap­point­ing. You’d be hard pressed to tell the dif­fer­ence, cruis­ing eas­ily at 120km/h with 2500rpm on the dial.

Mov­ing into the un­reg­u­lated sec­tion of the au­to­bahn (where you can go as fast as you like), the car kept up eas­ily, with its top speed of 206km/h.

It’s flex­i­ble and re­spon­sive but the best part is that it sips fuel at a mea­gre 4.7L/100km. Where the 1.0-litre falls short is over­tak­ing. Mov­ing out to pass a slow truck on a se­condary road, we just didn’t have the punch and had to pull back in.

The 2.0-litre, on the same AUDI A3 PRICE $34,650+ (est) WAR­RANTY 3 years/Un­lim­ited km SERVICE IN­TER­VAL 12 months/15,000km SAFETY 5 stars (pre­vi­ous model) EN­GINE 1.0-litre 3-cyl turbo, 88kW/200Nm; 1.4-litre 4-cyl turbo, 110kW/250Nm; 1.4-litre 4-cyl hy­brid, 150kW/ 330Nm; 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo, 140kW/320Nm and 213kW/380Nm TRANS­MIS­SION 6-speed man/6-speed auto/7-speed auto; FWD/AWD THIRST 1.6L-6.4/L/100km DI­MEN­SIONS 4313mm-4458mm (L), 1785mm-1796mm (W), 1409mm-1426mm (H), 2595mm-2637mm (WB) WEIGHT 1200kg-1395kg SPARE Space-saver (in­fla­tion kit in e-Tron) stretch of road, had no prob­lems. It’s more im­pres­sive in ev­ery re­spect, but costs con­sid­er­ably more.

Apart from this the three­cylin­der feels and sounds as if it is work­ing hard most of the time, a trait among triples.

Steer­ing is light and ac­cu­rate, thanks to the lighter en­gine. The car has a strong, cen­tred feel when pointed straight ahead, elim­i­nat­ing any ten­dency to wan­der.

It was a fairly flat route and we were left won­der­ing how the car would per­form in the hilly coun­try­side of Aus­tralia.

Pric­ing is yet to be re­vealed but Audi hopes to keep the fig­ures as close as pos­si­ble to the cur­rent line-up, rang­ing from $36,500 up to $78,900 for the fire-breath­ing RS3.

The new A3 will be launched in Aus­tralia to­wards the end of the year.

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