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Audi A3 Sportback

Audi has released the first photos and information on their new A3 “Sportback” model which will be sold in the U.S. starting May of 2005. A cross between a hatch and traditional wagon/avant, this will be the first Audi A3 model to be sold in the United States. The initial U.S. version will be powered by a 200hp 2.0l 4-cylinder turbo and will be available in a front-wheel-drive configuration starting around $25,000. Expect quattro versions to follow shortly after with a 250hp 3.2l VR6 to be offered later priced north of $30,000.

The A3 Sportback carries Audi’s new signature “waterfall” grill into the A3 lineup. Also new are more stylized tailamps evoking a bit of an Alfa Romeo look to the rear of the vehicle. With blocky proportions the new A3 sportbrake has an athletic appearance that will suit it well to the typical aftermarket treatments of larger wheels and lowered stance.

Also significant is the all new 16v 2.0l 4-cylinder turbo with FSI (fuel stratisfied injection or direction injection gasoline engine) with 200hp and 208 lb-ft of torque. This new engine will also be used in the U.S. versions of the Jetta V, Golf V, Golf V GTI and B6 Passat. Mated with six-speed manual, six-speed tiptronic or six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) the new 2.0T should be a decent performer.

The new Audi A3 sportback will arrive in dealers here in the U.S. next May. The new Jetta V will be available in March of 2005 and the new Golf and Jetta V will be available in the fall of 2005. The next generation Passat is expected to be introduced at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2005 and available in the U.S. late fall of 2005.

The full Audi A3 Sportback press release follows below.

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Audi of America Press Release -

Audi A3 Sportback

Audi is defining a new segment in the premium compact class. The A3 Sportback is characterised by the sporting elegance of a coupé and the versatility of a five-door vehicle, sophisticated technology and well-defined driving dynamics. With four and six-cylinder engines developing up to 184 kW (250 bhp), front-wheel or quattro permanent four-wheel drive and – as an option – the revolutionary DSG transmission, engine, drive train and chassis live up to the expectations raised by the sporty exterior of this five-door vehicle – driving pleasure in a new guise.

A new, extremely dynamic representative of the FSI engine family, which really brings the special qualities of the new compact Audi to the fore, is experiencing its world premiere in the A3 Sportback: the 2.0T FSI, a four-cylinder unit with turbocharger, delivers 147 kW (200 bhp). Its maximum torque of 280 Nm is available across a wide speed range from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. As a result, the A3 2.0T FSI (with 6-speed manual gearbox) is able to complete the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.1 seconds, and continues on up to a top speed of 234 km/h.

The Audi A3 Sportback is deliberately going its own, new way in the compact class. It offers the emphatically sporty qualities and the athletic styling of the three-door version with which it shares its drive train, dynamic suspension and wheelbase.

At the same time – as well as two rear doors – it offers even more space and variability thanks to its tail end which is a total of 68 millimetres longer than on its three-door counterpart.

370 litres (1,120 litres with the rear seat back folded down) of space are available for transporting all kinds of sports and leisure equipment and anything else the family might need: even two golf bags can be stowed sideways in the luggage compartment. The asymmetrically folding rear seat back, a standard feature, and the optional luggage compartment and storage packages provide plentiful scope for using this space exactly to suit the personal requirements of every driver.

This also applies to the three trim line available: the Attraction model, which is packed with character, the sporty Ambition and exclusive Ambiente versions enable the customer to turn the A3 Sportback into his or her personal dream car. The large-area glass sunroof known as “open sky”, which has been developed especially for the Sportback, gives occupants a clear view of the sky and can be opened wide if required.

The first deliveries for North America are planned for May 2005.

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Design

The A3 Sportback is immediately recognisable at first glance in the rear-view mirror: the dominant feature of its front end is the striking single-frame radiator grille which – after the 12-cylinder A8 and the new A6 – is now the distinctive mark of another vehicle in the latest Audi generation. The marked tapering of the sides and the dynamic shape of the clear-glass headlights give the face of the car that extremely self-confident and forceful character for which Audi is famous.

The silhouette of the A3 Sportback when viewed from the side becomes flatter towards the rear of the car in typical coupé fashion – a feature this model shares with the styling of its three-door counterpart. The gently rearward sloping roof line incorporates the tail end, which is 68 millimetres longer, harmoniously into the powerful overall proportions of the car as it sits low on the road. The optional roof rails also emphasise the coupé-like silhouette of the A3 Sportback effectively.

With their particularly powerful contours, the round wheel arches appear to be resting on the foundations of the sill area, which is separated from the dynamic line. Large wheels of between 16 and 18 inches in size underline the impression of masculine athleticism and make the dynamic potential of the new Audi A3 Sportback clearly visible even when stationary.

The visual centre of gravity of the A3 Sportback is thus to be found at its powerful rear end, creating the impression that the entire car is about to leap forward. With its economical use of lines and graphically divided surfaces, the rear-end styling is as discreet as it is impressive.

As on the three-door model, the visible tailpipes extending out of the single or double-chamber exhaust system – depending on engine version – are an indication of the car’s dynamism. And the rear lights high up at the back of the car accentuate the trapezoidal design of the rear end particularly at night, giving the new Audi A3 Sportback its powerful appearance from behind.

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Interior

The interior design of the Audi A3 Sportback is distinguished by two features: sportiness and elegance. This impression is conveyed by the low seat position, in typical sports car style, the high and wide centre console and the clear, generous subdivision of the dashboard.

The new Audi generation of steering wheels is being introduced in the compact class for the first time with the A3 Sportback. These three and four-spoke steering wheels can be recognised by their trapezoidal central element, the lines of which allude to the design of the single-frame front grille.

The attractive appearance of the interior surfaces and each individual detail is the result of excellent material quality and a perfect finish at the highest level of craftsmanship. This high standard by no means benefits the passengers alone, but is also reflected in the quality appearance of the luggage compartment.

Superior ergonomic design is combined with equally outstanding aesthetic qualities throughout the car’s interior: typical examples are the round air vents with aluminium surrounds, the rotary knobs on the automatic air conditioning and the numerous aluminium trims, for the door and glove compartment handles for instance.

The interior is outstanding not only for its quality, but also for the amount of space it offers. Driver and passengers enjoy outstanding roominess in all areas. Rear passengers also benefit from plenty of knee room and headroom. They too have absolutely no trouble getting into the A3 Sportback, through the wide-opening rear doors.

The luggage compartment has a capacity of 370 litres, 20 litres more than the three-door Audi A3. This can be increased to as much as 1,120 litres by folding down the rear seat back.

Engine and transmission

Offering a wide range of choice but dedicated throughout to sporting performance – this philosophy characterises the range of engines and transmissions offered for the new Audi A3 Sportback at launch. A further quality shared by all engines is their full compliance with the EU4 standard, giving owners of these cars in Germany, for example, a tax benefit of up to €613 (diesel models) and €306 (petrol models).

A new, extremely dynamic representative of the FSI engine family is celebrating its world premiere in the A3 Sportback: the 2.0T FSI, a four-cylinder engine with turbocharger, delivers 147 kW (200 bhp). Its maximum torque of 280 Nm is available across a wide speed range from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. This new engine is also the first production unit worldwide to combine FSI petrol direct injection with a turbocharger. This technology – which is also to be found in the Le Mans-winning Audi R8 – enables a unique synthesis of high performance, free-revving response and pulling power in all speed ranges, yet excellent fuel economy.

The North American market will launch the A3 Sportback with the new 2.0T FSI developing 147 kW (200 bhp), 280 Nm.

Additional engines for Europe include:

3.2 V6 developing 184 kW (250 bhp), 320 Nm

2.0 FSI developing 110 kW (150 bhp), 200 Nm

1.6 FSI developing 85 kW (115 bhp), 155 Nm

1.6 developing 75 kW (102 bhp), 148 Nm

2.0 TDI developing 103 kW (140 bhp), 320 Nm

1.9 TDI developing 77 kW (105 bhp), 250 Nm.

Depending on the chosen engine, a 5 or 6-speed manual gearbox is fitted.

The sporty Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) is a unique alternative. This pioneering form of power transmission – inspired by motor racing technology – permits lightning-fast gear changes with uninterrupted traction thanks to its electro-hydraulically controlled twin clutch, and thus sheer driving pleasure in true sports car style.

The DSG combines the advantages of a conventional 6-speed manual gearbox with the qualities of a modern automatic transmission, thus providing a drive concept superior in every respect. The driver benefits from supreme agility and driving pleasure combined with harmonious and dynamic acceleration without interrupting the flow of power from the engine. This is combined with good economy thanks to low fuel consumption, and convenient operation.

The DSG can be ordered for the most powerful versions of the A3 Sportback: the 3.2, the 2.0T FSI and the 2.0 TDI.

The 6-speed tiptronic transmission is available as an option for the A3 Sportback 2.0 FSI and for the 1.6.

Still with no equivalent in the premium compact class: quattro permanent four-wheel drive. Even the power developed by the highest-performance versions of the A3 Sportback can be converted ideally into forward motion with this system, which serves as the basis for dynamic driving and active safety at the same time.

Dynamic suspension

A highly sophisticated suspension design is equally as important for the excellent driving dynamics of the Audi A3 Sportback: the McPherson front suspension, which has been further refined compared with the first A3 generation, and the innovative four-link independent rear suspension.

The suspension is designed for sporty and agile handling offering a high standard of stability, and producing an excellent cornering performance and a high level of comfort in conjunction with both front-wheel and quattro drive.

Wheels of between 16 and 18 inches in size (the 17-inch wheels are standard on Ambition models) improve performance on the road and also add a sporty visual touch. The power of the engines is reflected by the equally powerful brake system with a large brake disc diameter.

Like the three-door Audi A3, the Sportback is also fitted with electromechanical steering with speed-dependent power assistance, a system praised unanimously by the trade press. This combines optimum feedback from steering movements with a low level of sensitivity to vibration from the road, and also consumes far less energy than a conventional system.

Equipment

As a typical Audi, the A3 Sportback sets a benchmark with its premium standard of equipment. This starts with the choice of equipment line: Attraction, Ambition and Ambiente offer a wide diversity that allows plenty of scope for individual creativity.

Apart from the different wheels and functional differences, these lines also differ in terms of upholstery materials, steering wheels and inlays. Just one example: whilst the inlays in Attraction models come in grained, matt-painted plastic, those in the sporty Ambition versions have a black or blue piano finish. Ambiente models have Vavona wood Bernstein inlays. Walnut or aluminium inlays are available as options for all versions.

Standard items on Attraction models include electric front windows and central locking with radio-operated remote control. The driver’s seat has height adjustment as another standard feature.

It goes without saying that safety features such as the electronic stabilisation program (ESP), the new front seats with active head restraints, front and side airbags for driver and front passenger and the sideguard head airbag system are all a part of the A3 Sportback.

All A3 Sportback models are available in 15 different exterior colours ranging from Arctic White to Brilliant Black, from Toucan Yellow to Deep Green and Liquid Blue, with three colours coming as standard.

Over and above the various features offered by the three model lines, A3 Sportback drivers have the choice of many other options. Indeed, the sheer quality and diversity of these options reflect the declared objective of the A3 Sportback to also offer the high standard of larger and more luxurious cars in the compact segment. The following list is therefore only a selection of the options available:

The sports suspension standard on Ambition models lowers the entire body by 15 millimetres and makes the suspension and damping particularly dynamic and firm.

Various cast aluminium wheels measuring between 6.5×16 and 7.5×18 inches add a sporty touch to the outside of the car – and not only as far as its looks are concerned. And even in win-ter, A3 Sportback driver do not have to forego attractive design, with the choice of two cast aluminium wheels and one steel wheel measuring from 6×16 to 7.5×17 inches.

The optional roof rails – which are located above the door openings on the side panel frame – effectively accentuate the coupé-like silhouette of the A3 Sportback.

Xenon headlights, an immediately visible feature offering improved visibility, can now also be ordered in the compact class: both headlight range and intensity are increased considerably as a result. This equipment features also comprises a headlight cleaning system as well as automatic headlight range control.

A combined light and rain sensor automatically activates the low-beam headlights and, if necessary, the windscreen wipers in bad light and poor road conditions.

The two-part open sky glass sunroof system lets more light and air into the car.

It allows the occupants of the A3 Sportback a generous view of the sky above and optimises light and visibility in the interior. Separate blinds prevent the inside from heating up excessively and protect against the glare of the sun. The front glass segment can also be raised and slid back. The open sky system is also possible on cars fitted with roof rails (open sky will be available from early 2005).

Optional aluminium trims for the doors and centre console add an explicitly sporty touch inside the A3 Sportback.

Side blinds are available to protect rear-seat passengers against the sun. Two side airbags can also be ordered for the rear compartment. The front seats can be electrically adjusted in all directions as an option.

Apart from a power socket in the boot, the optional luggage compartment package comprises a net for fixing small items in a recess in the side luggage compartment lining as well as a multi-purpose net for attaching loads to the rear panel behind the seats or the floor of the boot.

The navigation system plus with DVD drive and acoustic route guidance offers the driver additional convenience and even greater driving safety. The ergonomically optimised architecture of keypad and display follows the same logic as the successful Multi Media Interface configuration in the Audi A8.

Automatic air conditioning with sun sensor offers the driver and front passenger individual temperature adjustment and comes in addition with an air quality sensor which switches automatically to air recirculation as soon as the quality of the outside air drops below a certain level.



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