First Drive: 2014 Audi A3 Sedan By Henny Hemmes


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2014 Audi A3 Limousine

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel


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BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 26, 2013. With the Sedan, the Audi A3 gets its third model. After the Hatchback and the Sportback, the Sedan will hit the European markets after the summer. Even though in the old world, sedans are not by far as popular as station wagons – oh excuse me: estates – or hatch backs, Audi could not lag behind Mercedes-Benz, that earlier this year introduced the CLA. The segment of the compact sedan is the largest world wide and expected to grow even further.


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With the A3 Audi is number one in the segment, but expects that each second A3 will be a Limousine, as it is called in several markets. Limo sounds better than sedan and does not raise associations with the old fashioned body style of a decade ago. Since the introduction of the first A3 in 1996, some 3.5 million units have been sold, representing 20 percent of the total sales of the brand.


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Even though there will be quite some European buyers who will love the dynamic looks of the four-door A3, the potential clientele is living in North America and Asia. However, they will have to wait until the first quarter of next year, when the Audi A3 Sedan will arrive as a 2015 model.

With the A3 Limousine, as it is called in my home country, Audi sticks to the design philosophy that has been used for the A4, A6 and A8 sedans. This is not a surprise, given the fact that buyers who are ‘down sizing’ probably do not want to be recognized as obviously doing that. If the A3 and A4 are not parked next to each other, it will not be easy to notice that the A3 is 9.3 inches shorter than the A4.


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The A3 Sedan shares the wheel base of the Sportback, at 175.5 inches, it is 5.9 inches longer, while it is 3.5 inches lower and just over 2 inches wider.

Audi uses several materials, including an aluminum hood and front axle components, and occupant cell with a large proportion of high-end steel, resulting in a weight of just 2,755 lbs for the 1.4 TFSI model.

The sedan will get the new 1.8-liter TFSI turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 180 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Since Audi sold many diesel engines in the A3 in North America in the past few years, the new Sedan will be available there with the latest Volkswagen Group’s 2.0-liter TDI diesel with 150 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. Europe and other markets will furthermore get the 1.4 TFSI with 140 hp and the 1.6 TDI with 105 hp. The A3 Limo will be offered with either a six-speed manual or S Tronic DCT.


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The first test drives through the hilly country around Hungary’s capital proved that the Sedan is just like the Hatchback: sturdy but not uncomfortable. Rough parts of the roads are well damped without movement of the body and in corners the A3 Limo feels safe and sound. I drove a test car that was equipped with a sport suspension, an option that not every customer will choose. And to be honest, I wonder what the use is, as the A3 basically offers excellent handling. Steering, shifting and braking goes effortless and a sporty style is not punished by a stubborn character, on the contrary: the sedan impresses with stability both in corners and in the straight line.

The 1.4 TFSI engine offers enough power to quickly maneuver through the traffic and to safely overtake other vehicles on two lane roads. But we were only with two in the car and no luggage. The torque of the 1.6 TDI that I also drove makes this a livelier model and more to my own taste. But people who will not hit the freeways much and drive mostly in rural areas will do well with the ‘base’ engine.


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The really beautifully executed cabin offers a roomy feel and two passengers in the back have sufficient space for their legs, provided they are not exceeding 6 feet and the ones in the front do not move their seats completely backwards.
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The middle seat should be considered for emergencies or to take a young child. The luggage space of 15 cu.ft is 10 percent larger than that of the Sportback and can be increased by folding the rear seats.


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The Sedan offers a generous standard list of equipment, while any comfort and sports options are available, as well as advanced driver assistance and infotainment systems and Audi Connect with LTE technology.

The A3 Sedan is the first Audi that will be completely built in the Audi plant in Györ in Hungary. Therefore, it is not a surprise the test drives with the new model were organized around Budapest. In 1993, the plant started with the production of engines and has become the largest engine factory in the world. Five years later, Györ started assembly of the Audi TT, later followed by the A3 Convertible and RS3 Sportback.

The expansion of the factory to accommodate production of the A3 Sedan started two years ago. Early June,VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, Audi Chief Rupert Stadler and Hungarian Prime Minster Viktor Orban opened the more than 2 million square feet facility. The plant already employed 9,000 people, but the extension adds some 2,100 new jobs and has a capacity of 100 thousand units.

The A3 Limousine will also be built in Mexico as well as in the Chinese city of Foshan, where Audi will open a new plant with a capacity for 100 thousand cars before the end of the year.

Two more models of the A3 are expected this year: the RS3 and the A3 Convertible.

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