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Geneva Motor Show 2012: Audi A3

Goes head to head with the new Mercedes A-Class...

The all-new Audi A3 has finally been unveiled after weeks of leaked images at the Geneva Motor Show.

It is the first vehicle to use the new MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix) platform that will be used in a number of future Audi A3 variants as well as the next generation Volkswagen Golf and other VW Group models. The chassis of the new platform has been tuned to give what is described as “a sporty and agile driving style.”

The three door version is the first to make an appearance, which is an impressive 80kg lighter than its predecessor. The exterior design is dominated by Audi's signature single-frame radiator grille and has headlights that use both LED and xenon plus technology. Dimensions are virtually identical to the predecessor, as it the styling. From a distance most of the buying public would be hard pushed to tell the difference between this new model and the old one, though if you look closer it does have a more modern and fresher look to it. The swage line running down the wings and side is more defined and the nose is lower with more attitude. The S-Line pack gives added aggression and brings bigger wheels.

There will be just three engines available when the new A3 is launched. The only diesel option will be a 2.0 litre TDI unit that generates 146 bhp and 236 lb/ft of torque. The petrol options begin with a 1.4 litre TFSI engine producing 120 bhp and 147 lb/ft of torque. The top of the range engine at launch will be the 1.8 litre TFSI unit that has 175 bhp and 184 lb/ft of torque. This engine gets the seven-speed S tronic transmission as standard.

A little later in the year, Audi will launch the five door version along with a fourth frugal diesel option to the line-up. This 1.6-litre TDI engine has an enticing fuel economy figure of 74.3 mpg and produces just 99g/km of CO2 emissions. More performance oriented engines are expected later in the year including a 175 bhp 2.0 litre TDi and 210 bhp 2.0 TFSI petrol unit. 2013 should see the introduction of a 250 bhp S3 model.

Sales for the new Audi A3 will begin in the spring with prices starting at £19,000.

Images and video courtesy of Audi

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more