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Audi debuts A3 Sedan Concept in Geneva

Audi debuts A3 Sedan Concept in Geneva

Among the many new cars Audi unveiled at the Geneva show, the folks in Ingolstadt may have saved the best for last. It’s not a bonkers, matte finish, lambo-door showstopper but the stylish and modern Audi A3 Sedan concept fires a potentially lethal shot across the bow of BMW’s 1 Series.

Examine the numbers: 408 horsepower from a 2.5-liter turbo 5 cylinder mated to a 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox, 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) in 4.1 seconds, 500 Nm (369 lb/ft) of torque delivered on a curve as flat as Texas. Top speed is limited to 250 kph (155 mph). The A3 Sedan Concept weighs just under 3400 lbs (1545 kg), is slightly longer (15 cm), wider (7 cm) a tad lower (3 cm) than the current A3 5-door hatch. Fuel economy is in the 26-mpg (9.1-liters per 100 km) range. Power is, of course, routed to all four wheels via the Quattro system. The A3 Sedan Concept can outrun the competition and it’s big brother the S4, the BMW M3 and even a Porsche Carrera S (997S) to 100 kph. 

Outside, the A3 Sedan Concept translates Audi’s “sporty elegance” design language to the new notchback.  It’s arguably the most handsome design in its class. The unmistakable front-end is all Audi. They’ve also trimmed the Sedan Concept with a lot of sexy carbon fiber pieces around the nose and tail. Of special note, the carbon fiber “blades” running the length of each spoke on the 20” wheels. However, it’s unlikely most (or any) of the costly carbon fiber will make it to the production line.

Inside, the A3 Sedan Concept is awash in cream-colored leather and brushed aluminum. The show-car standard flat-bottom steering wheel, which looks like it was lifted from the R8, has the usual array of multifunction controls. It does, however, feature newly designed Ferrari-like paddle shifters. There are S4 style sport seats for four adults with what looks like a ski pass-though/arm rest between the rears. From the drivers seat, two large light colored analog dials for speed and engine rpm sandwich a full color navigation & information display. Again, look for show car design ques, not the actual show car interior, to make it into production for 2013.

Much has been made about the A3 Sedan Concept being designed specifically due to demand from the American market.  The A3 sportback has not been a huge sales success in the US where the A4 outsells the A3 almost 5 to 1. Why? Americans tend to miss the utility value and balk at “expensive” hatchbacks. In the US a loaded A3 is nearly the same price as a mid-level A4 saloon, about $40K (US). In the spirit of full disclosure, there’s an A3 3.2-liter Quattro in the family garage and we’ve found it to be a nearly perfect blend of city car, cargo mover and long distance cruiser.

Audi has put together a taut, powerful, sophisticated A3 Sedan Concept show car borrowing many parts from the RS3 bin. Once in production, power will likely come from new versions of current 2.0-liter turbo petrol & TDI diesel engines. If we’re lucky we may see a turbocharged 2.5-liter, 350+ horsepower S or RS version of the Sedan Concept make it to showroom floors to do battle with the BMW 1M and Mercedes C-class AMG.

A3 Gen.2 [Typ 8P]A3 Gen.2 [Typ 8P]
A3 Sedan ConceptA3 Sedan Concept
Straight 5
153 cu in
Top Speed
155 mph
7, Automatic
Maximum power
408 hp
Saloon (sedan)
Fuel consumption (combined)
annual ownership cost




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