The 2015 Audi S3. Image courtesy of Audi USA.

Audi announces the 2015 A3 Sportback and e-tron one year out [video]

Spring of 2013 has just begun, yet Audi has announced planned details for the 2015 Audi A3 sedan, promising innovative technology and the detailed craftsmanship of Audi flagship sedans a full year before the new models will arrive.

Of course, if something this special is coming down the turnpike, a company would like to build a little anticipation and we think they just might be on the right track to fulfill that goal.

Customer choice and accessibility are desirable traits in an entry-level premium line, and Audi is upping the ante on the competition with this model.

First, give the buyer a selection of powertrain options – Audi is coming through with a 1.8-liter TFSI, 2.0-liter TFSI, and 2.0-liter TDI clean diesel without overlooking a high performance S3 sporting a 2.0-liter TFSI.

Throw in an Audi A3 Sportback that’s a plug-in gasoline electric hybrid model for the US market, and the brand has the greener buyers in its court. The e-tron just made its debut during the Geneva International Motor Show.

Audi uses the e-tron designation for any electric vehicle with plug-in capabilities and as displayed in Geneva, the A3 featured a combined 204 hp and 258 lb-ft torque from both gas and electric motors, while achieving a workable commuter electric range, plus a gasoline-enhanced intercity prowess.

“The Audi A3 will set the new benchmark among entry-level luxury sedans,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “This A3 line-up redefines the standards of its class in dynamics, efficiency, technology, craftsmanship and performance.”

From its first generation, the Audi A3 carved a new market segment for itself as THE premium Sportback compact. Providing a level of appointments, dynamics and value adopted from pricier Audis while adding the sportiness and utility inherent in the 5-door body style. For 2015 the only change to that formula comes in the shape of the A3 e-tron.

New Tech
The A3 breaks new ground as the first A-class vehicle to offer MMI technology, Audi drive select, 4G LTE connectivity plus a nice little audiophile bonus in the form of Bang & Olufsen audio.

Even the base model comes with standard features including leather upholstery, Bluetooth, rain-sensing wipers, Audi pre sense basic and a panoramic glass sunroof.

Completely new and innovative tech comes in the new NVIDIA graphics-processing unit (GPU). The NVIDIA GPU creates complex three-dimensional images for the online, voice command, media, navigation and phone functions.

Basically, the Tegra graphics processor powers tablets and other mobile devices used in 3D gaming and various medical applications.
Another first is the Audi phone box, a compartment located beneath the center console that serves to boost cellular coverage by wirelessly coupling to an antenna in the rear windshield – sweet!

Performance Stats
Numerous engineering enhancements beneath the hood come to bear in the four different engines. These include the 170 horsepower 1.8-liter TFSI, and 150 horses in the 2.0-liter TDI clean diesel, plus low and high-output 2.0-liter TFSI engines in the A3 quattro and S3 quattro respectively. Horsepower ratings for the 2.0-liter TFSI engines won’t be available until closer to launch.

All engines are coupled to a standard 6-speed S-tronic transmission that delivers shifting flexibility and exhilaration via smooth, yet dynamic acceleration with little or no interruption of power flow.

Audi drive select, a brand new feature, allows the adjustment of throttle response, shift points, and steering effort and includes four settings – Auto, Dynamic, Comfort and Individual.

A New Chassis
The A3’s new platform permits the front wheels 1.5 inches more movement than the 2014 model, to provide well-balanced proportions, supplemented by optimized interior space and an improved crash structure.

Suspension is MacPherson type with A-arms and aluminum pivot bearings up front,. joined to an aluminum subframe. The electromechanical steering system operates efficiently with various assistance systems, while mechanical drag is reduced for efficiency’s sake. Four-link rear suspension is featured on gasoline models, with a steel cross member, while springs and shock absorbers are separately mounted.

The electronic stabilization also includes an electronic differential lock. On curves, it can brake the inside front wheel very slightly to reduce understeer and enhance traction.

Exterior Styling
The A3’s exterior has been completely redesigned to meet the preferences of the American market. The Audi A3 stretches to 175.5 inches in length with a 103.4-inch wheelbase. Spanning 70-inches of width and standing 55.7 inches tall, the proportions while compact are still sporty and channel the spirit of the original Audi A4 in 1994.

With Audi’s signature Singleframe grille and available full-LED headlights, also a first for the A-line, comprise the notable changes on the all-new Audi A3 sedan.

A Stunning Interior
Inside is defined by a wraparound dash design, incorporating an innovative three-dimensional inlay concept about the front seats. An available LED lighting package illuminates the craftsmanship and fine detail instilled in every Audi A3. Cool white light surrounds the center console, door panels, cupholders, and especially the B&O audio system, when present.

Much of the same prestige and quality materials expected in Audi’s flagship sedan, the A8, such as standard leather seating and exceptional ergonomics, are found in the A3. The displace screen appears on command from its housing in the dash. The 7-inch high-res display screen is less than ½ inch thick and controls are thoughtfully placed behind the shifter, along with the first touch pad incorporated into the rotary MMI controls. This creates an intuitive and simple operation typical of Audi.

The optional 705-watt, 14-speaker, Bang & Olufsen Sound System will free the spirits of any true audiophiles within to travel the musical universe, greatly enhancing cross country journeys.

Driver Assistance
The 2015 Audi A3 will offer several features new to the entry luxury level, including the Audi pre sense basic system that detects emergency maneuver, preparing the vehicle and occupant restraints for a possible collision. An optional driver assistance package includes Audi side assist (blind spot alert?) and adaptive cruise control with stop and go.

Audi Connect
Several upgrades will be added to the Audi connect service via interfaces designed for the in-vehicle environment. Audi is already a leader in the integrated high-speed mobile broadband of the vehicle, but now with 4G/LTE technology, customers will be able to connect to a network supporting data transfers up to 150 megabits per second and even faster response times.

With WiFi connectivity for up to 8 devices, passengers can view HD videos or complete video conference calls onboard. Along with Google Earth 3D satellite imagery and intelligent POI search with Google Voice Local Search, the 2015 Audi A3 will introduce a new Picture Navigation service.

This allows an owner to save photos of destinations, linked to GPS data, in MMI Navigation plus. They can be personal photos or images from Google Street View, uploadable via SD card or a myAudi account.

In addition, A new app integration interface via WiFi for music streaming and other connected device apps, voice-controlled social media features, and a completely redesigned user interface enables occupants to enjoy a connected lifestyle in the vehicle, unencumbered by devices.

It all sounds pretty good to us, though a year is an awfully long time to wait! Don't you want one for Christmas this year?

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