What is typical German? The new Audi A3?
If you ask our European neighbors, there are a few character traits that are apparently really typically German. The answer can be unflattering here, one speaks about the typical Mallorca vacationer.
The homely Balearic island under the sun of the western Mediterranean was the scene of the crime for a premiere of a completely different “typical German”:
The Audi A3 - a first short driving impression
- Hazards: Audi A3 - 1.4TFSI COD, 1.8TFSI, 2.0TDI, quattro and front-wheel drive, manual transmission and S-Tronic
- Market opening: Sale starts on May 31 - delivery from summer 2012
- Base price from: 21.600 € (engine variant not yet available!)
- Period: Friday and Saturday 1./2. July 2012
- Location: Majorca
- Driven KM: 190km
Body: Quality, space, functionality, safety
The first point already confirms why one would like to assume that the new Audi A3 has a special German virtue. If you go around the A3, the gaps impress with an absolute minimum of presence and a mercilessly elegant composition of the individual design elements. Thanks to the new modular transverse matrix, the first representative of this new platform technology finally gets the sporty layout that it deserves. Short overhangs and a grown wheelbase, which is completely available for the interior, ensure clever growth without the heavy burden of the constantly increasing external dimensions. And for the first time in the compact car segment, Audi has not only reached the end of a spiral of weight that has hitherto been turning faster and faster, but is actually reversing this development! Despite increased rigidity, more comfort and a truly princely compact car interior, the new Audi A3 has become lighter. It was possible to save up to 80kg in Ingolstadt, also thanks to the MQB platform in the VW Group.
Drive: Performance, engine, transmission, efficiency
Audi is launching the new A3 with 3 engines. However, a 4th and 5th is already in the starting blocks. It starts with the 1.4TFSI with 122PS, the 1.8TFSI with 180PS and the 2.0l TDI with 150PS. For the very near future, a particularly interesting 1.4 TFSI with 140PS and cylinder deactivation and a 105PS strong 1.6 TDI are in the starting blocks - as well as a new basic engine that keeps a 1.2l TFSI and 105PS in preparation.
Efficiency is the keyword of the entire automotive industry and the 140 hp 1.4 liter four-cylinder with turbocharging, gasoline direct injection and the “cylinder on demand” technology that we drove was particularly impressive. The engine management system is able to deactivate 2 of 4 cylinders in the range between 1.400 and 4.000 revolutions and thus only operate as a 2-cylinder. The engine management switches between 13 and 36-cylinder operation within 2 to 4 milliseconds. Driver and passengers do not notice anything of this. Apart from the cockpit message: “2 cylinder operation”. If this were not the case - nobody would notice. Even strict auto-tester Popometers are unable to expose this technique.
In combination with the perfect double clutch transmission, this engine should become the clear favorite of the series - this intelligent engine would definitely have earned it.
As far as performance is concerned, the 180PS TFSI gasoline engine leaves a two-part impression. On the one hand, the feature of turbocharging is reduced to a minimum - it responds relatively instantly to the accelerator pedal and offers extremely smooth running, on the other hand, sporty drivers miss a bit of the steam in the small hut. With 250Nm between 1.250 and 5.000 revolutions it becomes clear that in Ingolstadt the focus of the 1.8 TFSI is more in the area of comfort emphasized locomotion over a wide speed range, than in the sporty pursuit. Here, the fans of the sporty compact will have to exercise a little patience.
The more convincing variant for the fan of torque hills is currently the 150hp 2.0TDI engine. With 320Nm from 1.750Nm, it fulfills the expectations of torque lovers much more confidently.
Comfort: Material quality interior, suspension, sound impression, seating position
Veni, vidi, vici. There is no other discipline in Ingolstadt that is so impressively occupied by top performances as the challenge of quality in the immediate vicinity of the inmates. It is the full sound of a safe door, which formerly vouched for the quality of the Mercedes S-Class when the doors were closed. Audi reached this level a few product generations ago. It delights the tester's ear with a satisfied: oomph. Full and strong. With your eyes closed you would not be able to judge whether the door noise originates from an Audi A8 or an A3. This describes the quality level achieved. However, Audi is now pushing it to extremes, with the sound of the trunk lid closing with a convincing pitch. If there were points in the crash test for the subjective feeling of closing the doors - or if one could draw conclusions about crash safety from this, Audi would have to demand the expansion of the Euro-NCAP standard.
In the interior, the developers were able to choose the “best of” solutions, completely free from the constraints of corporate controlling. If you ask the question about the fulfillment of the criteria for a description of premium features, the Audi A3 answers this with the clear recognition of a lack of superlatives in the German language.
Feel? You are just bathing your hands in it.
Switches, modules, elements - anyone who played with modular Lego or Playmobile toys as a child, or who owned the Herpa model vehicles in his childhood and tried to disassemble them and then reassemble them - will be surprised at the fingertips, one explains to him that the interior was not carved out of one piece, but was composed of many hundreds of elements.
The new Audi A3 sets the much-vaunted benchmark in the area of “tangible quality”.
dynamics: Steering, brakes, handling, traction
In the new A3, Audi offers a driving experience switch that is supposed to be useful for the sensitive coordination of the entire package. As a driver, you can choose between the focus on efficiency, comfort, dynamism or leave the settings on automatic. Also possible: 3 very own “Audi dynamic drive” compositions. Thanks to electric power steering, adaptive dampers and a large number of adjustable parameters, the fine definition of the driving experience in the A3 can indeed be adjusted. In dynamic mode, the steering is pleasing thanks to the sensitive feedback from the road surface and even the adaptive dampers remain, thanks to the multiple adjustment options, far removed from the lanky, wooden and, above all, annoying pseudo-sportiness of the previous generation.
If you want to catapult the Audi A3 - especially as a quattro - into critical driving situations, you have to do it with rough motor skills on the valance - Aunt Erna on the way between kindergarten and a long holiday trip in Vorarlberg will probably not be able to do this.
Environment: Curb weight, CO2, consumption,
Up to 80kg lighter - that not only pleases the technician's heart and the sports driver's soul, it also helps in the implementation of the ambitious consumption targets. For example, Audi sets the combined average consumption of 3l per 2.0km for the A150 4.1TDI with 100PS. That corresponds to CO2 emissions of 106g per KM and here we are not talking about a special fuel-saving model, but simply about the first batch of the upcoming engine fireworks in the new Audi A3.
Cost: Base price, test car price, option list, maintenance
The new Audi A3 starts at a manageable € 24.400. The opposite of manageable is, quite traditionally, the list of surcharges for German automobile manufacturers. This is as long as it is refined and € 39.500 for a “nice” Audi A3 with 1.8l TFSI engine, 7-speed DSG and front-wheel drive is rather a modest choice.
Max. 25 words, about:
The golf in its most beautiful clothes. The classic Sportback body has an elegant appearance thanks to the shorter overhangs. Premium quality visibly designed.
Audi continues to play the card of the progressive automobile manufacturer. Modern, not too matter-of-fact, like sporty and cosmopolitan. Packed on 4,23m. Goal achieved.
The class goal has not been reached, the transfer is at risk. However, the A3 is not at the end of its school year, but at the beginning. More performance will come. For sure!
Its owners are likely to feel a small amount of developer pride, even years after they were acquired. Thanks to the quality at a high level, being happy is easy.
Is the Audi A3 now as typically German as the summer holiday destination number 1?
In many places Mallorca is the caricature of a typical German holiday resort - but apart from Ballermann and Palma, there is a holiday island on which you can relax, relax, wander through orange groves and in lonely coastal sections can enjoy the vastness while looking at the Mediterranean Sea. Audi achieves a very similar balancing act with the new A3. Typically German you might say when it comes to the impression of perfection and the not very excited techno look - but you experience the A3 in an extremely relaxed manner if you let yourself be seduced by it.
Just go on a relaxing round on the sunny side of the island? Somehow not typically German at all, is it? But the new A3 can do that anyway!
The manufacturer paid for travel and accommodation. However, my test judgment is not for sale and was created without the influence and control of the manufacturer!
Nevertheless: Thanks to the Audi AG for the invitation.