The design of the new Audi A3 – Concentrated sports appeal


The design of the new Audi A3 – Concentrated sports appeal

The progressive design idiom of the new A3 expresses all of the passion with which Audi develops and builds its cars. A sporty-extended sculptural appearance, sharp body shoulder and sharply inclined C-pillar lend the dynamic premium compact its typical character. The taut lines focus on the essential; each element on the new A3 makes a […]

The progressive design idiom of the new A3 expresses all of the passion with which Audi develops and builds its cars. A sporty-extended sculptural appearance, sharp body shoulder and sharply inclined C-pillar lend the dynamic premium compact its typical character. The taut lines focus on the essential; each element on the new A3 makes a precise and very expressive statement.

Design Audi A3

The new Audi A3 exhibits compact dimensions. Its length of 4,237 mm (166.81 inches) and height of 1,421 mm (55.94 inches) are nearly unchanged compared to the previous model. However, use of the modular transverse platform (MQB) architecture increased the wheelbase by 23 mm (0.91 inches) to 2,601 mm (102.40 inches), making the front overhang that much shorter – and giving the car a sportier look. The car’s width increased 12 mm (0.47 inches) to 1,777 mm (69.96 inches).

The sporty lines of the exterior are repeated in the interior. Similar to the larger Audi model series cars, a curved piece – the wrap-around – runs across the instrument panel, encircling the driver and front passenger. It is built lean and low and appears to hover over the center console. Large, round air nozzles in jet design and sculpturally molded trim strips serve as decorative accents.

Exterior styling The front end of the new A3 has a flat and wide appearance, and sharp edges define the surfaces of the engine hood. The singleframe grille with its beveled upper corners is logically integrated in the Audi-typical contour of the front end; its horizontal fins and the Audi rings stand out in three dimensions. A slender, chrome-plated frame surrounds the grille. The bumper sports large air inlets with slender fins, in which rectangular fog lights are housed. Additional cross-bars with chrome surfaces give the A3 a wider appearance.

The headlights are small masterpieces of great technical precision; with their resolute look, they symbolize the character of the new A3. The are styled in a wedge shape; their lower edges are contoured in a slight wave. In the optional xenon plus module, the LED daytime running lights form narrow, visually uniform borders of lights at the upper and lower edges, which suggest the shape of an eyebrow. The turn signal lights are at the pointed corner of the headlight behind the “wing” – a narrow, chrome-plated fin, which is a typical Audi feature inside the light module.

The side view expresses the athletic power of a trained athlete; its proportions visualize the emotional character of the new Audi A3. The car’s front end is built low, the roof arch forms a stretched dome, and the trapezoidal, sharply inclined C-pillar sets the rear section powerfully over the rear wheel. The ratio of metal surface area to windows is two-thirds to one-third – a typical proportion for Audi.

The sharply drawn tornado line visually presses the new A3 firmly onto the street. Beginning at the headlights, it extends in a curve over the fenders, doors and side panels to the tail lights. The tornado line gives the body shape strong shoulders and forms a pronounced, broad shadow edge, especially above the wheels. Above the side sills there is the dynamic line that sweeps back energetically towards the rear of the vehicle with an upward ascent.

Fine details accentuate the styling. Like on a sports car, the exterior mirrors are placed on the upper door panels, and the bow-shaped door handles convey a rugged image. Wide, sculpturally flared wheel housings create space for sporty wheels. On the Ambition and Ambiente lines, they are 17 inches in diameter; 18-inch wheels are also available as an option. Tire sizes are 205/55, 225/45 and 225/40.

At the rear, the new Audi A3 is intensively shaped; the split tail lights, which extend inward into the trunk from the side panels, emphasize the car’s width. Light conductors fed by LEDs light up in flat, uniform curved shapes in the dark; the turn signal lights continue the contour on the upper border of the tail lights. The new A3 has either one or two tailpipes on the left side of the diffuser insert, depending on the engine.

The S line exterior package further sharpens the visual appearance of the premium compact. Diamond-pattern screens fill the large air inlets, which are bordered by powerful edges. Suggested air inlets create sporty accents on the front fenders. The sills have distinctive add-on strips. The roof edge spoiler has been lengthened, the bumper has an additional edge, and the diffuser integrates a diamond-pattern insert.

Interior styling The interior design is a continuation of the emotional sports appeal of the A3 exterior – it makes a clean and light impression, focusing on the essentials. Similar to the larger Audi model series vehicles, a curved piece – the wrap-around – runs under the base of the windshield. Its character of dynamic elegance is rounded out by taut, sinewy surfaces on the doors and the center tunnel console.

The instrument panel is styled like a wing profile. Because the central module for the infotainment systems has been moved to the glove box, the panel has a lean and low construction – it appears to hover over the center console, slightly inclined towards the driver. Located at its center are control buttons for secondary functions; they are styled to appear like traditional rocker switches.

The center tunnel console, framed on both sides by the high-drawn knee pads in the style of the TT sports car, presents a clean, well-organized look. Thanks to the new electromechanical parking brake, there is no longer any brake lever; this has created space for the terminal of the optional MMI navigation plus system. The armrest is adjustable in length and height.

The newly developed front seats offer excellent support and motion control; they are mounted low, in keeping with the premium compact’s sporty character. The sport seats (standard in the Ambition) offer numerous adjustments – the precisely executed seam pattern on the seats reflects the high level of quality in the Audi A3. The driver sits behind an elegant restyled steering wheel. Depending on the version, it has either three or four spokes and a flat bottom, it also has shift paddles and multifunction keys that are framed by delicate chrome trim.

Many elegant details create interior highlights. The four large, round air nozzles in classic jet design reflect technology aesthetics as interpreted by Audi. Their air flow is adjusted by pulling on the central axis – this adjusted the air flow from broadly dispersed and draft-free to a focused stream. When the rings are turned, they give a fine precisely-defined click, the sound of technical precision.

With their elaborate grooves, consisting of numerous tiny pyramidal shapes, the rings have a high level of tactile quality. The same pattern is also found on the large MMI wheel, the audio volume dial and the controls for the climate control system. Its controls, with white, blue and red illumination, are embedded in a panel with black piano paint look.

Another highlight: the molded three-dimensional decorative trims on the front of the instrument panel and in the doors. As an option, they are available in aluminum or 3D-design “Optic”; in the latter, a new type of multilayer surface construction gives the impression of astonishing visual depth.

The colors and materials of the interior of the new A3 are laid out differently, depending on the equipment line – Attraction is the contemporary, Ambition the sporty and Ambiente the luxury version. Audi styles the interior in black and titanium gray; fresh accents in pashmina beige, chestnut brown or capri orange can be added as options. The S line sport package offers exclusive details and a black look throughout. The Audi design selection option capri orange, on the other hand, represents a new, highly contemporary color scheme.

As an optional feature, the seat covers are available in various leather qualities or in a leather/Alcantara version. Of special interest here is the new Velvet leather, a complex dressed type of leather. Special processing gives it a rugged, slightly rough surface similar to that of suede leather.

The equipment, data, and prices specified refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.

The New Audi A3

Gerald Ferreira

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Published : Sunday May 6, 2012

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