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Audi A3

The Audi A3 is a small family car produced by the German automaker Audi since 1996. The first two generations of A3 were based on the Volkswagen Group A platform, which they share with several other models such as the Audi TT, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Caddy and Volkswagen Touran as well as SEAT Le n, SEAT Toledo and koda Octavia. The third-generation A3 uses the Volkswagen Group MQB platform.


First generation (Typ 8L; 1996 2003)

The original A3 (or Typ 8L) was introduced in the European market in 1996, marking Audi's return to the production of smaller cars following the demise of the Audi 50. This was the first Volkswagen Group model to use the "PQ34" or "A4" platform, bearing a natural close resemblance to its contemporary, the Volkswagen Golf Mk4. The car was initially available only with a three-door hatchback body, in order to present a more sporty image than the Golf, in both front- and four-wheel drive. All engines were an inline four-cylinder configuration, and were transversely mounted. After the A4, the Audi A3 was the second model in the Audi lineup to use five valves per cylinder.

In 1999, Audi expanded the range with the introduction of more powerful versions: a 1.8 Turbo rated , and a 1.9 TDI diesel engine with Unit Injector "Pumpe D se" (PD) technology and variable geometry turbocharger. The four-wheel-drive A3 1.8T quattro used either the or engine, and the same Haldex Traction-based on-demand four-wheel-drive system as the Audi S3 and the Audi TT. In 1999, Audi also introduced a five-door body.

In late 2000, the A3 range was revised with new headlights and rear light clusters, other minor cosmetic changes, an improved interior, and the introduction of a six-speed manual gearbox, on the 1.8 Turbo and the brand new 1.9 TDI.

Audi's Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), traction-control and brake force distribution computer became standard equipment in some countries.

Although the first-generation Audi A3 was replaced in Europe in 2003, the first generation model continued to be sold in some markets. Production of the first generation model stopped in Brazil in 2006.


EuroNCAP tested a first generation Audi A3, three-door hatchback with front airbags and seatbelt pretensioners as standard and scored it accordingly:

  • Adult Occupant 25 points.
  • Pedestrians 12 points.

EuroNCAP after the test state "The column lock, adjuster lever and bracket presented hazards in the knee impact area for the driver. These could cause high loads on his upper legs and damage to his knees." They also criticise the A3 for offering almost no protection to pedestrians at all, leading to just two stars out of a possible four.[1]

S3 (1999 2003)

2002 Audi S3, UK

Audi released the A3-derived Audi S3 in 1999, offered only as a three-door hatchback. The inline-four 20v 1.8 L turbocharged petrol engine comes in two versions of power output: and . Early models (1999 2001) had which is said to be a de-tuned Audi TT engine, and was said to be reduced to lessen brand competition with the more powerful TT. Later models (2001 2003) had variable valve timing and . The engine provides a maximum of torque, most of which is available from 2,200 through to 5,500 rpm. This is the first time a small four-cylinder engine has been used in an Audi S-series car.

Although dubbed "quattro", the S3 uses a different "on-demand" four-wheel drive system.[2] The Haldex Traction coupling adjusts the bias of torque distribution from the front to rear axle as grip requirements change most of the time it operates as a front-wheel drive.

The S3 was sold in the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, but was not officially marketed in the United States.

The S3 was facelifted in 2000, where it was given one-piece headlights/indicator units, different front wings, rear lights clusters, and some minor upgrades to interior trim. There had been minor changes to the design previous to this, including digital clock on the dash.

Standard features include xenon HID headlamps with high pressure washers and auto levelers, front fog lamps, 17" "Avus" alloy wheels with 225/45R17 tyres, electrically adjustable Recaro leather seats, climate control, alarm and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) with traction control (ASR).

Options include a Bose sound system, boot/trunk or in-dash mounted 6-disc CD changer, metallic paint, 18-inch 9-spoke RSTT wheels, glass sunroof, centre arm rest, privacy glass (B-pillar backwards), auto-dipping rear-view mirror, parking assist, luggage net, heated front seats, cruise control, aluminium door mirror casings and part leather/alcantara (blue/silver/yellow) combination seat coverings. These items are standard in some export markets, where Audi is a prestigious brand.


The engines used are the same as for many other cars in the Volkswagen Group.

Name Type Engine code Output@rpm Torque@rpm 0 100 km/h,s Top speed Years
Petrol engines
1.6 8v I4 AEH/AKL/APF @5600 rpm @3800 rpm 11.0 s 1996 2000
1.6 8v I4 AVU/BFQ @5600 rpm @3800 rpm 10.9 s 2000 2003
1.8 20v I4 AGN/APG @6000 @4200 9.6 s 1996 2003
1.8 20vT I4 turbo AGU/ARZ/ARX/AUM @5700 @1750 4600 8.2 s 1996 2003
1.8 20vT I4 turbo AJQ/APP/ARY/AUQ @5500 @1950 5000 7.5 s 1999 2003
1.8 20vT (S3) I4 turbo APY, AMK @5800 @2100 6.8 s 1999 2001
1.8 20vT (S3) I4 turbo BAM @5900 @2200 6.6 s 2001 2003
Diesel engines
1.9 8v TDI I4 turbo AGR/ALH @4000 @1900 12.4 s 1996 2001
1.9 8v TDI I4 turbo ATD/AXR @4000 @1800 2400 11.0 s 2001 2003
1.9 8v TDI I4 turbo AHF/ASV @4150 @1900 10.5 s 1997 2000
1.9 8v TDI I4 turbo ASZ @4000 @1900 9.2 s 2000 2003

Second generation (Typ 8P; 2003 2012)

At the 2003 Geneva Motor Show, Audi launched the second-generation of the A3, the Typ 8P, designed by Walter de'Silva. Originally launched only as a three-door hatchback with four-cylinder engines, it featured a new automobile platform (the PQ35 platform), a redesigned and more spacious interior, new petrol engines with Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI), and standard six-speed manual gearboxes (except on the base 1.6).

In mid 2003, the line was updated with two sports-orientated models, a 2.0 Turbo-FSI version rated , and a 3.2 L VR6 engine (for the first time) with . Haldex Traction-based quattro on-demand four-wheel drive, and the S-Tronic semi-auto gearbox were introduced as options (quattro is standard on the VR6) on every model with engine over .

In 2005, the "S line" trim level, offering new decorative elements, became available and the three-door A3 received the same front end styling features as the Sportback model. For the first time, the A3 became available in the North American market, exclusively with the Sportback body, with the base 2.0 inline-four TFSI introduced in 2005 as a 2006 model, and the 3.2 VR6 quattro following in 2006.

Chassis codes 8P1 8PA 8P7
Body type 3-door hatchback 5-door Sportback Cabriolet
Years 2003 2004 2008

The five-door "Sportback" model was introduced in June 2004. The A3 Sportback is longer than the base three-door body, and includes improved rear cabin space and a larger luggage compartment (370 litres). It also received the new "single frame" front grille originally introduced in the A8 W12, which was later adopted across the whole A3 range.

TDI Clubsport quattro (concept)

The Audi A3 TDI Clubsport quattro is a concept car unveiled in 2008. Based on the Audi A3 three-door, it is an approach by Audi to address both performance and the environment.

The engine in the concept car is a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel producing and . of torque. It produces per litre while meeting Euro 5 Diesel emission standards. It uses the quattro drive system with a six-speed manual transmission.

The chassis has Audi's Magnetic Ride Suspension system, lowering the vehicle from the base model. It also has ceramic front brakes, a four-link rear suspension and electro-mechanical servo assist for the rack and pinion steering.[3]

Exterior modifications include the widening of the three-door's grill, modifying the odd, and enlarging air intakes. Bolt-on fender flares and a large rear spoiler have been added. The interior changes include sport seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.[3]

Audi claims performance of in 6.6 seconds with a top speed of .[4] It is expected to get approximately .


EuroNCAP tested a second generation Audi A3, 3-door hatchback with front airbags, side airbags, seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters as standard and scored it accordingly:

  • Adult Occupant 29 points.
  • Child Occupant 35 points.
  • Pedestrians 8 points.

Despite Audi increasing the protection inside the car for the driver and passengers, pedestrian safety actually got 33% worse compared to the first generation and EuroNCAP gave criticism for the car offering virtually no protection at all on the front end and scoring just one star from a possible four. "A poor result for a new car" was the verdict given for pedestrian safety after the test.[5]



Audi debuted the updated single-frame grille in June 2004 with the launch of the five-door "Sportback" model. This new grille also became standard fitment to the three-door variant.


Audi introduced a number of changes to the A3 and S3 in 2008. These include revised nose and tail styling, with a modified grille and the new "trademark" daytime running lights, common rail 2.0 TDI engines, seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission availability for the smaller non-U.S. engines, and optional "magnetic ride" adaptive shock absorbers. In addition, the range now includes an S3 Sportback model.[6]

S3 (2006 2012)

Audi S3 three-door (Germany)

In August 2006, Audi announced the arrival of the second generation S3. Offered in three- and five-door body styles, the second generation Typ 8P S3 is powered by a modified and uprated Volkswagen Group-sourced 2.0-litre turbocharged FSI petrol engine, with a maximum output of . As with all Audi S models, the design was done in-house by quattro GmbH. The engine features uprated high-performance pistons, revised boost/fuel mapping, increased turbocharger size (KKK K04) and larger intercooler. The most powerful form of this widely used engine, and quattro four-wheel drive, makes for a time of 5.5 s, and an electronically limited top speed of . Audi offers both six-speed manual and six-speed S-Tronic automatic transmissions with the S3.

Audi S3 three-door (Australia)

The chassis has had the spring rating and dampers revised, along with the body kit. Like its predecessor, although badged a "quattro" model, the S3 does not employ a Torsen centre differential (as in other common quattro models), but instead uses the Swedish Haldex Traction system in its on-demand four-wheel drive transmission, due to the transverse engine layout.

Audi has stated the S3 will not be sold in North/South America, although it is available in Mexico. It has announced a 2.0T quattro model for the North/South American market due out in 2009/2010 to coincide with the A3 body upgrade.

RS 3 (2011 2012)

Audi RS3 Sportback (Germany)

In November 2010, Audi announced the Audi RS3 Sportback, which entered production in 2011. Only available as a five-door, it is equipped with a 5-cylinder, 2.5-litre engine, paired with a seven-speed S-Tronic transmission, and the Quattro on-demand four-wheel drive system. The Audi RS3 is only available in a five-door Sportback version and no manual transmission option. Its acceleration is quoted as in 4.6 seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of . The RS3 is assembled at the Audi plant in Gy r, Hungary.[7] First deliveries started in early 2011.[8]


In January 2007, the normally aspirated (non-turbo) 2.0 FSI was replaced by a new turbocharged 1.8 TFSI engine rated . It is available in front-wheel drive only.

In late 2007, Audi introduced a new 1.4 L TFSI engine for the A3, replacing the 1.6 L FSI engine, and a new diesel "e"-model. The "e"-model, Audi's equivalent of Volkswagen's BlueMotion, is available with the 1.9 L TDI engine, and offers a more ecological car, with a CO2 emission below 120 g/km.

In June 2009, Audi announced the release of two models of A3 1.6 TDI for European market. The first uses Audi's start/stop and energy recovery system, and will produce . This engine will achieve approximately . The second engine does not use the same efficiency systems and will produce will get . They went on sale in June 2009.[9]

In August 2009, Audi announced that the 1.6 L eight-valve petrol engine would be replaced by a turbocharged 1.2 TFSI engine already found in VW's Polo and Golf models. This engine is rated at and , emitting 127 g/km of .[10] As of April 2010, Audi has yet to release official specifications or prices for the 1.2 TSI model, as the 1.6 model has been made a special clearance model for clearing out 1.6 stock.

The A3 2.0 TDI clean diesel is a version of Audi's A3 2.0 TDI for the North American market, making it the second Audi TDI vehicle sold in North America, following the Audi Q7 TDI in 2008. It is a FWD vehicle with S-tronic transmission with Hill-hold assist, Sirius satellite radio, Leather seats and steering wheel, Auxiliary audio input, Dual-zone climate control, alloy wheels. The vehicle was unveiled at the 2009 North American International Auto Show. This US model would begin sale in the first quarter of 2010 as a 2010 model year vehicle.[11]

In March 2011, the line-up was expanded with the introduction of a more powerful 2.0 TDI with .

The 2012 Audi 2.0L I4 TDI produces and of torque and will go from in 8.9 seconds.[12]

Model Engine displacement Engine type Engine code Power@rpm Torque@rpm Years
Petrol engines
1.2 TFSI I4 SOHC 8V FSI turbo CBZB @5000 @1550 4100 2010
1.4 TFSI I4 DOHC 16V FSI turbo CAXC @5000 @1500 4000 2007 present
1.6 I4 SOHC 8V BGU / BSE / BSF / CCS @5600 @3800 2003 2010
1.6 FSI I4 DOHC 16V FSI BAG / BLF / BLP @6000 @4000 2003 2007
1.8 TFSI I4 DOHC 16V FSI turbo BYT / BZB @5000 6200 @1500 4200 2007 2008
CDAA @4500 6200 @1500 4500 2009 present
@6000 @3250 4250 2003 2007
2.0 TFSI I4 DOHC 16V FSI turbo AXX / BPY / BWA / CAWB @5100 6000 @1800 5000 2004 2008
CCZA @1700 5000 2009
BHZ / CDLA @6000 @2500 5000 2006
(Audi S3 only)
3.2 FSI VR6 DOHC 24V FSI AXZ / BDB / BMJ / BUB @6300 @2500 3000 2003 2009
AXZ?(Canada)[13] @2800 3200 2003 2009
2.5 TFSI I5 DOHC 20V FSI turbo CEPA @5400 6500 @1600 5300 2011 present (Audi RS 3 only)
Diesel engines
1.6 TDI I4 DOHC 16V common rail turbo
with DPF
CAYB @4200 @1500 2500 2009 present
CAYA @4400 @1500 2500 2009 present
with unit injectors
BJB / BKC / BXE / BLS @4000 @1900 2003 2009
2.0 TDI I4 DOHC 16V turbo
with unit injectors
BKD @4000[14] @1750 2500 2003 2008
I4 DOHC 8V turbo
with unit injectors and DPF
BMM @4000[14] @1750 2500 2006 2008
I4 DOHC 8V turbo
with unit injectors and DPF
BMN @4200 @1750 2500 2006 2008
I4 DOHC 16V common rail turbo
with DPF
CBAB @4200 @1750 2500 2008 present
CBBB @4200 @1750 2500 2008 present
I4 DOHC 16V common rail turbo
with piezo element injectors and DPF
CBEA @4200[15] @1750 2500 2010

Third generation (Typ 8V; 2012 )

The third generation A3 was launched in three-door hatchback form at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and will go on sale in Europe in September 2012. Based on the Volkswagen Group MQB platform, the third generation will later become available as a five-door "Sportback" and convertible. For the interim, the convertible and five-door bodystyles will continue on the previous Typ 8P chassis until 2013. It is at this time when for the first time, an A3 four-door sedan version will be offered thus effectively filling in the gap left by the A4 which has become successively larger with each successive generation. Front suspension is by McPherson strut and there is multi-link rear suspension.[16]

At launch, there were two petrol engine options (a 1.4 TFSI with 120 bhp and a 1.8 TSI with 178 bhp) and a 2.0 TDI diesel with 141 bhp. A 1.6 TDI engine with emissions of 99g/km and a 1.2 TFSI petrol engine are also expected later in 2012.[16]

New features included in the new A3 include a new entertainment system with handwriting recognition and adaptive cruise control.

Awards and accolades

  • (2006) South African Car of the Year
  • (2000) Brazilian Car of the Year
  • (1997, 1999, 2000) Auto Motor und Sport readers' poll Best Car award
  • (1997) Autozeitung "Auto Trophy" award
  • (1996) Bild am Sonntag "Golden Steering Wheel" award


  1. "A7, A5, and A3 Joins Even Numbers", an article in the "News" section on page thirty-eight of the June, 2004 issue of Motor Trend
  2. Audi A3 Owner's Manual (English/UK edition) (2000 Audi AG)

External links

  • A3 at Audi worldwide

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