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Audi’s new pound-shedding gym-monkey

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New Audi A3 - work out in the gym has shed weight, improved efficiency, and gained better tax muscle in the process

Audi A3 2.0 TDI SE 150PS 3dr car test review

What is it?

Audi’s core model has undergone a major overhaul down at the gym.

It’s been working on the abs, shedding the pounds, and emerging smoothly contoured into the daylight as the new lighter and more efficient Audi A3.

Launched initially as a three-door, with a price range from £19,205 to £22,580, it spearheads a range that will be joined by the five-door Sportback early next year and by a four-door saloon, a cabriolet and quattro four-wheel-drive versions later on.

The engine choice will range from 1.4 litre petrol to 2.0 diesel, and include a 99 g/km 1.6 litre diesel. An average 12 per cent better efficiency is promised for three upgraded engines, the 1.4 litre TFSI (122 PS), 1.8 litre TFSI (180 PS) and two-litre TDI (150 PS). Coming later this year is a 1.4 litre TFSI with cylinder-on-demand technology. Transmissions are a six-speed manual and seven-speed twin-clutch S tronic.
What’s hot?

Not only has Audi sent the new A3 to the gym for a stronger and more rigid chassis,it’s put the A3 on a diet: the new car is up to 80 kg lighter than the previous A3
Rigorous weight-saving has reversed the “upper weight spiral” of previous generation A3s, and it pays off in up to 17 per cent better fuel consumption than the old model
Lower CO2 across the range, including 99 g/km version in new A3 1.6 TDI – that’s company car tax of 13% at the current 2012/13 rate
Lower running costs and company car taxation than previous range
Sharp styling with athletic body lines, split rear lights and great range of alloys
High-class cabin, crisply contemporary with elegant understatement. It is a big upgrade for the A3’s interior
Goodbye mechanical handbrake, hello to a modern electronic one
More headroom all round, 50 mm extra in front and 60 mm added in the rear
Five-door Sportback on the way early next year, saloon also planned
Most versions front-wheel-drive but high-performance quattro versions also planned
Due in late 2013, a high-range dual-fuel petrol and compressed gas model, may come to the UK
Boot size 365 litres, extending to 1,100 litres with back seats folded
SE, Sport and S line specification
Standard kit across the range includes alloys, aircon or climate control, Multi Media Interface (MMI) with powered retractable screen, iPod and Bluetooth connection, satnav preparation

What’s not?

Prices have gone up, though not by much
Only a three-door for now, need to wait until next year before the more practical five-door arrives
Nothing radical about the styling, a smooth update on its predecessor
Rear light design has a droopy look

Audi A3 2.0 TDI SE 150PS 3dr – the low-down

List price: £ 21,505
Monthly business rental (ex VAT): Not available
Tax Bands 2011/12 to 2013/14: 15%, 16%, 17%
Benefit in kind 2011/12 to 2013/14: Not available
Engine: 2.0 4 cyl turbocharged diesel
CO2 Emissions: 106g/km
Power/torque: 150PS/320Nm
0-62mph/top speed: 8.6 secs/134mph
Economy (official): 68.9mpg


The new A3 is good to drive, looks stylish and has a really sharp-suited cabin. It is a big all-round improvement over its predecessor.

Article review by Sue Barker at Business Car Manager.