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Like Rolex watches, fine art or mega yachts, people aspire to own luxury automobiles. If they were both offered to you for free, chances are you’d pick a shiny new BMW 5 Series over a battle-scarred 1996 Plymouth Breeze every single time.
Dynamischer Kompakter mit vier Türen
Everyone knows “bigger is better,” especially in America. It’s practically our national slogan; the founding fathers should have included it in the Bill of Rights as the 10.5th Amendment. Here in the land of the free and the home of the brave there may be a compelling case for all things large and in charge, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for small.
There’s nothing wrong with going compact, especially when it comes to cars. With high fuel prices and environmental concerns on the minds of more drivers than ever, people are looking to downsize, but they don’t necessarily want to sacrifice luxury accoutrements. Luckily the industry is responding to this demand, particularly high-end German brands.
BMW has offered its 1 Series in the U.S. for a few years now, Mercedes-Benz is poised to introduce its much-anticipated CLA-Class compact sedan in September and Audi is cooking up a brand-new version of its popular A3. This 2015 model promises drivers a mountain of premium features in a deliciously right-sized package. Here’s everything you need to know about this new product from Ingolstadt.
At the 2012 Audi Annual Press Conference, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler confirmed that the German automaker will be manufacturing plug-in hybrid variants of their A3, A4, and Q7 models.
“While we are planning small-scale series production for this car, which is a vital element in our innovation and technology plans, the electric driving experience will become a reality for a growing clientele with our plug-in hybrids,” Stadler said.
The market launch for the A3 plug-in hybrid is set for 2014 while the next-generation A4 and Q7 will get plug-in hybrid variants starting in 2014 and in successive years. By 2020, Audi hopes to have an e-tron available in every segment to help achieve total sales in the six-figure range.
“Our pioneering vehicle in this field is the Audi A3, with the market launch of a plug-in version slated for 2014. This will be followed by the next-generation Audi A4 and Audi Q7 plug-in cars – starting in 2014 and in successive years. In 2020, we want to have an e-tron available in every segment and to achieve total sales in the six-figure range,” Stadler said.
Stadler also addressed Audi’s focus in optimizing their gas and diesel engines to help reduce CO2 emissions, spoke about the first Audi race car with a hybrid engine, and was clear that their goal for 2012 will be to “achieve stronger growth than the market as a whole.” It’s widely speculated that the automotive industry will experience a 4-percent increase in car sales this year, but Audi wants to best that average.
It will continue to target the Chinese market with hopes to achieve double-digit growth yet again. The German automaker plans to nearly double their dealer network in China by the end of 2013. The Q3 will also be introduced to China and a new generation of the popular A6L (long version) will be launched before 2012 ends.
GALLERY: Audi A3 Hatchback
Audi is bringing an all-electric A3 to the U.S. Exciting as that may be, only 17 of them will make their way across the ocean.
At the annual TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., Audi CEO Johan DeNysschen revealed plans to bring 17 A3 e-trons Stateside as a trial to see what type of reaction the car would garner from the public.
The pure battery vehicle uses a 26 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery that provides a range of 90 miles on a full charge at speeds of up to 90 mph. A similar A1 e-tron is undergoing the same testing in Europe, except that the A1 has a range-extending gasloine mated to its electric drivetrain.
Based on these initial tests, Audi will decide between the pure EV or range extended EV as the best option. “We will integrate the data generated from this program into the launch of a range of Audi e-tron models for American drivers,” said Jeff Curry, head of Audi of America’s e-mobility program.
While it’s intriguing to see Audi sending new technology to the American market, it’s also easy to wonder how much data 17 cars can really glean.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
A selection of leaked images are providing a clear picture of the next generation Audi A3 hatchback.
The photos, leaked by ZR.ru, clearly show Audi’s big hexagonal grille and the sharp lines running from where that mouth meets the pointed headlights, all the way to the windshield. Details on the car aren’t out yet, but should emerge in advance of its release expected later this year. Look for several diesel options for Europe, as well as Audi’s 2.0T gasoline engine.
The A3 is based on Volkswagen Group’s new MQB versatile platform, which is said to eventually become the underpinnings for as many as 60 models.
Traditionally, Audi always releases new products in Europe well ahead of bringing them stateside. In the past, we’ve reported that the A3 hatchback will actually be discontinued in the U.S. in favor of a more Americanized sedan.
In either case we’ll be watching to see what happens next. For now you can look at our gallery below and weigh in under the comments section.