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Audi‘s growth plan will hinge significantly on the success of its upcoming all-new A3 model. Teased with the A3 Sedan Concept at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year, the 4-door was an obvious sign that Audi wants to push the car hard in the North American marketplace. And why not, with the proposed concept almost identical in size to the current A4. Plus, with the concept car’s 408-hp engine and beautiful styling it certainly won over the younger enthusiast base – including most every blog on the internet.
According to Audi chief designer Stefan Sielaff, along with the sedan, the German automaker is looking to introduce three additional models in the A3 range. Essentially a down-sized version of the A4/A5 range, there will be an A3 hatchback (a must for Europe), as well as both a convertible and sportback model.
Using different versions of the same MQB modular architecture, the longer 103.5-inch wheelbase will be used for the sportback and sedan, while a shorter 102-inch wheelbase platform will be used for the convertible and hatch. Audi has no indicated if it will build a coupe model for the A3 family, although S and RS models are likely.
GALLERY: Audi A3 Sedan Concept
Audi has released a selection of design sketches, giving a strong hint at the direction the next-gen version of the A3 will take. The three images preview the hatchback and sedan, while also giving a glimpse at what the car’s interior will look like.
The four-door versions sticks closely to the A3 sedan concept that debuted at the Geneva Auto Show this year, while the hatchback adds more angles than the current model. Both a three-door and five-door hatch are expected to be offered, while the sedan, which is close in size to the current A4, is certain to help Audi penetrate the U.S. market.
Look for more advanced drivetrains in the A3, with gasoline and diesel engines being offered first, followed by hybrid and electric versions.
GALLERY: Audi A3 Design Sketches
Audi‘s new A3 sedan concept will likely see U.S. shores in the near future admits Peter Schwarzenbauer, the German automaker’s sales and marketing boss.
Unveiled with an impressive 408-hp turbocharged 5-cylinder, a carbon fiber skin and some stunning lines at the Geneva Auto Show, Schwarzenbauer’s statement is essentially a given, with a car like the A3 likely designed specifically for the U.S., where the A3 hatch never really caught on.
If given the green light, the A3 Sedan is likely to arrive by 2013.
As for the Q3 crossover, Audi is less certain about bringing it to North America, although dealers are calling for it, with U.S. retailers insisting on the car after seeing it at a recent dealer convention in San Francisco last month. The Q3 will debut in Europe this year, but wouldn’t be available for the U.S. until at least a year later.
GALLERY: Audi A3 Sedan Concept
[Source: Automotive News]
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Roughly a foot shorter in length than the current A4, the A3 sedan concept foreshadows a possible smaller 4-door for the Audi range. While other automakers are targeting younger buyers with coupes and hatchbacks, this concept is poised to bring to market a proven sports sedan package that does away with much of the size and weight (not to mention the price) that have made increasingly large models both unattractive to the Gen X and Gen Y crowd.
Making it as enticing as possible, Audi has built this show car as more of an RS3 sedan, featuring bold styling, 20-inch wheels (made of carbon fiber no less) and a seriously potent engine.
Under the hood is Audi’s turbocharged 5-cylinder powerplant making 408-hp and delivering a 0-62 mph time of 4.1 seconds.
Helping to deliver that time is a low 3,400 lb curb weight, thanks to a body made of carbon composite. More than just a fancy detail on a concept car, the use of carbon fiber in this way can be seen as a statement by Audi that it is seriously looking at incorporating the high-tech material into future production models – and not just outrageously expensive ones like the R8.
Look for Audi to push ahead with this concept, a particularly enticing vehicle for the North American marketplace where Audi is eager to bolster surging sales.
GALLERY: Audi A3 Sedan Concept
Companies like Audi have been at the forefront of the small premium car segment and with American buyers finally moving away from the idea that luxury means large, Audi is planning to meet that demand with a new model – the A3 sedan.
Planned for 2012 as a 2013 model, the A3 sedan will also help to draw in premium car buyers who might be open to small luxury cars, but not to the idea of a small luxury hatchback.
Expect the new A3 sedan to be offered with either a front drive and quattro all-wheel drive setup, with power coming from (what else?) the company’s turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder.
With sales of the A3 sedan likely to overtake the hatchback rather quickly, if demand for the car is significant, Audi might finally see fit to deliver a high-performance S3 model (currently offered in hatchback from in Europe) in North America.
A3 sedan and A2 electric car among new models being studied
With rumored news that rival BMW is planning a long list of 1 Series-based vehicles, Audi is reportedly studying several premium small cars for introduction into the North American marketplace.
First on the list is a sedan version of the A3 hatchback. Much like BMW’s plans for the 1 Series, Audi is rumored to be working on several A3 based vehicles when the new platform debuts in 2012. This new A3 could also spawn a convertible model, while a Q3 crossover to slot in underneath the Q5 (and compete directly with the BMx X1) is almost certain.
The final product Audi is looking to bring to the U.S. and Canada is an electric city car based on the Europe-only A2 (pictured above). Currently Audi parent company Volkswagen is planning an electric car (based on the E-U! Concept which debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show). Audi has also announced plans to bring a high powered electric car based on the R8-based Audi E-Tron Concept, which debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.
[Source: Automotive News via LeftLaneNews]