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 |  Mar 02 2011, 6:49 PM

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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