Audi Readying RS3 and A3 Hybrid

With the new A3 due out in 2011 rumors of performance and hybrid versions of the car have already emerged.

In the performance category Audi is expected to release an RS3, which will be powered by the same turbocharged five-cylinder currently found in the TT-RS. Output won’t be quite as significant, but expect lots of boost on tap and a much as 335hp and 332 ft-lbs of torque. The RS3 will also make use of Audi’s quattro system and will use a new seven-speed DSG gearbox.

The car will be aimed squarely at the Ford Focus RS as well as BMW’s 135 – which increases the likelihood of this high-performance A3 model actually making it to the U.S.

In the fuel-efficient category, a hybrid version of the A3 is also expected and will use the same essential system that will power the upcoming hybrid Golf. The car will be the result of VW’s TwinDrive program and feature a 1.6-liter diesel engine with 105hp mated to a 30kW electric motor for the front wheels and two 30kW motors for the rear wheels. A lithium-ion battery pack will also be a part of the package. This system would essentially allow the A3 Hybrid to function as an all-wheel drive vehicle at low speeds and until the stored energy is depleted.

The A3 Hybrid, or A3 TwinDrive as it is likely to be called, would be able to travel on pure electric power for 31 miles and could get as much as 113 mpg.

As for the upcoming A3, expect a four-door version for sale in North America.

[Source: AutoCar 1 and AutoCar 2]

[Photo Credit: MTM]