AUDI has expanded the A3 Sportback to include a five-door model.
The three-door model was launched last year and while there is a place for this model, a five-door is more desirable and practical.
There's nothing worse that having to stand in a howling gale with the rain pelting down to be able to let the rear seat passengers in or out.
However, let it be said that some moms (and dads!) prefer a three-door when transporting kids. There's no fiddling with door handles in a three-door and one is able to concentrate on what's happening on the road.
The new range is available with a choice of one TDI and two TFSI engines upon its introduction. They combine multiple efficiency technologies – direct injection, turbocharging, innovative thermal management and the start-stop system. Audi claims fuel consumption has been reduced on average by around 10% compared with the previous model.
The 1.6 TDI is the most efficient engine in the model line-up.
The compact diesel, which is characterised by minimal internal friction, consumes on average just 3.9 litres of fuel per 100km when paired with the S tronic transmission. This corresponds to CO2emissions of 102g/km.
The 1.6-litre engine accelerates the car from zero to 100km/h in 10.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 194km/h.
The new 1.4 TFSI engine which now also features an aluminium block, weighs just 107kg – 21kg less than its predecessor. It produces 90kW and 200Nm of torque, accelerating the manual model from zero to 100km/h in 9.5 seconds with a top speed of 203km/h.
Its average fuel consumption is 5.3 litres of fuel per 100km, which corresponds to 123g of CO2per km.
The S tronic model performs slightly better, with a zero to 100km/h figure of 9.3 seconds and a combined fuel consumption of five litres per 100km. This model is also exempt from CO2tax with a combined CO2emission of 116g/km.
The new 1.8 TFSI, currently the most powerful petrol engine in the line-up, produces 132kW and 250Nm of torque.
It combines FSI direct injection with indirect injection and uses the Audi valvelift system to vary valve lift as required. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the cylinder head – a similar solution is also used in the two smaller TFSI engines.
With S tronic and front-wheel drive, the 1.8T will sprint from zero to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds and has a top speed of 232km/h, with an average fuel consumption of 5.6 litres per 100km corresponding to 130g of CO2per km.
Following in August 2013, the range will be expanded to include the efficient 1.2T FSI, the 1.8T FSI with manual transmission and the 1.8T FSI paired with a quattro drivetrain.
The highly anticipated Audi S3 3-door and S3 Sportback will also be launched to the local market in August.
We drove the 1.6 TDI and the 1.8 TFSI on the launch in the Western Cape last week.
Naturally the 1.8 turbo was the jewel in the crown but that does not mean the 1.6 TDI was to be sniffed at.
Both performed well but it was the turbo powered model which petrolheads will enjoy the most.
Inside there's a minimalist facia which we don't like. It lacks Audi class!
The Sportback comes standard with the Audi Concert radio and the power-retractable 5.8-inch monitor.
The top version is the MMI navigation plus with MMI touch – a media centre with 60 GB of storage capacity, DVD drive and whole-word voice control.
The high-resolution 7-inch monitor displays the map with detailed 3D graphics.
The large rotary pushbutton with MMI touch – a solution from Audi's full-size models – has been consolidated into a touch wheel.
The touch-sensitive field, on which drivers can enter letters and numbers with their fingers, forms the surface of the control wheel.
Mobile phones and players can be paired with MMI navigation plus through the integrated Bluetooth interface.
But as one new happy A3 Sportback owner, Pat Henderson from Plettenberg Bay, tells us: "You need an IT degree to be able to use it!"
We agree Pat!
1.2T FSI manual S: – R283000 (available in August)
1.4T FSI manual S: – R290500
1.4T FSI S tronic S: – R307500
1.6 TDI S tronic S: – R319500
1.8T FSI manual SE: – R322000 (available in August)
1.8T FSI S tronic SE: – R339000
1.8T FSI quattro S tronic: – R370000 (available in August)