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With the launch of the sporty A3 Sedan late this summer, Audi will enter the world’s largest market segment – the class of compact sedans. The third model in the successful A3 model line impresses with ultra-lightweight excellence, strong and very efficient drivetrains, and a great many high-end infotainment and driver assistance systems. The top-of-the-line version is the S3 Sedan with 221 kW (300 hp).
Audi’s first notchback model in the premium compact class, the Audi A3 Sedan’s sporty character is dazzling. It all starts with a curb weight of just 1,250 kg (2,755.78 lb) for the four-door 1.4 TFSI with S tronic, thanks to Audi’s lightweight design mastery. Many of the components in the occupant cell are made of high-end hot-formed steel; the hood is aluminum. The low weight of the chassis and engines also sets new standards.
Some 4,460 mm in length (14.63 ft), the design of the Audi A3 Sedan combines classic notchback styling with the dynamics of a convertible. The flat roof line terminates at the C-pillar and merges seamlessly with the shoulder line. The tornado line is a prominent contour edge and the wheel arches are remarkably flared.
As with all Audi vehicles, the single-frame radiator grille is the primary design element up front. The bumpers, which terminate in striking horizontal contours, as well as large air inlets underscore the width of the A3 Sedan. Audi can optionally fit this new model with all-LED headlights, a marvel of engineering and a feast for the eyes alike. Taillights boasting light-emitting diodes are also available.
The roomy interior of this sporty four-door car is refined and straightforward. Its instrument panel is lean; the center console is slightly angled toward the driver. The large round air vents, the three-dimensional decorative inlays and the air conditioner’s elegant control panel evince the attention to detail that Audi devotes to every vehicle. As in all Audi models, controls are easy-to-use and self-explanatory. The 425-liter (15.01 cubic ft) luggage compartment can be extended by folding down the rear seat backs.
Three engines will initially be available for the Audi A3 Sedan: one TDI and two TFSI units. They respectively exhibit 1.4, 1.8 and 2.0 liters of displacement, and feature power outputs between 103 kW (140 hp) and 132 kW (180 hp). All three engines have been overhauled to combine robust power with astonishing fuel efficiency. A particular highlight for the 1.4 TFSI is the cylinder on demand (COD) system. At low loads, it temporarily shuts off two cylinders. Additional engines will be unveiled down the road, including a 2.0 TDI which will comply with the emission limits of the EU’s Euro 6 standard, and a 1.6 TDI.
Concerning the powertrain, the A3 Sedan is also best-in-class. Depending on the engine, a manual transmission or the S tronic is available. When combined with the Audi drive select dynamics system, the S tronic dual-clutch transmission boasts a free-wheeling function that further reduces fuel consumption. quattro permanent all-wheel drive will be made available before long.
The sporty personality of the Audi A3 Sedan can be traced in part to an optimized distribution of axle loads (59% to 41%, front to rear) and a sophisticated chassis. The MacPherson front suspension contains some aluminum components, while the four-link rear suspension handles longitudinal and lateral forces separately. A sensitive power-steering system features an electromechanical drive for high efficiency. Audi can also install progressive power steering, which varies the steering ratio. Electronic limited slip differential – an intelligent subsystem of electronic stabilization control (ESC) – makes handling even smoother and safer during fast cornering.
Upon request, Audi can fit the A3 Sedan with Audi drive select (standard with the Ambition line). It allows the driver to choose among several modes regarding engine management, power steering and the S tronic. In addition to Audi magnetic ride (electronically controlled shock absorbers), two sports suspensions are available. Wheels measure between 16 and 19 inches in diameter. 19-inch wheels are available only in conjunction with a sports suspension and Audi magnetic ride.
Audi offers its A3 Sedan customers a comprehensive range of infotainment modules; top-of-the-line options include a Bang & Olufsen sound system and MMI navigation plus. The latter’s ultra-sleek 7-inch screen extends electronically from the instrument panel. The user terminal has a turn/push control designed as a “touchwheel” with MMI touch – the touchwheel’s top surface is a touch-sensitive pad for inputting letters and numbers.
The Audi connect system ideally complements the MMI navigation plus. Audi connect will soon grant one-of-a-kind Internet access to A3 customers. Starting in November 2013, the fourth-generation (“4G”) mobile communications standard known as LTE (Long Term Evolution) will become a reality in the A3 Sedan. LTE already enables download rates as high as 100 Mbit/s in many places. This innovation demonstrates anew Audi’s superiority in automotive infotainment.
A3 Sedan passengers can use their mobile devices thanks to a WLAN hotspot integrated within Audi connect. The driver benefits from customized Internet services integral to Audi connect. Services range from navigation via Google Earth images and Google Street View through Audi online traffic information to Facebook and Twitter. A brand-new Audi connect service is the parking-space locator. This feature provides information on parking spaces, multi-level parking facilities and underground garages.
A broad assortment of assistance systems also bolsters the A3 Sedan. They range from adaptive cruise control to Audi side assist, Audi active lane assist, camera-based traffic sign recognition and the park-assist system with surround-view camera to the safety system Audi pre sense. The driver information system with rest recommendation is standard in the sporty and luxurious Ambition and Ambiente equipment lines; it is optional for the entry-level Attraction line.
Equipment lines also feature their own respective interior colors. The S line sports package for the Ambition line, for instance, bathes the interior entirely in black. Available upholstery materials include fabric covers, a mix of fabric and artificial leather, Milano leather and a combination of Pearl Nappa leather and Alcantara. Individual options such as Audi adaptive light and a panoramic glass sunroof are taken directly from the luxury class. Remarkably, the Audi plant in Györ, Hungary was expanded solely to build the A3 Sedan. This new model will be available at German dealerships late this summer. The basic price will be 24,300 euros (A3 Sedan 1.4 TFSI with 90 kW [122 hp]).
221 kW (300 hp): Audi S3 Sedan
Soon after the A3 Sedan reaches dealerships, Audi will launch its top-of-the-line version: the Audi S3 Sedan. Its 2.0 TFSI will produce 221 kW (300 hp) and 380 Nm (280.27 lb-ft) of torque. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) takes just 4.9 seconds with the six-speed S tronic (5.3 seconds with the manual transmission). Speed is electronically capped at 250 km/h (155.34 mph). Its four-cylinder turbocharged engine averages just 6.9 liters of fuel per 100 km with the S tronic (34.09 US mpg).
An electronically controlled, hydraulic multi-plate clutch constitutes the heart of the quattro drivetrain in the S3 Sedan. The suspension lowers the body by 25 millimeters (0.98 in). Large brakes are mounted behind the 18-inch wheels. 19-inch wheels are available in conjunction with Audi magnetic ride. Progressive steering is standard for the S3 Sedan.
FRANKFURT — Mazda unveiled a lighter and sportier Mazda3 compact, the third model in its lineup to feature the automaker’s new design language and fuel-saving technologies.
In Japan, the car will be offered with a gasoline-electric powertrain option, making it Mazda’s first full hybrid. Mazda has not announced plans to sell that version, which borrows its hybrid technology from Toyota, in other markets.
The five-door hatchback will go on sale in Europe in October after its public debut at the Frankfurt auto show in September. Pricing has not been announced, but a company spokesman told Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe, that the model will start at just under 17,000 euros in Germany.
The Mazda3 is the automaker’s third best-selling model in Europe after the CX-5 crossover and mid-size Mazda6 with sales of 10,120 in the first five months, down from 12,734, according to market researcher JATO Dynamics.
The Mazda3 will compete for sales in a highly competitive segment which includes the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.
”We already have big expectations for this model’s success in terms of sales, but I expect it may even surprise us,” Mazda Europe CEO Jeff Guyton, said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Mazda3 follows the CX-5 and Mazda6 sedan in sharing the swept-back headlights and large grille that define Mazda’s new Kodo design direction.
It also follows those two models in using Mazda’s Skyactiv technology consisting of lightweight engines, transmissions, body and chassis. The new model is 70 kilograms (154 pounds) lighter than its predecessor.
The current Mazda3 is based on a Ford-derived platform that also underpinned the Volvo S40 and the European Ford Focus.
The Mazda3 will offer the fuel-saving features such as i-stop, the carmaker’s stop-start system, and i-Eloop, Mazda’s brake energy regeneration system.
In Europe, the Mazda3 will be offered with a choice of 1.5- or 2.0-liter gasoline engines or a 2.2-liter diesel. The company has hinted that a smaller diesel engine may come later.
The new Mazda3 is 4465mm long (176 inches), 1795mm wide (71 inches) and 1450mm (57 inches) high, making it 5mm longer, 40mm wider and 20mm taller than the outgoing version.
The new model’s wheelbase is 2700mm, an increase of 60mm. Mazda says the wide stance, long wheelbase and reduced overhangs have allowed them to build a more spacious and comfortable cabin.
Space in the trunk has grown by 10 liters to 350 liters with the rear seats in place.
The Mazda3’s interior has been upgraded to feature high-quality materials and a new touch screen infotainment system that can show and receive text messages delivered to a Bluetooth-connected mobile phone.
Mazda will launch sales of a sedan variant of the Mazda3 in the spring. There are no plans for wagon or three-door variants.
The Mazda3 accounts for a third of Mazda’s global sales. It will go on sale in the United States in September.
Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20130627/ANE/130629904#ixzz2XQkSQHZt
Germany won a delay on a deal to introduce a tougher CO2 emissions target for Europe’s new-car fleet in 2020, environmental campaigners said.
Representatives of EU countries postponed a vote on the limit at their meeting today, according to the Transport & Environment lobby group.
The postponement came after a late intervention from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called Enda Kenny, prime minister of Ireland, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, to request the delay.
Germany is worried that the 2020 goal to limit average fleet CO2 emissions to 95 grams per kilometer from about 132g/km now will harm the country’s luxury carmakers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which mainly sell large vehicles with high emissions.
Germany does not have sufficient support to defeat the agreement at present and has instead delayed the vote to gather more support from other countries including Croatia, which will join the EU next month, said Greg Archer of Brussels-based T&E. The Netherlands and the UK also supported Germany’s call for a delay, he said.
“It’s unprecedented in EU environmental policymaking that the pressure of one country delays a vote in an attempt to overturn a fairly-negotiated agreement between the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council itself,” Archer said in a statement.
On Monday, Ireland brokered a compromise deal that allowed automakers to continue to offset sales of electric and other green vehicles against those of cars with high emissions, but the agreement achieved less than Germany had hoped for.
German automakers complain that tougher CO2 limits favor French automakers Renault, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Italy’s Fiat that mainly sell smaller cars with low emissions.
Germany also wants a decision to be postponed until after the country’s national elections in September, reports said.
EU diplomats fear such a delay could cause the fragile compromise to fall apart.
The 95g/km of CO2 is equivalent to gasoline use of 4 liters per 100km, 59 U.S. mpg or 71 UK mpg. Supporters say the target would encourage innovation as well as reduce CO2 emissions that are said to contribute to climate change.
Automakers are on target to meet an existing goal of 130g/km phased in between 2012 and 2015.
Each automaker must reach an individual target that takes into account its vehicle fleet and its past cuts. The automakers that fail to meet their targets will face monetary fines.
MILAN (Bloomberg) — Fiat Group plans to exercise an option to buy another 3.3 percent stake in Chrysler Group from a union’s pensioner health-care fund amid a lawsuit over the value of an earlier stock purchase.
“We’ll keep on doing what we’ve done in the past” under terms of an agreement to acquire Chrysler stock every six months from the United Auto Workers’ retiree health-care trust, Fiat Chairman John Elkann told reporters today in Milan.
Fiat is maintaining a goal of combining with Chrysler into one company, though “when or how” it will happen, “we will see,” Elkann said.
Fiat’s previous purchases from the U.S.-based trust total 6.6 percent since mid-2012, and it can exercise the next option starting July 1.
The Italian company has yet to take ownership of the holding amid a lawsuit in a Delaware court over its value. Excluding the stake in dispute, Fiat owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler. The trust owns the remaining 41.5 percent.
Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, 61, has spent the past four years working to unify the companies to be more competitive with global industry leaders Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co. and Volkswagen Group. The executive, who wants to merge the two carmakers “as soon as possible,” must first buy the remaining Chrysler stake from the trust. He said on June 7 that Fiat is negotiating with the union on a settlement.
“Talks are going on, and let’s let the discussion run its course,” Elkann said today.
Fiat asked Delaware Chancery Court Judge Donald Parsons last year to rule that a call-option agreement covering the first 3.3 percent holding acquired from the trust is worth $139.7 million. The trust puts the value as high as $342 million.
Marchionne has estimated the court case would be completed by the end of September. Parsons, now reviewing filings by the two sides, is likely to call for a trial before placing a value on the shares, according to legal experts including Charles Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. That may extend the process by months.
“Courts take their time, so we await a decision with confidence,” Elkann said today, declining to estimate a date for any legal ruling.
Chrysler has become Fiat’s most reliable profit generator as the carmaker struggles to end losses in Europe that totaled 704 million euros ($917 million) last year. Without Chrysler, Fiat would have posted more than 1 billion euros in losses in 2012.
Fiat may raise as much as $10 billion from banks to increase its stake in Chrysler and to refinance both companies’ debt, people familiar with the matter said in May. As part of those talks, Marchionne refinanced $5.65 billion in loans for Fiat and Chrysler on June 21.
PARIS (Reuters) – PSA/Peugeot-Citroen’s founding family has offered to give up control of the troubled French automaker as it tries to revive plans for a closer tie-up with General Motors backed by a fresh capital injection, sources said.
But any deal combining PSA with GM’s European Opel division would face major political hurdles because it would bring more factory closures and job losses in France and Germany, people with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.
The Peugeot clan, one of Europe’s three surviving car dynasties, turned to GM after inconclusively sounding out other potential investors including Dongfeng Motor, PSA’s production partner in China, they said.
“GM faces the same overcapacity situation with Opel, and that’s why PSA is trying to convince them to merge the two,” said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are confidential. “The Peugeot family has now accepted that they’ll lose control, so this is no longer an issue.”
The Peugeot family, which founded the company in 1810 as a coffee mill manufacturer, holds a 25.4 percent stake that commands 38.1 percent of voting rights in a group that is now struggling for survival.
Both PSA and GM declined to answer questions about their frequent discussions. “We don’t comment on speculation or rumors,” PSA spokesman Jonathan Goodman said.
GM has a 7 percent in PSA. Before injecting more cash, GM would need assurances that it had a free hand to cut production capacity as it took control of integrating PSA and Opel, sources said.
Peugeot, its sister brand Citroen and Opel are among those worst hit by a European car sales slump that put a $1.8 billion dent in GM’s 2012 earnings. The market is on course to contract for a sixth straight year taking sales to a two-decade low.
For PSA, heavily dependent on its home region, the threat is to its existence. The company burned 3 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in operating cash last year, and asset writedowns swelled its net loss to 5 billion.
PSA’s shares have fallen 77 percent over the past two years, compared with a 1.4 percent slide for the STOXX Europe 600 autos & parts index .SXAP. Its debt has been classed as junk by all of the main rating agencies since early 2012.
CEO Philippe Varin has responded by cutting 10,000 more jobs, selling 2 billion euros in assets and negotiating a 7 billion euro state guarantee for financing arm Banque PSA.
The company aims to cut more costs by pooling future car programs with GM under their existing alliance – cemented by a 1 billion euro share issue when the U.S. auto giant acquired its PSA stake in March 2012.
Earlier talks on a full combination were halted late last year as a French government bailout of Peugeot and its worsening cash position stirred misgivings at GM’s headquarters in Detroit.
PSA will need another capital injection and must lay the groundwork this year, people familiar with the matter said, even if the company sticks to its goal of halving operating cash consumption to 1.5 billion euros in 2013.
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