Thursday, January 24, 2013

First Scoop Shots of the New Audi A3 Sedan, will Compete Against the Mercedes-Benz CLA

After setting foot on the compact hatchback segment, Germany's premium car brands are now eyeing the sedan category, with Mercedes-Benz being the first to present its proposal in the form of the CLA sports saloon.

Even though Audi told us it would launch an A3-based sedan at the end of 2012, that never happened. Instead, we're now waiting for the premiere of the A3 Sedan to take place at a major international auto show in the coming months before it begins to arrive in showrooms at the end of the year or for some markets, in the first quarter of 2014.

In the meantime, our scoop photographers spotted a prototype of the A3 sedan all dressed up for testing in Europe.

If you've been following the auto show circuit over the past couple of years, you'll likely remember the very near production A3 Concept sporting a 402bhp (408PS) 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five from the 2011 Geneva Salon, and the A3 e-Tron gasoline-electric hybrid study from the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show, both of which previewed the four-door A3.

Judging by these spy shots, the A3 Sedan will be put in production mostly unchanged in terms of styling details, though, the taller glasshouse and the more upright windshield seem to make it look less athletic.

Just like the CLA is based on the A-Class hatchback, Audi's entry-level saloon borrows its underpinnings from the latest generation of the A3 hatch, which itself is built atop the VW Group's new MQB platform shared with the VW Golf Mk7, Seat Leon, Skoda Octavia etc., etc..

In Europe and other parts of the world, Audi's upmarket proposal in the compact segment will be available with a variety of exclusively force-fed petrol and diesel units connected to both manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions, with all-wheel drive offered on select models.

For North America, we suspect that Audi will offer the A3 Saloon with its more powerful 2.0-liter TSI gasoline and a 2.0-liter TDI diesel, with a 1.8-liter TSI also being a possibility.

Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoop
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