Audi takes ‘light touch’ to a new level with next A3

THE next Audi A3, which launches in September, will be almost as light as the original model from 1996, despite packing significantly more safety and luxury features.


Audi sees weight-saving as one of its ‘core competences’ and a vital part of its emissions-reducing programme.


‘With this model we have broken through the weight spiral while adding to safety and equipment,’ Dr Olaf Kohler, who is responsible for the car’’ lightweight engineering told Headlineauto.


The weight reduction is as much 80 kilos on at least one model, even though the exterior dimensions of the new A3 are roughly the same as those of the current, second-generation car.


To achieve this, Audi has examined every single component to see if weight could be trimmed. The new A3 has a ‘multi-material body’, including lightweight steels and an aluminium bonnet and bumper supports, which saves 18 kilos.


There is a new aluminium front sub frame which saves six kilos, and lighter sound-deadening materials in the cabin. The seats, air conditioning system, wiring and plastics are lighter than those in the current car and the metal screws, which hold parts of the interior trim together, have been replaced by plastic rivets.


The next generation A3 is the first car to be built on the Volkswagen Group’s new modular transverse platform, which will eventually underscore every Volkswagen from the Polo to the Passat, Audi’s A1 and A3 family and almost every Skoda and SEAT.


But the biggest single saving is the 21-kilo reduction achieved by the new 1.4 litre TFSI petrol engine, which will be the entry-level power unit at launch. There will also be new 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 litreTDIturbodiesel units. Carbon dioxide emissions are down to 120 g/km for the petrol engines and 99 g/km for the diesel. In time, 1.2 litre petrol, 1.6 litre diesel, high-performance S and electric models will be added.


Audi has been pioneering lightweight body technology since 1994, when it launched the A8 built around itsASF(aluminium space-frame) architecture, 40% lighter than a conventional steel body.

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