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Sat Dec 03 17:37:57 SAST 2016

Audi refreshes the A3 with sharper looks and smarter tech

AFP Relaxnews | 2016-04-07 12:51:17.0

Audi is adding a new front grille and headlamps plus more aggressive lines to all model variants of its hugely popular premium compact car.

But it's under the hood and in the cabin where the biggest and most important changes are happening.

From this summer, Audi A3 buyers will be able to enjoy the levels of technological sophistication that are usually reserved for a company's full-size flagship models. But in an effort to overtake BMW and Mercedes and become the world's leading executive car maker in terms of sales Audi is essentially democratizing some of its biggest technological innovations.

Whether in hatchback, sportback, sedan or convertible guise, the new A3 can be specified with the same next-generation virtual digital cockpit found on the TT and A4. At the twist of a dial on the sports steering wheel, the digital instrument binnacle can go from displaying typical dials for speed and revs plus fuel reserves, or can be changed to put infotainment and navigation front and center.

Tick the right option boxes and the car will also be able to take the strain in traffic jams, capable of steering itself at speeds of up to 60km/h, of automatically keeping a safe distance from the car ahead, maintaining lane discipline and slowing, stopping or starting up again as traffic queues build or wane.

Other notable active safety features include a pedestrian recognition system for actively avoiding collisions with other road users, and a cross traffic monitoring system for safely reversing out of parking spaces.

The cabin now offers massaging front seats for helping maintain comfort levels on longer drives and the infotainment system is capable of supporting two connected smartphones simultaneously in case the owner has different handsets for business and personal use.

And, if the handsets in question support the standard, then the car can also keep their batteries charged wirelessly.

Under the hood a new three-cylinder, 1-liter ultra-efficient turbocharged engine is available for the first time as an option as is a completely new 2-liter TFSI unit with 187bhp on tap.

At launch in May, the most potent powerplant will be that found in the S3 variant, again a four-cylinder turbocharged unit, it has been tuned to output 306bhp (up 10bhp on its predecessor).

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