Audi A3

Audi A3 loses weight but keeps its look

The new Audi A3 that was launched at the Geneva Motor Show looks set to continue the brand’s domination of the hatchback market.

Set firmly against luxury rival BMW’s 1 Series as well as more mundane offerings from Ford and VW – Focus and Golf respectively – the new A3 will be a hard car to beat.

Audi’s designers have resisted the temptation to make major changes to the exterior styling - and why would they on a car that has proved to be such a hit in the showrooms?

They have shaved 80kg off the weight and tinkered with the front and rear arrays, but aside from that it is difficult to tell the new A3 from its predecessors.

The car will hit the UK streets in September with a price tag expected to be around £19,000.

There will be three reworked engines at launch delivering efficiency gains averaging 12 per cent - 1.4 TFSI and 1.8 TFSI petrol and 2.0-litre TDI.

The environmental credentials of the car are impressive, with CO2 emissions of as little as 99g/km aided by the lower weight.

The aluminium front wings and bonnet help in this regard, and contribute to a kerb weight of just 1,175kg for the 1.4 TFSI model.

While the external look is similar to the current model it is the interior and the driver safety aids that are attracting all the attention, including a head-up driver display, radar-assisted adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, traffic sign detection, park assist and a pre-sense basic safety system.

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