Yes, stop rubbing your eyes in disbelief! The car you see is indeed the all-new Audi A3 hatchback, a car that is important for India in more ways than one. You see, while Audi plans to produce the A3 as a five-door hatchback too (along with the three-door, that is), it is also planning a four-door sedan version which is definitely India-bound. This also means that the A3 sedan will be the cheapest Audi on sale in the country and we know it's only a matter of time before fellow German manufacturers BMW and Mercedes-Benz follow suit. The new A3 is the first product in the VW Group to be based on the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform – a very crucial platform, since it is developed to accommodate everything from the Polo to the Passat and offers the thus required flexibility for VW Group to be able to do so. What the MQB platform will do is create leaner inventory and since VW Group's engines are cleverly alloted amongst cars within the group, the overall production efficiency will go up by a substantial amount while bringing about massive cost savings. The A3 sedan, when it makes its debut in India, will hence be the first (of many to come) to mark the debut of the MQB platform here as well.
Moving on to the A3 itself, well, it's got all the makings of a hot-hatch even without sporty add-ons! The A3 you see in the picture wears a TDI badge, and it is expected to house the 2.0 four-cylinder diesel powerplant that currently powers the VW Jetta and Passat and also the Skoda Yeti 4x4. VW Group's new 1.4-litre TSI (petrol) motor is also expected to make its way into the engine options list for the A3. When it arrives on Indian shores, we don't expect a much different engine line-up either, since the 2.0 TDI has proven to be a successful engine in the market although it would be fair to expect the A3 to produces more horses than its contemporaries within the group, owing to its more premium classification.
Staying true to the premium-ness of the badge are the interiors – typically new-gen Audi, elegant, sophisticated and of course, boasting of excellent quality. We like the rounded theme on the dash – the chrome-ringed air-con vents, the round steering hub and also the round-ish gear-shift lever for the auto 'box. The controls for the media interface are now positioned on the central tunnel along with an engine start/stop button and a new electro-mechanical parking brake. An LCD screen pops up in the centre of the dash and is paired to the new generation of Audi's MMI (Multi Media Interface). The MMI, we assume, will be excluded in the base variant of the A3 sedan (for India), since it will definitely be a huge cost saving option and will help price the A3 attractively. The A3 should prove to be a comfortable five-seater with a generous boot and given its specifications (and that prized four-ring badge), it's likely to bring in healthy numbers on Audi's scoreboard in the country.
The exterior is aggressive and very much in the new-age Audi design mould – we like! Now if Audi brings it to India quickly, and launches a hot-hot RS3 variant too... Watch this space for more on the A3!