The Audi A3 is classified as a compact executive car and is manufactured by German carmaker Audi. Production of this vehicle began in 1996 and the first two generations of it were based on the Volkswagen Group A platform. The A3 uses the same platform as a number of other vehicles, including the Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Touran, SEAT Leon, SEAT Toledo, and Audi TT. The third generation of this vehicle, however, uses the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform. The very first A3 or Typ 8L, was introduced to Europe in 1996 and marked Audi’s return to make smaller cars after the failure of the Audi 50 in 1978.
At first, the A3 was available with just a three-door hatchback body, which was Audi’s way to make the vehicle have a sportier look than the Golf, and it is available in front and four-wheel drive. All of the engines that this vehicle uses are inline four-cylinders which are transversely mounted. The A3 was the second model in this carmaker’s lineup to use all five valves per cylinder, after the A4. Sales of the A3 began in the UK in November of 1996.
Audi expanded the range of the A3 in 1999 with a few new engine options, including the 1.8 Turbo rated 180 PS (178 horsepower), and the 1.9 TDI diesel engine with Unit Injector “Pump Duse” (PD) technology as well as variable geometry turbocharger. The four-wheel drive version of the A3 (1.8T Quattro), used a 150 PS 148 horsepower or a 180 PS 180 horsepower engine, as well as the exact same Haldex Traction-based on demand four-wheel-drive system as the Audi TT and the Audi S3. A few of the features on the Audi A3 had been revised by late 2000, including the headlights and rear lamps as well as a few other changes which were made. There was also the introduction of the six-speed manual gearbox on the 180 PS 1.8 Turbo as well as the new 130 PS 128 horsepower.
Another feature that became standard with the Audi A3 is Electronic Stability Porgramme or ESP, as well as traction-control and brake force distribution, increasing the overall safety rating of the vehicle, and therefore its overall appeal to consumers. While it is true that the first generation of the A3 was replaced throughout Europe by 2003, it continued to be sold in certain markets in various countries. Production of the first generation A3 came to a halt in Brazil in 2006.
In 1999, the Audi S3 was released as only a three-door hatchback. This vehicle is heavily based on the A3 and shares many features with it. The S3 uses an inline-four 20v 1.8 L turbocharged petrol engine which comes in two different power outputs, including the 210 PS 207 horsepower and the 225 PS or 222 horsepower. Some of the earlier models, which were produced from 1999-2001, had a 2010 PS 207 horsepower Audi TT de-tuned engine. The S3 was sold in countries throughout Europe as well as Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South America.
The second generation of the Audi A3 first appeared at the Geneva Motor Show in 2003 and was referred to as the Type 8P with a design from Gary Telaak during 2000. This vehicle was initially launched as just a three-door hatchback with 4-cylinder engines, and it featured the new PQ35 platform with a redesigned interior as well as a series of new petrol engines and Fuel Stratified Injection and six-speed manual gearboxes which came standard. The A3 is definitely one of Audi’s crowning achievements and marked a turning point in their company’s history, bringing back the smaller cars.