Paris Motor Show 2012

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October 3, 2012

By: Joel Boucher

Baby got Sportback

PARIS -Efficiency was on everyone’s mind at this years Paris motor show, in the form of overall weight savings and hybrid technology consisting of new lighter weight compacts and clean diesel powerplants.

We present you the all-new A3 Sportback, weighing in a sound 188lbs lighter than its predecessor. Looking more like a mini Avant than the outgoing A3 5 door variant, the new A3 sportback will be available in Europe only (within the US shores, will see the yet to be released A3 sedan at first, with the 5 door following along at some point in the future with any luck.)

Engine choices range from a 1.2-liter TFSI, a 1.4-liter TFSI, and 1.8-liter TFSI gasoline engines, as well as 1.6-liter TDI, 2.0-liter TDI clean diesels.

The new and formidable 2.0-liter TDI, which is rated at 184-hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, propels the A3 Sportback to 62-mph in 7.4 seconds. Audi’s quick shifting dual-clutch S-tronic or silky six speed manual transmission options are available depending on the engine selected.

With a wheelbase increase of 58mm, Audi claims there is room for three adults to fit comfortably in the back of the Sportback. Exterior styling remains relatively similar to the A3 sedan design study, with the exception of the tailgate, which is more similar to the Avant models rather than a traditional hatch.

As with most Audi models the A3 packs a technology punch with the latest MMI system featuring Audi Connect, allowing operation of up to eight devices, connecting to Google Earth navigation, Facbeook and Twitter, in either a 5.8-inch or larger 7-inch retractable display. For the ears, an optional 14 speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system is available.

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For consumers looking for a sportier variant, need look no further than the all-new S3. At a whopping 300 horsepower and 280 pound feet of torque from its 2.0-liter TFSI inline-4 powerplant this hot hatch means business while returning a fuel economy of 34 mpg. The S3 also shaves 132 pounds from its predecessor assisting in the blistering zero to 62 mph of 5.2 seconds.

The S3 transfers its power to all four wheels via a front-biased Quattro system. The suspension consists of struts up front and multi link in the rear, with sports tuned springs and dampers lowering the car substantially in comparison to the A3. Special S3 styling includes a flat-bottom steering wheel, sport seats, “piano finish” trim and 18 inch wheels.

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The SQ5 TDI crossover is Audi’s first diesel model in the “S” range, powered by a 3.0-litre twin turbo configuration with an output of 308 bhp, producing 479 pound-feet of torque. Power is delivered via an seven-speed S-tronic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. Zero to 62 mph in a quick 5.1 seconds. Dropped 1.2 inches with 20” sport wheels, the sport crossover market just got a bit more competitive.

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The Audi Crosslane Coupe concept was among the premieres this year in Paris. Audi states this concept is only a preview of future design and technology for the brand, though with the new Q2 crossover expected next year, we can’t help imagine some styling from this concept will be incorporated.

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Notable advancements found in this concept include Audis new Multilateral Space Frame, a combination of aluminum framing with carbon-fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) and glass-fiber reinforced polymers (GFRP). Audi claims the use of these materials will reduce weight dramatically, while keeping costs low compared to other weight saving strategies currently under development at ULTRA.

The 2+2 interior is finished with black and tan leather, brushed aluminum for dials and various controls. Styling resembles at mix of current models, A1, A3 and Q5 crossover vehicles.

Powered by a 128 hp 1.5-liter inline-three plug-in electric hybrid engine boasting fuel economy of 257 mpg, we are excited to see where this concept takes future Audi development.

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2013 models filled the Audi display throughout this years show, including but not limited to, the new facelifted R8, R8 V10 Plus, TTRS, RS4 Avant and the new RS5 cabriolet (which we happened to confirm will be hitting American dealerships early next year). Audi could not confirm the delivery of other RS series cars stateside, though they also wouldn’t deny it being a possibility with the increasing success of the TTRS and soon to be released RS5 Cabriolet.

An exciting show of Audi’s capabilities, from engine efficiency and lightweight technology via Audi ULTRA development to powerful diesel technology of tomorrow… we are already clamoring over what’s to come next year.


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