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Audi A3 answers Merc A-Class

The new A3 will launch in Europe with a diesel and two petrol engines

The three-door Audi A3 hatch on show in Geneva previews the vehicle due to go on sale in Australia early next year and is incrementally a smarter car in from the lightweight panels to the new multimedia interface.

The body looks slightly more chiselled, there's more interior room and width despite overall length not increasing, and there are three new turbocharged direct-injection engines with idle stop/start helping with average fuel savings of 12 per cent.

Options run from xenon headlamps to safety software such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and blind spot assist.

The new A3 will launch in Europe with a diesel and two petrol engines, though a hybrid system, engine with cylinder deactivation and performance quattro versions will soon follow. The base 1.4-litre petrol engine is good for 90kW/200Nm, with power transmitted via a six-speed gearbox to the front wheels. 

The same configuration underpins the 110kW/32Nm 2.0-litre turbodiesel, while a seven-speed automated manual transmission is standard with the 132kW/250Nm 1.8-litre petrol engine.

The diesel uses a claimed 4.1 litres/100km against 5.2 litres/100km for the smaller petrol and  5.6 litres/100km for the 1.8.

The infotainment system combines telephone functions, voice control, navigation and media interfaces, with a pop-up screen from 5.8-7inches, depending on the car's specification - Attraction, Ambition or Ambiente.

One tick for the 1.8-litre Ambition will be the standard inclusion of the "drive select vehicle dynamics system". It lets owners adjust the response of the accelerator pedal, power steering and auto transmission in five modes - comfort, auto, dynamic, individual or efficiency.