New Audi A3 Will Be An Absolute Blast To Drive

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The new Audi A3's world debut is just a few weeks away.

It's no secret that a redesign is planned for the Audi A3. Numerous spy shots have shown the new A3 and S3 being tested in prototype form. Just last week, a more revealing photo emerged online of the next-generation Audi S3 Sportback without body cladding, giving us a better look at the overall shape. Now, Audi has released the first official photos and details of the all-new A3. It's even wearing the same camouflage as the car in last week's leaked photos.

Audi has confirmed the new A3 will make its world debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show in March. Before then, the fourth-generation A3 is being put through its paces on Sao Miguel Island in the Azores archipelago where there is a high level of volcanic activity. This is also where the Azores Rallye is held, making the twisty course ideal proving ground to demonstrate the new A3's improved driving dynamics.

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Compared to the previous model, the new A3 will boast an improved quattro all-wheel drive system. Based on an electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch, the new all-wheel-drive system maximizes stability, grip, and driving pleasure, and is also highly efficient. Combined with the adaptive suspension and progressive steering, the Audi A3 will be an absolute blast to drive on tight winding roads and varied mountain and valley stretches.

According to Audi, the new A3's clutch is located at the end of the prop shaft in front of the rear axle differential, which improves the axle load distribution. Audi has also tailored the electronic torque distribution control specifically to suit the new A3 and integrated it in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. Using data from the suspension sensors, it can detect not only the driving condition and road properties but also the driving style. The control unit uses this data to calculate a torque distribution that provides optimum efficiency.

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The all-wheel drive distributes the torque with full variability between the front and rear axles. In normal driving conditions, most of the engine's power is sent to the front wheels. However, if the front axle loses traction, up to 100 percent drive torque is transmitted to the rear axle.

Also enhancing the new A3's sporty handling is the wheel-selective torque control, a software function of the Electronic Stabilization Control. When the new A3 drives around a corner at high speed, this system applies the brakes slightly to the two wheels on the inside of the curve, allowing the car to follow the steering angle precisely. Audi claims this makes the handling "even more agile, fluid, and safe".

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Electromechanical progressive steering also offers different gear ratios depending on the steering angle for a sportier driving style. In addition, the new Audi A3 will offer adaptive suspension with three damper settings available in the Audi drive select system including comfort, auto, and dynamic.

The car shown in the photos is the Sportback model that will be sold in Europe, but it still gives us an idea of what America's new A3 sedan will look like. Expect the new A3 to have an evolutionary design with styling cues inspired by the redesigned Audi A4 such as a wider grille and restyled headlights.

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