Imagine a box of standardized parts from which you must build a luxury car. And to convince the customer that he paid extra for quality. Solution? You have to make what is not in the box better than others.
The first Audi A3 from 1996 started the avalanche of intra-company globalization. It launched the legendary PQ34 platform, on which seven more cars soon grew, including the first modern Octavia. The close technical connection to the Golf, Octavia or compact seats accompanies the A3 all the time. However, at the time of the first two generations (the second on the PQ35 platform), when the sister cars were almost made of granite, they were probably only able to impress with bolder sporty derivatives and wider customer customization options. On the other hand, it was not much more expensive than the Golf.
The golden hour for the A3 came with the arrival of the MQB platform – right at the debut of the third generation in 2012. With the MQB, in addition to the new TDI and the small TSI (traditionally TFSI in Audi), the trend of savings also came – in terms of weight and production costs. The cheaper cars of the group really approached the matter directly – the “iron” was simply reduced. On the other hand, the premium Audi can shine. It gave the A3 a more complex, rigid and lightweight body combined of parts made of steel and aluminum, which was also more uniformly soundproofed. Although the cheapest engines also received a simpler rear axle with torsion beam (hatchback up to 85 kW), similar to their poorer relatives, the similarity ends there. All versions have acoustic windshields, and the regular base diesel 1.6 TDI, which in the neighbor Octavia with its five-quart grunts like a gravel crusher, is only a slight purr here. A six-speed manual with a dual-mass flywheel (not just an economical spring-disc clutch) still works great.
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