Audi will showcase a new addition to its redesigned A3 series at the 2012 Paris motor show from 27 September. The 2013 A3 Sportback is the more practical and versatile five-door version of Audi's premium compact model.
The evolutionary (according to Audi, stale according to others) styling language of the A3 can be found on the Sportback variant as well, with the five-door variant employing the use of three side windows and a sloping tailgate design. For a sportier look, buyers will be able to opt for Audi's S-Line package that adds different bumpers, spoilers and larger alloy wheels.
While the car's exterior dimensions at 4,310mm (169.7 inches) long, 1,780mm (70.1 inches) and 1,425mm (56.1 inches) tall are only slightly greater than on the previous Sportback, the new model now rides on a 2,636 millimeters (103.8 inches), an increase of 58 millimeters (2.28 in).
The five-door model is also 35 millimeters (1.38 in) longer between the axles than the three-door version, resulting in an increase in rear passenger legroom. The luggage compartment offers 380 liters (13.42 cu ft) of space in the basic configuration and can be expanded to 1,220 liters (43.08 cu ft) with the rear seats (60:40 split) folded down.
Just like the three-door A3, the Sportback benefits from a significant weight reduction by as much as 90 kilograms (199 pounds) compared with the previous version. According to Audi, when equipped with the 1.4 TFSI engine, the five-door model has a curb weight (without driver) of just 1,205 kilograms (2,657 lbs).
Speaking about engines (and as you will soon find out, lot's of numbers...), in Europe, the new A3 Sportback will launch with a choice of one TDI and two TFSI units, with more diesel and gasoline units to follow in late 2013.
Audi didn't reveal the output numbers of the base 1.6-liter TDI diesel, but it did say that with this engine and a six-speed manual gearbox, the Sportback accelerates from zero to 100 km/h (62mph) in 10.9 seconds and tops out at 194 km/h (121mph). We are also told that it consumers 3.8 lt/100km (61.9 US mpg or 74.3mpg UK) on average with CO2 emissions of 99 g/km (159.33 g/mile).
The diesel range includes two more 2.0-liter engines. The 148Hp (150PS) and 320Nm (236 lb-ft) version takes the A3 Sportback from zero to 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds en route to a top speed of 213 km/h (133 mph). Average fuel consumption is 4.6lt/100km (51.1 mpg US or 61.4mpg UK), corresponding to CO2 emissions of 120 g/km (193.12 g/mile).
The 181Hp (184PS) and 380Nm (280.27 lb-ft) variant of the 2.0TDI accelerates the car to 100km/h (62mph) in 7.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 232km/h (144mph), and has a combined fuel consumption of 4.3 lt/100km (54.7 mpg US or 65.7mpg UK) with CO2 emissions of 111h/km (178.64 g/mile).
The petrol range kicks off with a 1.2-liter TFSI, producing 104HP (105PS) and 175Nm (129 lb-ft) of torque. With the dual-clutch S tronic, it accelerates the A3 Sportback to 100km/h (62mph) in 10.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 193km/h (120 mph). Average fuel consumption is 4.9lt/100km (48mpg US or 57.7 mpg UK), corresponding to CO2 emissions of 114 g/km (183.47 g/mile).
Next up is the new 1.4-liter TFSI that weighs 21kg (46.30 lb) less than its predecessor. The four-cylinder unit generates 121HP (122PS) and 200Nm (147.51 lb-ft) of torque for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 9.3 seconds and a max speed of 203km/h (126mph). It consumes 5.3 liters of fuel per 100 km (44.4mpg US or 53.3mpg UK), which corresponds to 123 g/km of CO2 (197.95 g/mile).
Later in 2013, Audi will enhance the range with a more powerful version of the 1.4-liter TFSI producing 138Hp (140PS) 250Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque, which also features the VW Group's cylinder on demand (COD) system that deactivates the second and third cylinders to intermediate loads and while coasting.
With this engine, the Sportback will hit 100km/h from standstill in 8.4 seconds and top out at 213km/h (132mph). It will return an average fuel consumption of 4.7lt/100 km (50.05 mpg US or 60mpg UK) with CO2 emissions of 110 g/km (177.03 g/mile).
The gasoline engine lineup will also include a 1.8-liter TFSI rated at 177Hp (180PS) and 250Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque allowing for a 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) time of 7.3 seconds, top speed of 232 km/h (144mph) and average fuel consumption of 5.6lt/100 km (42mpg US or 60.1mpg UK) corresponding to 130g/km of CO2 (209.2 g/mile).
All engines in the new A3 Sportback are paired to a standard six-speed manual gearbox with an S tronic dual clutch transmission available as an option. Certain models will also be available with Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system.
The Ingolstadt-based carmaker said that in 2013, it will enhance the range with an S3 performance variant and a special model named TCNG fitted with a 109Hp (109PS) engine that emits below 30 g/km (48.28 g/mile) and consumes "Audi e-gas", which the company says it "produces itself in sustainable manner".
In 2014, the range will be expanded with the A3 Sportback e-tron sporting what Audi describes as "a powerful plug-in hybrid drive".
The new A3 Sportback will go on sale in Europe early next year starting with Germany in February for base price of €22,500. No word if and when the Sportback will come to North America.