With the wraps finally off the BMW 2-Series, we now have a full slate of entry-level products from the German luxury designed to bring a whole new demographic into the arms of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. As much hand wringing as there is over the possible brand dilution going on here (all in the name of ever more important volume), it’s a damn good time to be a German car fan with around $30k to spend.
Tag: audi a3
As soon as I arrived at the rental counter in Stuttgart, I realized I’d made a fatal miscalculation. In the weeks and months preceding my trip, I thought the task would be easy – obtain two back-to-back rentals of vehicles that aren’t sold in the US. Simple. But that fickle foe of the flat-earth car enthusiast, globalization, had conspired against me. Turns out that despite my “premium class” upgrade, the EU-spec vehicles made from pure unobtainium that I’d reserved failed to materialize. Instead, my options in Dusseldorf – our first roadside waypoint on this European Vacation® – were limited to either a Toyota GT86 or an Audi A3 Sportback. Great, I thought. Two cars that, despite being sold in slightly different configurations abroad, were still known quantities back home. I went with the GT86 for the first leg because, well, I wanted to tear into it on the mother of all public racecourses, the Nurburgring. You can read how that went here. I also figured that in Stuttgart, there’d be a larger selection of rental vehicles to choose from, since the city’s slightly more populous and naturally the airport must be larger, too.
You won’t see them at the 2013 New York Auto Show, but Audi took the wraps off the MQB-based A3 and S3 for North America at a private event today.
Audi claims to have broken the dreaded “weight spiral” with their next upcoming A3. The new car will weigh nearly as much as the first-generation car did in 1997, despite being faster, safer and more luxurious.
“We decided not to take it,” said Audi of America CEO Johan de Nysschen, regarding the Audi A3 hatchback. The Detroit Bureau quotes Audi’s head man in the USA stating that not only will we not get an A3 hatch, the sedan version won’t share a single body panel with the Euro two-box version.
Audi fanboys who want emissions-free motoring will be sorely disappointed; the pilot program to try out an A3 E-Tron, will be limited to Audi personnel in Denver, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and San Francisco.
For between 12 and 18 months, employees will evaluate the A3 e-tron, before an electric A3, based on the next-generation car, debuts in 2014. Unlike BMW and Mini, customers won’t be providing data to Audi to help develop the car, like with the test programs involving the Mini E and BMW 1ActiveE.
In the endless
race to the bottom to be first in overall sales in America, Audi will be adding more models to their U.S. lineup, hoping to increase overall volume while copying Mercedes-Benz and BMW’s strategy of creating unwanted and useless niche models to pawn off on vulgarians with adequate credit to qualify for leasing money.