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Audi A3 saloon to create new model sector

Date: 03 April 2013   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Audi's A3 lower medium saloon will make its UK debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Audi is hailing its forthcoming A3 saloon as the car to create a new segment in the UK marketplace. The firm reckons the lower medium saloon - traditionally not much of a seller in the UK - has the capacity to pick up some volume and potentially carve out a fresh niche.

Speaking to BusinessCar, UK managing director Martin Sander, said: "It's one of those cases where there is no real market for a compact premium saloon.

"Look at the present market and the past market - it's very hard to see where this car fits, particularly because there once was no premium compact market at all.

"Cars like the BMW 1-series, A-class, Volvo V40 and the Audi A3 just didn't exist.

"Judging by past success and looking into the present market you would say 'there's no business opportunity' [for a five-door hatch] but now we're selling north of 30,000 A3s and A3 Sportbacks every year, so sometimes it's possible to create a market segment and maybe we'll see something similar with the A3 saloon.

"[The saloon] is about the size of the previous generation A4. The D-segment [upper medium] has always been a big sector in the UK, so why shouldn't we be able to sell a few A3 saloons?"

An Audi spokesperson told BusinessCar: "You could have a scenario where, at the entry level to D-segment, you could downsize and have a bigger spec or bigger engine - that's the trick there and we believe it's going to have quite a lot of appeal to user-choosers."

The A3 saloon (pictured) will make its UK debut at the firm's Goodwood Festival of Speed stand in July. It will have two TFSI petrol engines - a 140hp 1.4 and a 180hp 1.8, the former with cylinder on demand technology, and a 2.0-litre 150hp TDI diesel.

The latter will be the most economical variant with 108g/km and 67.3mpg and a high performance 300hp S3 model will also be offered. Boot space will be 425 litres - 45hp up on the five-door A3 Sportback.

Audi has also announced that it will roll out standard digital radio across its range from the A1 supermini upwards as of this month.

This excludes the TT and the R8 sports cars, which will follow suit later in the year.