The first Audi A3 from 1996 started the avalanche of intra-corporate globalization. It launched the legendary PQ34 platform, from 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 continuously. However, during the time of the first two generations (the second on the PQ35 platform), when even the sister cars were almost made of granite, it was perhaps only able to impress with bolder sports derivatives and wider options for customer individualization. On the other hand, it wasn’t much more expensive than golf.
The A3’s golden hour came with the arrival of the MQB platform – right at the debut of the third generation in 2012. With MQB, in addition to the new TDI and small TSI (traditionally TFSI at Audi), the trend of savings also came – in terms of weight and production costs. The group’s cheaper cars approached it really straightforwardly – the “iron” was simply reduced. The premium Audi, on the other hand, could really shine. It gave the A3 a more complexly constructed, extremely rigid and light bodywork combined from steel and aluminum parts, which it also soundproofed the most consistently. Although the cheapest engines also received a simpler rear axle with a torsion beam (hatchbacks up to 85 kW), following the example of their poorer relatives, the similarity ends there. All versions have an acoustic windshield, and the ordinary basic diesel 1.6 TDI, which in the neighbor’s Octavia with a five-quart grunts like a gravel crusher, only purrs lightly here. A six-speed manual with an honest dual-mass flywheel (not just an economical sprung clutch disc) still works wonders.
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