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The Audi A3 Saloon
Audi’s rival for the Mercedes CLA – the A3 Saloon

AUDI has opened up the UK order books for the new Audi A3 Saloon.

It’s the third body choice for the third-generation A3, which first appeared as a three-door hatchback last year.

A five-door hatch built on an extended wheelbase, the Sportback, followed shortly afterwards, and now, with the arrival of the Saloon, Audi is claiming to offer a wider choice than any other manufacturer in the premium compact sector.

Audi A3 Saloon
The A3 saloon follows swiftly on the heals of the Mercedes CLA – a tough competitor, but also one that helps stoke interest in the sector

This is the first time Audi has offered its big-selling A3 as a saloon, a body form that tends not to be very popular amongst UK buyers of cars of this size.

An Audi badge will help, though, and Mercedes’ similarly-sized CLA may be a tough competitor but its presence also helps stoke interest in the market for small premium saloons too.

But the big action will be going on elsewhere. Audi will, no doubt, be very pleased if British company car drivers develop a taste for the A3 Saloon, but it’s the Chinese and the Americans who will buy most of these cars, and saloons are eventually expected to account for about half of all A3 sales.

There are three engines in the initial line-up*. The solitary diesel is the 150PS 2.0 TDI, which achieves a combined 68.9mpg and emits 107g/km of CO2 so with the 3 percent diesel supplement company car drivers will pay 16 percent in company car tax..

The two petrol choices are 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre TFSI engines turning out 140 and 180PS respectively.

The 1.4 is initially available only with Audi’s self-shifting S tronic gearbox and also features Cylinder on Demand cylinder deactivation technology in the interests of economy. That means diesel-like fuel consumption of 60.1mpg, CO2 emissions of 109g/km and the lowest company car tax rate of all the saloons at 13 percent..

Further engine and transmission options will be available later on, including the Volkswagen group’s 1.6-litre 105PS TDI diesel and the quattro all-wheel drive system.

UK prices for the A3 saloon start at £24,275. All A3 Saloons are Sport or S line models and carry a price premium of £550 compared with their A3 Sportback equivalents. There are 425 litres of luggage space with the rear seats in place, 45 litres more than the Sportback offers.

The first A3 Saloons will be delivered to UK customers in September.

* Click here for full details of prices, emissions and company car tax rates for the new Audi A3 saloon range.

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