The Audi A3 and A3 Sportback, the premium compact models from Audi, are raising their sporty profile with a raft of improvements and an accentuated design.

The facelifted Audi A3 will go on sale this summer as the 2009 Model Year and raises the already sporty profile of Audi's premium compact car with added technologies like the S tronic 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and magnetic ride system. Design is updated to fit in better with the new generation Audi's like the recently revealed Q5 compact SUV, featuring the same headlamps with the curved 'wing' element. Due to the modifications, the 3-door A3 grows by 2.5 cm to 4.24 meters in length while the A3 Sportback remains the same length at 4.29 meters.

The interior follows suit with aluminum details and restyled switches and controls. The instrument cluster now features black dials with red needles, a shift indicator to let the driver know which gear is recommended by the car and high-resolution white letters for the driver information. The A3 trunk has grown to 1,080 liters while the Sportback can hold 1,100 liters, with the quattro version offering slightly less cargo space due to the special rear axle.

Besides the top of the range S3 with 265 hp 2.0 TFSI engine, the A3 comes with a wide range of engine options. The entry level 1.6 liter develops 102 hp (75 kW), followed by the 1.4 TFSI (125 hp / 92 kW), the 1.8 TFSI (160 hp / 118 kW), 2.0 TFSI (200 hp / 147 kW), 3.2 quattro six cylinder (250 hp / 184 kW), 1.9 TDI (105 hp / 77 kW) and 2.0 TDI with either 140 hp (103 kW) or 170 hp (125 kW). The 1.6-liter gasoline engine can also be supplied in conjunction with manual transmission for low-cost running on ethanol E 85 fuel, while the 1.9 TDI e version can run 100 km on just 4.5 liters of diesel, thats over 52 mpg.

Only the two entry level A3's (1.6 and 1.9 TDI engines) are offered with a five-speed manual transmission, the rest comes standard with a six-speed manual while the 3.2 comes standard with the fully automatic or semi-automatic S tronic dual clutch transmission. Optional for most of the A3 range is the new Audi Magnetic Ride which can switch from a comfortable ride to crisply firm within milliseconds.

All of this will be available this summer for a starting price of Euro 20,350.

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