The new generations of two European hatchbacks, the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class, will make their public debuts in March at the Geneva Motor Show. Auto Motor und Sport reports that both models are designed to take on the forthcoming Volkswagen Golf VII, which will be revealed this fall at the Paris Motor Show.
Audi gave us an early peek at the next A3 at the Consumer Electronics Show, revealing that the car will adopt the more futuristic interior design of the smaller A1, as well as a new MMI Touch infotainment interface. The new A3, which will debut as a 2013 model, will be offered in three-door hatchback and convertible body styles, as well as in a five-door Sportback and a traditional sedan form directed at U.S. buyers.
Among the engine lineup will be a new turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four that features cylinder deactivation; it can run on only two or three cylinders in order to save fuel. There also will be a three-cylinder turbodiesel, as well as an assortment of four-cylinder gas and diesel mills displacing anywhere from 1.2 to 2.0 liters. Tech toys like a traffic sign recognition system, adaptive cruise, and self-park will all be available.
The top-spec Audi S3 will get a turbocharged 2.0-liter four with 280 hp, while the hard-core RS3 will get a 350-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five and quattro all-wheel drive. Both a manual and S-tronc dual-clutch transmissions will be on offer.
Mercedes-Benz, for its part, will unveil at the new A-Class in Geneva. Previewed by a QR code-covered prototype, the new A-Class adopts a new hatchback shape more like the Audi A3 and the BMW 1 Series hatch. Like the new B-Class, engine choices in Europe will comprise 1.6-liter gasoline engines and a 1.8-liter turbodiesel, with engine stop-start tech and either manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions. The top model will be the A25 AMG, which packs about 250 hp from a 2.0-liter turbo-four; it also will receive typical AMG upgrades like better suspension, new wheels, and so on.
The A-Class will get a raft of new technologies, including brake assist, self-park, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems, traffic sign recognition, and automatic high-beams. The A-Class will eventually be sold in the U.S. market, likely with the new turbocharged 1.8-liter inline-four engine that is found in the 2012 Mercedes C250.
Finally, Mercedes will supplement the A-Class hatchbacks — and counter the Audi A3 sedan — with its own small sedan called the CLC. It will be longer than the A-Class with swoopy coupe-like styling mirroring the larger CLS, with a possible convertible version to follow in the future.
Source: Audi Motor und Sport