Dance on a Volcano: New Audi A3 with better driving dynamics than ever

Pure emotion: the original thought

In a place where volcanoes once created a whole chain of islands and where there is a high level of volcanic activity, Audi is demonstrating the core of its DNA: the quattro drive. The fourth generation of the A3 will present itself in its most emotive form in the pristine landscape of São Miguel, where the spectacular Azores Rallye is held. The all-wheel drive in the compact model is the latest stage in the evolution of a successful technology. An electro-hydraulic multi‑plate clutch that is managed by a precisely tuned all-wheel software forms its core. Aside from providing the A3 with a maximum level of stability, grip, and driving pleasure, it is also extremely efficient. In interaction with the adaptive suspension and the progressive steering, this results in a sporty performance that impresses in tight winding roads and varied mountain and valley stretches in particular.

Intelligent regulation: the quattro drive in detail

The clutch is located at the end of the prop shaft, in front of the rear axle differential – an installed position that benefits the axle load distribution in particular. Inside is a package of plates that operate in an oil bath. Its metal friction rings are arranged behind one another in pairs – one ring of each pair is rigidly meshed with the clutch housing, which rotates with the prop shaft; the other ring is meshed with the short output shaft to the rear axle differential.

Audi tailored the electronic torque distribution control specifically to suit the new A3 and integrated it in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. It takes the data of the suspension sensors into account and detects not only the driving condition and road properties but also the driving style. The control unit uses this data as a basis to calculate a torque distribution that provides optimum efficiency and passes the value on to the clutch. This is particularly efficient.

The all-wheel drive distributes the torque with full variability between the front and rear axles. During normal driving operation, the majority of the engine’s power is transmitted to the front wheels. When driving off or when the front axle has little traction, the clutch diverts the torque at lightning speed: In this case, an electric axial-piston pump is activated, which applies up to 44 bar of hydraulic pressure to the clutch plates. The more the clutch plates are pressed together by this pump, the more drive torque is transmitted to the rear axle – the maximum is 100 percent. The clutch can already transmit part of the torque to the rear axle when the driver turns the steering wheel with a sporty driving style. As soon as the driver accelerates, the torque presses the A3 into the curve. During load changes, the distribution of torque allows precise turning into the bend, which further increases driving dynamics.

Full control: the Electronic Stabilization Control

The wheel-selective torque control, a software function of the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC), is the icing on the cake when it comes to sporty characteristics. When the new Audi A3 drives through a curve at high speed, the program applies the brakes slightly to the two wheels on the inside of the curve. The difference in drive forces on both axles turns the car into the bend, allowing it to follow the steering angle precisely. This makes the handling even more agile, fluid, and safe.

The perceived response of the quattro drive is also changed in the three functional modes of the ESC. This allows the traction and driving stability to be adapted to the driver’s request. If the ESC has to regulate, its adjustments are gentle and virtually imperceptible. Maximum power transmission is ensured in ESC ON mode. This means that acceleration is safe and stable and performed with as little wheel slip as possible. By selecting Sport mode, the driver can drift on surfaces with a low coefficient of friction, such as snow, in a controlled, safe manner. The greater wheel slip in this case provides increased driving pleasure. In ESC OFF mode, the amount of possible wheel slip is nearly unlimited, allowing the Audi A3 to offer puristic handling characteristics.

Variable in every situation: the progressive steering

Due to their design, conventional steering systems always require a compromise between sportiness and comfort. The electromechanical progressive steering in the new Audi A3 solves this conflict. Its toothed rack and pinion have a special shape and toothing. This results in different gear ratios depending on the steering angle. When the steering wheel is turned in heavily, it is smaller and the steering is very direct. This decreases the steering effort in urban traffic and while maneuvering and increases the level of comfort considerably.

On curvy roads, the progressive steering increases the driving dynamics, allowing the A3 to offer an even sportier driving style. The steering wheel has to be turned just 2.5 times to get from end stop to end stop; the steering ratio in the center position is 14.3:1. The power assistance is in perfect harmony with this character and adapts to the driving speed. At low speeds, it is higher in order to enable easier maneuverability; as the speed increases, the power assistance is decreased continuously. This allows the driver to experience a calm, full steering feel even when driving at high speed on the highway.

The progressive steering is equipped with a highly efficient electromechanical drive that outputs power only when it is needed. It works together closely with various assist systems, such as the adaptive cruise assist, the collision avoidance assist, and the park assist.

New damper technology in the compact model: the adaptive suspension

Comfortably soft or sporty and taut? Both are possible with the suspension with adaptive damper control. Three damper characteristics ensure that the driver can experience the spread of the driving characteristics and enjoy particularly agile handling. Sensors measure the vertical acceleration of the body structure and the relative movement of the individual wheels in relation to it. The control unit processes its signal in a matter of milliseconds and adapts each damper to the condition of the road, the driving situation, and the driver’s requests in an individual and ongoing. The dampers include electromagnetically actuated valves that can be regulated extremely quickly and in a highly energy-efficient way. Depending on their position, they allow the hydraulic fluid to flow faster or slower, which changes the characteristics of the dampers between soft and hard.

The driver can switch the basic damper settings between the three modes of comfort, auto, and dynamic in the Audi drive select system. In doing so, the suspension increases the range between a soft rolling motion during smooth driving and with taut handling so that the driver gets an intense experience of the spread. In the case of a sporty driving style in curves, the dampers support the car and ensure that it does not dip as much when braking. This ensures that the wheels stay in closer contact with the road.

A question of character: Audi drive select

The Audi drive select system is the interface between the regulated suspension and drive systems and the driver. It can be switched between five modes – comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, and individual – via a physical button located near the gearshift or selector lever. If the driver selects the “individual” setting, they can freely specify their personal preferences to a great extent.

In every A3 model, Audi drive select varies the characteristics of the throttle response and steering assist. Depending on the equipment, the system also incorporates the S tronic, the quattro drive, and the suspension with damper control. It also influences comfort and safety systems such as the automatic air conditioning, matrix LED headlights, seat belt tensioner, and adaptive cruise control.

It came, it saw, it conquered: The Audi Q3 Sportback wins the readers’ choice award for “Best Cars”

** The collective fuel consumption values of all models named and available on the German market can be found in the list provided at the end of this MediaInfo.

“This victory for the Q3 Sportback** is extraordinary confirmation for us, especially since we already won last year with its close technical relative, the Q3**,” said Audi’s Head of Design, Marc Lichte, at the award ceremony, which took place today in Stuttgart. “Customers appreciate our concept of the compact premium SUV with a progressive exterior,” the Head of Audi Design added. “Its coupé-like roof line makes the Q3 Sportback appear considerably longer and thus makes it an elegant brother of the Q3.”

The “Best Cars” readers’ choice award, which “auto motor und sport” presented for the 44th time this year, is one of the most important competitions in the European automotive industry. More than 100,000 readers selected their favorites from 387 models in eleven categories. Each reader had two votes per category: one for the overall winner and one for the best imported model. The “compact SUVs/cross-country vehicles” category was the biggest category with 63 models, along with the large SUV category (also 63 models). The Audi Q3 Sportback won with 11.5 percent of the votes. Other Audi models on the podium: The A1 (“compact cars” category) won second place, and the A5 Sportback (“medium-size class”), the A8 (“luxury class”), and the e-tron (“large SUVs/cross-country vehicles”) each came third.

Fuel consumption of the models listed
(Fuel consumption, CO₂ emission figures, and efficiency classes given in ranges depend on the tires/wheels used as well as the selected equipment)

Audi Q3 Sportback
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km (US mpg): 7.7–4.7 (30.5–50.0); Combined CO2 emissions in g/km (g/mi): 174–123 (280.0–197.9)
Audi Q3
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km (US mpg): 7.6–4.7 (30.9–50.0); Combined CO2 emissions in g/km (g/mi): 174–124 (280.0–199.6)
Audi A1 Sportback
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km (US mpg): 6–4.7 (39.2–50.0); Combined CO2 emissions in g/km (g/mi): 137–107 (220.5–172.2)
Audi A8
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km (US mpg): 11.4–5.7 (20.6–41.3); Combined CO2 emissions in g/km (g/mi): 260–151 (418.4–243.0)
Audi e-tron
Combined electric power consumption in kWh/100 km (62.1 mi): 24.3–21; Combined CO2 emissions in g/km (g/mi): 0

Audi production digitalizes maintenance with an app

Whenever production equipment is due for maintenance or reports a defect, the maintenance experts are needed. The aim is to lose as little time as possible and get the equipment up and running again quickly so that automobile production can continue smoothly. To do so, maintenance staff need a lot of information that was not previously available to them in full and at a glance.

The “Audi Mobile Maintenance” app changes all this. It informs the maintenance staff instantaneously and fully automatically about defects in a system. By way of push notifications, the app provides them with all of the relevant information for their work in real time: Which equipment in which hall is affected? In which warehouse is a replacement available? And is another employee perhaps dealing with it already? – All this information can be viewed in the app in just a few clicks. This results in greater transparency, shorter paths, faster processes, and high data quality, as the defects and the work steps performed are recorded digitally on site by the maintenance staff. This also saves on paper for writing reports. In the future, all data will always be accessible to the whole team in detail using mobile technology.

The “Audi Mobile Maintenance” app was developed by a cross‑site team from Assembly and IT. Maintenance staff have already been working with the app occasionally on a trial basis for several months in assembly at the Ingolstadt plant as well as in the paint shop at the Neckarsulm plant. The app is to be rolled out there as well in the coming months. It is also planned to be used at other Audi plants. 

Audi racing drivers thrill fans at GP Ice Race

Hildegard Wortmann, member of the Board of Managament responsible for marketing and sales, was present and joined René Rast in the Audi RS 5 DTM as well as Stig Blomqvist in the Audi Sport quattro for several fast laps. “It was an impressive experience,” she said. “It was great to see the enthusiasm of the many fans at the circuit, they were treated to a tremendous show: a unique event that connects the history, the present and the future of motorsport.”

After the traditional ice race in Zell am See had celebrated a revival after 45 years last year, Audi racing drivers again treated spectators to an enthralling show. Daniel Abt turned several spectacular laps on snow with his Audi e-tron FE06 from the FIA Formula E and pulled the freestyle ski ace Benedikt Mayr on a rope, in traditional skijoring-style, behind his Formula E racer. “Bene is a professional skier, I drive race cars, so we had the idea to do something together here again,” said Abt. “Over time, this event with exciting racing cars from several marques and eras has turned into a hot spot of the motor racing scene. The drivers spend a great day together, there’s no competition pressure, and we give the fans a great show.”

Disappointing season opener for Audi Sport

Dries Vanthoor and his Audi Sport teammates Frédéric Vervisch and Christopher Haase had charged from 14th on the grid to seventh place when a rev sensor malfunctioned shortly before the halfway mark. After lengthy repairs, the team decided against sending the Audi R8 LMS back into the race. From then on, all hopes were on the No. 222 entry and the three Audi Sport drivers Mattia Drudi, Kelvin van der Linde and Markus Winkelhock. Van der Linde had posted the best qualifying result for Audi Sport with seventh. Subject to the pit stop sequence, the three drivers even battled for the lead, with van der Linde turning the fastest race lap in the final hour. A puncture halfway through the race caused damage to the right rear wheel arch, which resulted in another puncture. This cost five laps, including repairs. Ultimately, the driver trio saw the flag in 18th place. Meanwhile, an Audi Sport customer team scored a podium spot in its class. Marc Cini, Dean Fiore and Lee Holdsworth, who celebrated his 37th birthday on race day, brought home third place in the Pro-Am class for the Hallmarc squad, a repeat of the 2017 and 2019 results. This was the fourth time on the podium for the long-standing Audi customer Marc Cini. In 2015, the Australian had claimed third place in the Am-class. “Congratulations to our three private drivers and the Melbourne Performance Centre on another success,” said Chris Reinke. “While our customers enjoyed success at their home race, it is now up to us to make up ground in the remaining four races on the Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar.” 

Audi has already won five titles in the only global GT3 racing series. Round two, the Spa 24 Hours, is scheduled for the end of July. Prior to this, however, Audi Sport customer racing faces the challenge of the biggest car race in the world. After notching up the fifth victory last year, the brand is once again one of the hot favorites at the Nürburgring 24 hours from 21 to 24 May. 

Additional information
2020 Bathurst 12h photos  

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