Reality Check: Audi A3 concept sedan, what it means for the US market

By Joshua Decker – Today Audi unveiled the A3 concept sedan at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show. Let’s not get too excited just yet! First we need a bit of a reality check — Though, It’s always fun to slip into a fantasy land and pretend that auto show concepts represent production versions.

So what is the production reality of the A3 sedan? Will we see it here in the USA? Definitely! Will it have 408 HP, space age LED lighting, carbon fiber wheels and grill? Probably not. Likely, the car will be produced with the milder 2.0T engine. And perhaps, if we are lucky, an efficient Clean Diesel TDI variant. Let’s hope that Audi sees fit to make quattro available in all engine packages because, no one wants to see another Frontrack only TDI. We need quattro! Sure, make it available in Frontrack for those living in sunny Southern California, but let’s be honest, an Audi without Quattro is just an upscale VW.

It is likely that we will see the new A3 arrive in the United States in September of 2012 as a 2013 model year car. By then we will have a clear picture of the options and refinements that will available. It’s also likely that Audi will introduce the latest MMI system that was shown off at SEMA in the new A3.

Expect a price point similar to the current A3. It will fit nicely in a market that Audi does not cover very well. It will compete directly with the BMW 1 series and even the Mercedes C class, which is notably smaller than the B8 A4.

My hope is that we see this beauty brought over in 3 different variants (Sedan, Coupe, and Sportback). I would like to see the magnificent inline 5 cylinder available in the S3 model that will eventually follow. However, I doubt we will see the 2.5T in a non S or RS version. If we do see a 408HP version it will no doubt be in an RS3 variant and the likelyhood of that hitting the US market isn’t strong.

What isn’t clear is how this will fit into the lineup with other “concepts” that have been given the production green light. Such as the quattro concept and the “R4” variant coupe which will fit in below the TT.

What is clear is that Audi is in the game to win. I would even go as far to say that Audi has built a product line that will dominate the luxury market. The new A8, A6, A4 and the new A3 will put Audi on top in the luxury game. Also, in Europe the current A1 and future A2 will fill a much needed inner city sub compact market.

I’m expecting the new Audi A3 to not just be a dream, but a reality. One that will give Audi a clear market advantage. With cars like this, it will be no surprise to me when Audi becomes the #1 highest selling luxury brand in the world by 2015 (Based on current sales growth and projections).

So what are your thoughts? Let’s hear them!

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