Audi A3 Quattro Sport Super Slick Auto Transmission

For the second generation of A3, Audi has tried to get further away from the Golf in styling. Both share the same under body, and the original A3 looked like a Golf with a low roof. Not so the new one. It has a distinctly different look, even though the straight lines and rectangular grille are not that distinctive.

The suspension has been developed to give a more sporty feel than on the Golf, and the interior reflects the more opulent style of other Audis. The new car is 2.5 inch longer and 1 inch wider than previously.

The roof line is also lower, so the seats have been lowered as well to give plenty of headroom. This lower roof and more sloping back make it look different from the Golf.

Top of the range, and definitely a pocket rocket, is the 3.2 quattro Sport Audi A3, which has a six-speed manual box as standard but the stunning DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) automatic as an option. On the 2.0 liter model, there is also a conventional six-speed automatic with Tiptronic control.

Ultra-compact 250 bhp V-6

The engine is the latest development of the VW Group's narrow angle V-6, now enlarged to 3.2 liters. Since the angle between the cylinders is only 15 degrees, the transverse engine is very compact, and fits snugly under the hood. Also available is a direct injection 2.0 liter gasoline engine, and also a 2.0 liter diesel.

With variable valve timing to give good top end and low end power without upsetting emissions, the new V-6 engine develops 250 bhp at 6,300 rpm, and 236 lb ft torque at 3,000 rpm. This is enough to move the A4 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds - nearly in supercar territory, and the maximum speed is 155 mph!

DSG a Grand Prix type of automatic

Audi's new DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox)-optional on the A3 is operated much the same way as the gearbox on a Grand Prix car. There are two buttons or paddles on the steering wheel - one to push to shift up, and another to shift down - and also a normal stick-shift. Several cars now sport this sort of box, but DSG is different - it doesn't have a torque converter (slush pump) to sap energy, but has an automatically operated clutch. To shift gears, you just push a paddle or push the gear lever, and in 0.2 seconds the shift is made. You don't even need to take your foot off!

How does it do it? Well. it has two multi-plate clutches, one connected to 1st, 3rd, 5th and reverse gears.The second clutch is connected to the other three gears. When a shift is made the gear is selected with the clutch open so it doesn't drive. Meanwhile, the other clutch is still lengaged so it transmits drive. Then, one clutch is disengaged and the other engaged at the same time. As a result, you get super-smooth shifts in the blink of an eyelid, at full throttle if you want. Of course, you can let the DSG act as a normal automatic if you want.

This is the ultimate high-speed shift system for ultimate performance. And because there isn't a torque converter like on normal automatics, the gas consumption is as good as a stick-shift. This spells the end of the normal stick-shift - if they can get the price down.

Suspension is pretty conventional, but to save weight the cross bars and track control mounts are aluminum. Struts are used at the front, and multi-links at the rear.

Electro-mechanical power steering

Also new is the electro-mechanical power-assisted steering. Usually, hydraulic assistance is used, but with an electric servo motor instead the steering feel and amount of power assistance can be set to suit different conditions - such as easy parking, but good control at high speeds.

Overall, this little Audi A3,is a true pocket rocket to roar past quite a few supercars!

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