The Audi A3 8L is the first generation of the Audi A3. The A3 is a small family car launched and sold in 1996. The launching of the Audi A3 8L marked Audi’s return to catering to lower market segment since Audi 50. A platform based, it is most similar with the Golf Mk IV and to give it a sportier appearance than the Golf, it was initially offered in three-door hatchback body type. It is available in front and four wheel drive. All initial engine models had four-cylinder configuration, transversally mounted.
In 2000, the A3 had a facelift and was redesigned. The new Audi A3 8L had new headlights, new rear light cluster and few minor design changes. The six-speed manual gearbox was introduced to the new 180 PS (178hp/132kW) 1.8 Turbo. It was also used in the newly introduced 130 PS (96 kW) 1.9 TDI. As part of the upgrade of the Audi A3 8L, the new Audi Electronic Stability Program (ESP) became standard feature. This EPS provides better traction and stability.
In 2003, the Audi A3 8L was replaced by the Audi A3 8P. Although it was replaced by the second generation A3 and was no longer sold in Europe, production continued since sales of the Audi A3 8L continued in the developing countries.
Audi A3 8p
The Audi A3 8P was launched in 2003 at the Geneva Motor Show as the second generation of the Audi A3. It succeeded the Audi A3 8L. It was designed by Walter de Silva and it was initially offered in three door hatchback body type. The initial model had four-cylinder engine although a new PQ35 platform became available. This new Audi A3 8P was redesigned to have roomier interior and the new petrol engine with Fuel Stratified Injection. It came with standard six-speed gearboxes.
In 2003, the sports models were introduced in the Audi A3 -8P line. The two sports models are the 3.2 VR6 engine producing 250 PS (184 kW) and the 2.0 Turbo FSI version producing 200 PS (147 kW). That same year, for the 140 PS (138 hp/103 kW) and over models, the Audi S-Tronic semi-auto gearbox and the Audi Quattro four-wheel drive were offered as optional features.
The following year the Sportback, a five door body type A3 8P was introduced. The Sportback is slightly longer than the three door body type, has redesigned rear cabin space, new front grille which was first seen in the A8 W12, and had larger luggage compartment.
Then in 2005, the S Line trim was offered to other models and the frontend of the Sportback was seen in some 3-door models. That same year Audi A3 8P was offered to the North American market and the available model for the particular market was the Sportback with 2.0 TFSI engine. The following year the 3.2 V6 Quattro engine was offered as well.
In 2006, Audi introduced the 2.0 TDI engine which produces 170 PS (125 kW). Then later that same year Audi also introduced the S3 version. At the same time, the 2.0 TFSI engine was given more power using the turbo pressure of the 1.2 bar. The new 2.0 TFSI now produces 265 PS (195 kW) and it is available with the Quattro and the six-speed manual.
The second generation Audi S3 also had more power and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds. Other changes for the S3 second generation includes lowering of ride height by 25mm and retuning of springs and dampers for harder setting. The 225/40 R18 tires remained standard.
In 2007, the 2.0 FSI normally aspirated engine was succeeded by the new 1.8 TFSI turbocharged engine. This new engine had 160 PS (118 kW) and is available in the front wheel drive models. That same year, the first “e” Audi A3 8P was also introduced. The “e” model is an ecological car which has less than 120g/km CO2 emission. It uses the new 1.4L TFSI engine.
The Audi A3 8P is very successful as small family car. Compared with its predecessor it has better market appeal and consumers consider the Audi A3 8P as one of the better small family cars in the market.