The Audi A3 takes advantage of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture. This architecture, Modularer Querbaukasten – or Modular Transverse Matrix, allows the VW group to define the placement and range of dimensions a group of vehicles are built on. While the position of engine and transmission are common, as can be the hard points to mount suspension components, the individual piece parts can be specific to a vehicle.


The benefit of the platform matrix is that there can be commonality of parts, where that makes sense, and common manufacturing facilities. Don’t think of this as common parts except for front and rear fascias (as some manufacturers did in the 1970s and 1980s), rather as a set of defined limits of where to position components. Springs, shocks, engine tune, transmission, body panels, length, width, and height can vary – within the defined limits of the architecture – for any number of vehicles.

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Audi then inserts one of the E888 gasoline engines – in 1.8 or 2.0 flavors and a six speed auto/twin-clutch gearbox, sadly no manual for the A3 variants. The 1.8L is front wheel drive, where the 2.0L is coupled to Audi’s quattro all wheel drive. A TDI diesel is coming and hopefully the high output 2.0L gasoline engine in the S3 variant. The engines utilize a cast iron short block, aluminum – four valve – cylinder heads, direct fuel injection (capable of lean-burn operation), and an exhaust manifold with a cast-in turbocharger housing. The 1.8L is good for 170 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque, while the stroker 2.0L makes 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

Let’s have a look at the 2014 Audi A3 from inside out.

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