LOS ANGELES – Audi arrives at the auto show here and not only unveils a new product line, but also what it says will be the best-connected automobile on the market.
With its expanded A3 line that provides 4G LTE solutions, the automaker is offering a “compact sedan designed for American tastes from the start,” Audi of America President Scott Keogh says.
Despite the ongoing woes of the U.S. economy, theluxury brand has notched 35 consecutive months of record sales, has delivered about 100,000 units this year and anticipates selling 150,000 units in 2014, Keogh says.
Regardless, Audi’s leadership believe more can be done to establish a better relationship with American consumers, and until that occurs the automaker really cannot deliver on its potential.
“Today’s announcement marks a new chapter,” Keogh says. Audi “needed to prove ourselves as a product” and now has reached a point where it can “convert promise into performance.”
Explaining the automaker is not merely “dipping a toe” in the compact-sedan market but is “absolutely diving in, full effort,” Keogh announces Audi’s launch of “an entire new family of vehicles…one made up of three body styles, five unique engines and seven variants.”
In the next five years, he says, “this once-sleepy segment is expected to grow by a factor of four, accounting for 57% of the expected growth in the entire luxury market.”
The product line is anchored on the architecture of Audi’s new A3 sedan, which will be joined next year by an Audi A3 Cabriolet, A3 TDI clean diesel, high-performance S3 sedan and, in early 2015, by the A3 Sportback e-tron gasoline-electric hybrid.
With a starting price of $29,900, the base A3 model is equipped with standard features that include Audi’s signature LED daytime running lights and taillights, Bluetooth technology, proprietary emergency maneuvering and passenger-restraint system and a panoramic glass sunroof.
Engines offered through the A3 line will include gasoline models from 170 hp-290 hp and diesel variants making 150 hp-220 hp.
All the A3 engine options will come with the Audi drive select system, which allows drivers to adjust throttle response, shift points and steering.
The technology-rich Audi A3 sedan will feature 4G LTE capability that meets Audi’s core expectations for a connected car, offered by no other automaker: a secure, truly high-speed wireless link to the Internet that provides access to a wide range of data.
With the 4G LTE service, drivers and passengers will be able to more easily and smoothly access online applications such as Google Earth and Google Street View, which come with Audi’s onboard Multi Media Interface navigation program.
The 4G LTE connectivity will enable faster downloads and high-definition video streaming for multiple devices used by passengers through an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot. Connected features will include picture navigation image saving, Facebook and Twitter alerts, access to 7,000 or more Internet radio stations, personalized news feeds and read-aloud news headlines.