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Motoring: Audi A3 | Mitsubishi Mirage | Renault Zoe

The Audi S3 Saloon. Picture: Contributed

The Audi S3 Saloon. Picture: Contributed

THIS just in… Audi has somehow managed to unearth another hitherto undiscovered niche and will launch the first ever three-box A3 in the UK later this year.

The A3 saloon and high-performance S3 saloons, pictured, will be available to order in the UK from the summer. Deliveries will start in the autumn for the A3 and in early 2014 for the near-300bhp S3 flagship.

At 15cm longer than the A3 Sportback, all of it behind the rear wheels, Audi says the booted A3 offers more luggage capacity than the five-door car with the seats up, and the same level of cabin space.

Two petrol engines and one diesel will be available at launch – a 1.4-litre 138bhp turbocharged petrol unit that can shut down half of its four cylinders under light throttle loads to save fuel, a 1.8-litre, 178bhp petrol turbo and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel with 148bhp. The S3 will get an all-new 296bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, plus quattro four-wheel drive. Coupled to a seven-speed auto ‘box, it’ll crack 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds.

Options on all cars include full LED headlights and a 4G connection to the internet, so you can post pictures of you and your new Audi to Facebook at mind-bending speed. Prices awaited.

Mitsubishi Mirage

With UK sales tumbling by a third to 6,549 last year, Mitsubishi dealers need new blood on the forecourt. The baby Mirage five-door hatchback is the only car in Britain to have 100g/km
CO2 or less across the range. Prices open at £8,999 for the 1.0-litre entry model and close at £12,999 for the Mirage 3 1.2 with CVT. Average mpg exceeds 65 on all versions.

4 x 4 x 5 million

Audi has just built its five-millionth quattro 4x4-equipped car. The first was the Quattro coupe that rocked the Geneva Motor Show in 1980. Quattro drive featured on more than two-fifths of Audis sold last year.

Five million is also the number of 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel engines made by Fiat at its factory in Bielsko-Biala, Poland. The fuel-sipper is used in, among others, the Panda, Punto, Qubo, Doblò, Strada, Fiorino, 500 and 500L, the Chrysler Ypsilon and Alfa Romeo MiTo.

Renault Zoe

Seen here looking like a baddie in a 1980s computer game (am I the only one who sees an evil face eating a registration plate here? Yes – Motoring ed), the all-electric Renault Zoe was unveiled to the motoring media in Lisbon last week. “It’s a real car!” proclaimed Renault, over and over again at the press conference. And to be fair, they have a point. It’s a rather nice drive. It’ll cost £13,995 to £15,195 thanks to a government grant, and the battery costs £70 per month to lease. Full review next week. Probably.

Citroen Ds3 Cabrio

Ach, relax. Summer will be here soon, we’re sure. And what better way to celebrate the impending heatwave than by placing your orders for Citroen’s chic ragtop DS3?

Scotsman Motoring took this buttercup yellow number for a sprint round the snowdrift-strewn lanes of Northamptonshire on Monday.

We just had time to confirm that the fabric roof opens and shuts at motorway speeds before hypothermia took hold. Prices start at £15,045 and we’ll have a fuller review once our fingers have thawed out.

Hi–de–high visibility, campers

It is not pretty in any colour and rather terrifying in pond-slime yellow, but Volkswagen’s van-based Caddy Maxi Camper may suit campers unable or not wanting a bigger vehicle.

It has five seats, a fold-out double bed, two deck chairs, portable table, electric cool box and awning as standard but you’ll need to eat-out or take a portable cooker or BBQ kit for meal times – and make arrangements for washing and the WC.

As it stands, it makes a good short-break overnighter or base camp stop-over, or would fit in with a well-equipped camp site with showers, cafeteria, etc. Privacy curtains, air conditioning, electric front windows, roof rails, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, leather steering wheel, front fog lamps, height adjustable front seats, trip computer, and cruise control are all standard. There is a choice of a 1.6-litre TDI with 101 bhp rated at 54.3 mpg, or a 2.0-litre TDI with 138 bhp with 49.6 mpg. DSG automatic transmission is available with both engines. Prices: from £23,397.

 

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