The order book for the new three-door A3 model opens this week with prices from £19,205 to £26,560.

The range will initially feature three revised engines delivering efficiency gains averaging 12 per cent – 1.4 TFSI (122PS) and 1.8 TFSI (180PS) petrol and 2.0-litre TDI (150PS). There will be three specification levels – SE, Sport and S line.

The SE model features 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, a radio with an 11 millimetre-thin electrically folding screen, iPod connection, a Driver Information System, Bluetooth, a multi-function steering wheel and voice control for telephone and audio system functions.

Sport models upgrade to 17-inch alloy wheels and feature adaptive dynamics with five modes – Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency and Individual. They influence the weighting of the steering, the sensitivity of the throttle pedal, the shift points of the S tronic transmission (if fitted) and the parameters used by the optional adaptive cruise control system. Additional Sport features include two-zone climate control, sports seats and sports steering wheel.

S line models feature 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lamps and part-leather sports seats.

As you would expect, there are plenty of high tech features. The sat-nav system includes a hard disk for music storage and the MMI Touch fingertip recognition system enables navigation and phone entries to be 'written' with a fingertip. "Mobile Phone Preparation – High with Audi connect" brings Google Earth, Google Street View, Audi online traffic information and internet access to the car. Options include a 705-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system and a parking assistant that can take care of steering during parallel parking manoeuvres.

First deliveries of the new A3 will take place in September.