Sustainability

Audi utilizes recycled PET bottles for interior of new A3

The journey from plastic bottle to seating material ends with the plastic incorporated in to the Audi A3.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

As buyers become more eco-conscious, they're switching buying behaviors, opting for up-cycled and recycled materials more and more. Many industries are latching onto the trend and designing products out of recycled cloth, PET bottles, and rubber. Ford has been one of the leaders in this movement, showing off its tomato-infused trunk and soy-filled seats half a decade ago.

Now, Audi is getting in on the game and signaling that the innovation is part of the company's larger corporate strategy of sustainability.

2020 Audi A3 sedan Audi hopes to include recycled material in all its seats soon.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Seat upholstery in the fourth-generation Audi A3 is made from secondary raw materials. Up to 89 percent of the textile used consists of recycled PET bottles.

According to Audi, here's how the process works:

The bottle disappears in the hole of the reverse vending machine, and the customer in Germany gets €0.25. But what happens then? While still in the shop, the disposable bottles are compressed for truck transport in order to save space. Once they have arrived at the recycling plant, they are sorted by color, size and quality. Foreign matter such as the caps are separated. A mill then crushes the bottles into flakes, which are washed, dried and melted down. Nozzles shape continuous plastic strands out of the mass. Once they have dried, a machine chops them into small pieces. This results in granulate, otherwise known as recyclate, and this undergoes extrusion to create threads. Wound onto coils, these are used in the final stage to manufacture materials.

The material from up to 45 PET bottles ends up in as part of a seating system. Additionally, 62 PET bottles per vehicle are recycled and used for the A3's carpeting.

Why is just 89 percent of the seat made up of recycled material? "The lower layer of woven material, which is connected to the upper material with adhesive, is what poses the challenge. We are working on replacing this with recyclable polyester," says Ute Grönheim, who is in charge of material development in the textiles division at Audi. "It is our goal to make the seat upholstery completely from unmixed material so that it can be recycled again. We are no longer very far away from this."

Audi is using secondary raw materials in other parts of the vehicle as well including the side panel trims of the luggage compartment, the loading floor, and the mats. The company has set the goal of making all seat upholstery material, across all model series, from recycled material.

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All-new sports sedans

All-new 2022 Audi A3 and S3 coming soon

The 2022 A3 gets sharper styling.

Audi

The Audi A3 and S3 might be small, but both cars bring benchmark performance and luxury to the compact side of the premium market. The cars have been totally overhauled for the 2022 model year, and pick up new powertrain tech, updated interiors, and sharper styling.

Audi says that the A3 is wider and more aggressively styled than its predecessor, and notes that it will carry a new, wider grille and headlight design. The S3 is now longer and wider than before, and will sport a larger, more aggressive exhaust system.


2022 Audi A3 The A3's interior gets new color options for 2022.Audi


The 2022 A3 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 201 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The powertrain also gets a 48-volt mild-hybrid boost for the first time in 2021, which will provide better take-off acceleration and can allow the car to coast with the engine off.

The S3 derives 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, which is a bump of 18 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque over its predecessor. Audi says that the new powertrain configuration allows the 2022 S3 to sprint from 0-60 mph in only 4.5 seconds. The S3 also benefits from a .6-inch drop in ride height and new available S sport suspension with damper control that can be adjusted with drive mode selections from the cockpit.


2022 Audi S3 The sporty S3 has also been redesigned for 2022.Audi


The A3's interior brings standard heated setas with eight-way power adjustment, a standard panoramic sunroof, tri-zone climate control, and leather upholstery. Two new color options are available for the 2021 A3, including Santos Brown with Steel Gray stitching and Parchment Beige with Steel Gray stitching. The S3 gets new power-adjustable S sport seats, and can be upgraded inside with diamond-stitched Nappa leather upholstery.

A 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard for both cars, along with a 10.25-inch digital gauge display. Audi's virtual cockpit system, which can project maps and other information into the gauge cluster, is available with a 12.3-inch gauge upgrade option. A head-up display is also available for the first time in both cars.


2022 Audi S3 The S3's interior has been updated with new seats.Audi


Audi includes a few advanced driver aids as standard equipment, which include forward collision warnings, high-beam assist, lane departure warnings, and a pre-collision system that shuts windows and pretensions seatbelts. Most features are optional, and include a parking assistance system, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind spot monitoring, and more.

The 2022 Audi A3 will have a starting price of $34,945, which includes a $1,045 destination charge. The A3 Quattro will start at $36,945 and the 2021 S3 will have a starting price of $45,945.

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Audi is adding new features to its MIB 3 system.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG
Starting in 2020, Audi began installing its next-gen MIB 3 infotainment system throughout its lineup. Two years on, the German automaker is adding new functionalities to the system including integrated Amazon Alexa.

The latest MIB 3 infotainment features are anticipated to be available starting summer and fall 2021 in 2022 Audi A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q5, Q7, Q8, E-tron, and E-tron Sportback models. This includes Personalization 2.0, which allows users who have a saved profile to transfer their seat adjustment, radio station favorites, and climate control settings from vehicle to vehicle.

MIB 3 initially had Alexa as a push-to-talk function using steering wheel controls. For the new model year, Alexa will be able to be activate using "Alexa" voice commands within the cabin.

Audi MIB 3 infotainment system Audi is expanding SiriusXM with 360L to more vehicles. Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Users will an Apple ID and active Audi connect Prime or Plus subscription will be able to log into their account and play Apple Music without needing to pair a phone.

Audi is expanding its SiriusXM with 360L to more models. The tech will be offered in the 2022 E-Tron GT with a subscription. It current is available in the 2021 Audi Q3, Q5, Q7, Q8, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, E-Tron, and E-Tron Sportback.

Android Auto users will be able to wirelessly connect to Audi systems on select vehicles starting with the 2022 model year. The Audi Q3, Q5, Q7, Q8, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, E-Tron, and E-Tron Sportback all will be enabled.

New features have been added to the myAudi app as well:

  • Select models now available with Function on Demand features, including MMI Navigation plus (select Audi A4, A5, and Q5 Premium and Premium Plus models), and Light Function Package (Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback Premium models); more features to be added at a later date
  • A revised e-tron route planner for electric vehicles that can sort public charging stations with a greater level of detail between Level 2 AC chargers and Level 3 DC fast chargers
  • Additionally, all MIB 2, MIB 2+, and MIB 3 users will be able to enjoy a revised myAudi app with easier-to-use functionality

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