The Audi A3 is a small family car produced by the German automaker Audi since 1996. Two generations of A3 exist, both based on the Volkswagen Group A platform, which they share with several other models such as the Audi TT, Volkswagen Golf, Caddy and Touran as well as SEAT León, SEAT Toledo and Škoda Octavia.
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Planned for production from 1993 under the control of Matthias Müller, the original A3 (or Typ 8L) was introduced in the European market in 1996, marking Audi's return to the lower market segments since the demise of the Audi 50. This was the first Volkswagen Group model to use the "PQ34" or "A4" platform, bearing a natural close resemblance to its contemporary, the Volkswagen Golf Mk4. The car was initially available only with a three-door hatchback body, in order to present a more sporty image than the Golf, in both front- and four-wheel drive. All engines were an inline four-cylinder configuration, and were transversely mounted. After the A4, the Audi A3 was the second model in the Audi lineup to use five valves per cylinder