Audi has priced up the third generation A3 hatchback, due to go on sale in September 2012.
With the range starting at £19,205 and rising to £26,560 - before you've tackled Audi's infamous options list - the new A3 looks to be gunning straight for the new BMW 1-series.
How does the new Audi A3 model range shape up?
Mercifully, Audi has streamlined the range to keep things simple. At launch, there are three engines to choose from: a petrol 1.4 TFSI with 120bhp, a petrol 1.8 TFSI producing 178bhp, and the all-important diesel motor: a 148bhp 2.0 TDI.
For more technical details, check out CAR's first drive review of the new Audi A3 here.
Each engine is availiable in either SE, Sport, or S line trim, and while the 1.4 petrol and 2.0 diesel motors are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, the 1.8 is availaible only with Audi's seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission.
What are the spec levels on the new Audi A3?
Entry level SE models come as standard with 16-inch alloys, air-conditioning, Bluetooth and Audi's familiar MMI control interface with a folding dashboard-mounted screen.
Upgrading to Sport trim buys you 17-inch wheels, Audi's 'Drive Select' adpative controls for vehicle set-up, as well as climate control and sports seats.
Finally, top-of-the-range S line A3s are distinguished by 18-inch alloys, the sharper S line body styling, xenon headlights and part-leather upholstery. Further packages to add infotainment extras, interior upgrades and sportier suspension will arrive in due course.
How do these details compare with the Audi A3's rivals?
Starting at £19,205, the A3 cheekily undercuts the base-spec BMW 1-series by around £100, though the BMW has more powerful engines - a 116i is good for 136bhp - the 1.4 A3 has 120bhp. Mercedes has yet to announce prices for its radically different third-generation A-class, though we'd expect to see prices start somewhere very close to Audi's £19k benchmark.
Audi might have played it very safe on the styling front for this new A3 model, but there's method in Audi's lack of madness - the brand's sales swelled by 19% in 2011, with the A3 maintaining strong sales despite being based on a platform that dates from 2003.
We'd expect to see that success continue when the new Audi A3 goes on sale in the UK from September 2012.