2012 Audi A3 will be safest yet

* 2012 Audi A3 to major on safety * Driver-tiredness tech as standard * On sale September, from around 19,000...

2012 Audi A3 will be safest yet

The 2012 Audi A3 will be available with a range of new electronic driver aids when it goes on sale in September.

Prices will start from around 19,000, although cheaper versions will join the range within a couple of months, bringing the entry-level price closer to that of the current A3, which costs from 17,400. It arrives at roughly the same time as the new Mercedes A-Class and Volvo V40, which will also be available with a range of high-tech safety features.

Audis driver-rest-recommendation technology which assesses the driver's driving style and shows a warning if it detects a decline in attentiveness will be standard across the new A3 range. The system will activate above 40mph, but can be switched off by the driver.

Optional safety technology includes adaptive cruise control (ACC), which works at up to 124mph and is capable of bringing the car to a complete stop, then pull away again if necessary.

Audi's Pre Sense is available as an option in two packages. Pre Sense Basic detects unstable driving through the cars stability control sensors, and tensions the front seatbelts accordingly. In the event of a skid, the sunroof and windows will close automatically.

The more expensive Pre Sense front system constantly assesses the road ahead, braking the car and warning the driver if it senses a dangerous situation developing.

Audi side assist and active lane assist detects cars approaching in the drivers blindspot and constantly monitors the cars position on the road correcting the steering if the vehicle strays beyond the white lines.

Automatic parking technology makes its way on to the A3 as an option, too. Parallel parking situations are taken care of with the driver controlling the gears and clutch, while the technology steers the car into the space after measuring the gap using radar.

Four ultrasound sensors and a rear-view camera are on hand to help the driver with reverse parking.

Rory White