Audi used its not-Geneva digital show on Tuesday to unveil the fourth-generation A3 compact car.
Shown here in Sportback trim, this particular shape of A3 is unlikely to grace American shores. But give it the less practical sedan treatment, and you can expect a lot of the same style when the three-box model replaces the current one here.
The new-age A3 blends familiar proportions with sharper detailing. It gets thinner, wider, even more angular headlights than before, with the grille getting the same stretched treatment. Audi’s hexagonal grille shifts downward too, enough to gift the A3 with a more prominent slit between the headlights, a la RS models. Its flanks are less slab-sided, with wider fender flares and a slightly concave surface to emphasize them.
Those that bemoan the constant expansion of the modern car will be happy to know the A3 has only grown 1.2 inches in length. Its height and wheelbase remain the same as the current model.
As expected in a modern four-ringed car, the interior of the A3 goes big on tech. A standard 10.1-inch touchscreen dominates the center console, running the latest version of Audi’s MMI system. It features ten times the current model’s computing power, and even comes with a WiFi hotspot. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is standard too, with a larger 12.3-inch option available, as well as a head-up display.
The new infotainment system allows for up to six user profiles, storing seating, climate, and navigation preferences. It also features car-to-X services, just like its Mk8 VW Golf platform mate. An available digital car key — only on Android phones — will arrive after the A3’s initial launch.
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The rest of the interior is pretty standard German fare, though the seating material is made from recycled plastic bottles. Neat!
Engine choices in Europe come in the shape of a single gas and diesel unit each, with the the latter in two states of tune. The 1.5-liter TFSI produces 148 hp, while the diesel comes with a choice of 114 or 148 hp outputs. At launch all A3s will power only the front wheels, via a choice of either six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions. Audi does tease a further expansion of the lineup however, including the expected Quattro drivetrain and more engines, including electrified options.
When it eventually arrives in sedan form on these shores, we expect the A3 to continue to feature Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot and only the DSG. In the current model that translates to either 184 hp and 221 lb-ft, or 228 hp and 258 lb-ft in the Quattro model.
Sales of the new A3 Sportback will begin later this month in Europe. Expect a sedan reveal before 2020 ends, and American sales shortly after that. It will arrive right on time to fight the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and newly front-wheel drive BMW 2 Series Grand Coupe. Further down the line, replacements for the sporty S3 and fire-breathing RS3 shouldn’t be too far behind.