Audi has released its fourth iteration of the A3 compact hatchback, boasting fresh tech, new powertrains and an updated design. Order books will open in March, with the first cars hitting our roads in May this year.
As with all of VAG’s recent offerings, mild-hybrid options are in the pipeline, but Europe will receive a 148bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged four-pot at launch, alongside a 2-litre diesel in either 114bhp or 148bhp states of tune. All initial variants will send power to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. To keep temperatures down and efficiency up, certain models come equipped with a moveable air intake that opens and closes depending on the conditions.
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A 108bhp 1-litre turbocharged three-cylinder will come in time, as will a 48V mild-hybrid 1.5-litre system in two power levels, a plug-in hybrid and a Compressed Natural Gas car. All-wheel-drive quattro is also set to make its way into the range.
Predictably, design changes have brought the compact hatch up to speed with the rest of the range, applying a larger, hexagonal grille complete with a honeycomb pattern as seen on models such as the A1. Most notable are the new headlights, coming with digital daytime running lights when specified with the range-topping matrix LED units, a first for an Audi.
The new A3 employs Audi’s very latest tech, offering a 10.1-inch infotainment display and 10.25-inch virtual cockpit as standard, with a larger 12.3-inch virtual cockpit available at a cost. A new head-up display that projects the image over 6ft ahead of the driver also makes an appearance, alongside the 992-esque gear selector, gesture volume controls and an optional 15-speaker, 680W Bang & Olufsen Premium sound system.
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa will all be available, but most intriguing is the introduction of ‘Car-to-X’. The system allows the car to communicate with other vehicles and local infrastructure, providing the driver with information on parking spots, and even traffic lights. The use of three radar sensors, 12 ultrasonic sensors and five cameras also provides drivers with an array of safety and assistance features, such as advanced, lane-keeping cruise control that can operate at up to 130mph.
Adaptive dampers and variable-ratio steering can be had at an additional cost, and multi-link rear suspension comes as standard on all cars with 148bhp or more – torsion beams are what you’ll find on lesser models.
UK figures are yet to be announced, but pricing for the basic 30 TFSI variant starts at €26,800 (£22,851), whilst the 148bhp 35 TFSI will set you back €28,900 (£24,629). Order books open in March, and first cars are set to hit the road in May 2020.