The original MQB car is finally ready to enter its fourth generation with an evolutionary exterior and a significantly different cabin that some might say has Lamborghini influences. Say hello to the new Audi A3 Sportback that no longer has a three-door cousin as the less practical body style has been phased out due to slow demand. It will be followed likely later this year by the sedan, but for the time being, the peeps from Ingolstadt are focusing on the hatchback.
See Its Sedan Cousin:
Even though the A3’s teaser campaign included a preview of the hotter S3, we’ll have to settle for the regular model for now. Three centimeters longer (at 4.34 meters / 170.8 inches) and wider (at 1.82 meters / 71.6 inches) than its predecessor, the new Mercedes A-Class rival keeps the 2.64-meter (104-inch) wheelbase of its predecessor and has a reworked body with a drag coefficient of 0.28. Cargo volume varies from 380 liters (13.4 cubic feet) with the rear seats in place to 1,200 liters (42.3 cubic feet) once you fold them down, which just so happens to match the BMW 1 Series.
Gallery: 2021 Audi A3 Sportback
As with just about every Volkswagen Group car out there, the exterior styling takes the evolutionary route and follows Audi’s recent design language with those smart-looking headlights and taillights. Interestingly, the daytime running lights will be different depending on the version (S Line, S3, RS3), and buyers will be able to pay extra to get matrix LED headlights that are becoming more common in the compact segment.
With the roof rails in place, the new Audi A3 still looks sort of like a mini wagon even though you’ll have to get a Golf, Leon or Octavia for an actual MQB-based compact wagon. The base model will ride on 16-inch wheels, but the fancier ones will have alloys as large as 19 inches. An optional suspension will bring the car closer to the road by 10 millimeters (0.4 inches), while a sports suspension will lower the ride height by 15 mm (0.6 inches) to enable more agile handling also enhanced by the progressive steering with a variable steering ratio.
While the exterior is not much of a surprise, the cabin has been thoroughly modified and now accommodates an angular dashboard hosting a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster that can be optionally bumped to a 12.3-inch size. Ten times more powerful than the old setup, the infotainment system has a 10.1-inch diagonal and is neatly integrated into the center console rather than sticking out from the dashboard like it did on the outgoing model.
The new A3 doesn’t get a secondary touchscreen for the climate controls like on the bigger and more expensive models. It has traditional buttons below the MMI infotainment system that provide quick access to the car’s most common features rather than having to navigate through the multiple menus of the touchscreen display.
save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Audi A3
Much like its MQB cousins, the Audi A3 equipped with the automatic transmission benefits from shift-by-wire tech that frees up room between the front seats since there’s no mechanical linkage between the gear-shifting lever and the transmission anymore.
The engines are the ones you’d expect after seeing the latest wave of MQB compact cars, with a turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline unit offered in a traditional version and with a mild-hybrid variant. Both produce 150 horsepower and are joined by smaller three-cylinder 1.0-liter unit with 110 hp. On the TDI side, there’s a 2.0-liter with 116 hp and 150 hp for those who are still fans of diesels. Buyers will get to pick from either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic, but the electrified powertrain is an S Tronic-only affair.
The Best Is Yet To Come:
Initially, the new Audi A3 will come only with a front-wheel-drive layout, but it won’t take long for the Quattro-equipped models to join the lineup. There will also be additional engines, topping out with the 2.5-liter five-cylinder of the RS3 with around 400 horsepower. Two plug-in hybrid versions using the same setup (1.4 TSI + electric motor + six-speed DSG) as the electrified Golf are also on the menu with some electric range suitable for the city.
You're not going to like this, but all cars with engines that have less than 150 horsepower will have a torsion beam suspension at the back whereas the more powerful models will be upgraded to a multi-link arrangement.
Audi is already taking preorders in Germany and will start customer deliveries in May, with early adopters being able to get the Edition One model featuring an assortment of optional equipment.
Success model 4.0: the new Audi A3 Sportback
- Five-door premium compact car with a sporty design
- Technologies from the full-size class – from infotainment to driver assist functions
- Powerful TDI and TFSI engines with high efficiency
Audi established the premium compact class segment with the A3 in 1996. The fourth generation of the success model is now being introduced on the market – sporty, digitalized and fully connected. Beneath the progressive design of the body of the new A3 Sportback lie many innovations from the full-size class, for example the infotainment, suspension, and driver assist systems.
Distinctive: design and lighting
The new Audi A3 Sportback features compact proportions and a sporty design. The wide Singleframe and large air inlets at the front end accentuate the dynamic character of the premium compact car. The shoulder of the body extends in a smooth line from the headlights to the rear lights. The surface below is curved inward – a new element of Audi’s design that puts a stronger emphasis on the wheel arches. The digital daytime running lights of the Matrix LED headlights are a further innovation. They consist of a pixel array made up of LED segments in a three by five arrangement that create special light signatures and make the A3 immediately recognizable. The sporty and sophisticated design is continued in the interior with the new shifter, aluminum or carbon inlays, striking door openers and an instrument panel with a black-panel look. Seat upholstery made of recycled PET bottles and adorned with stylish contrasting stitching are being used for the first time.
Digitalized: controls and displays
The cockpit of the A3 Sportback is wholly focused on the driver. It uses familiar elements from the brand’s full-size models and is equipped with a 10.1-inch touch display as standard, which is integrated into the center of the instrument panel. This recognizes letters entered by hand, provides acoustic feedback and can be controlled using natural language. The instrument cluster, which the driver operates via the multifunction steering wheel, is also digital as standard. The Audi virtual cockpit offers additional functions such as a large display of the navigation map. The plus version measures 12.3 inches and offers three different views, including graphics with a sporty look. A head-up display that projects important information onto the windshield in color can be installed upon request.
Intensified: the infotainment
The MMI operating concept is powered by the new third generation modular infotainment platform. Its computing power is ten times higher than that of its predecessor, it performs all tasks relating to connectivity, including telephony and the Audi connect services with LTE Advanced speed, and also has an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot.
Individual settings can be stored in up to six user profiles – from climate control and the seat position to frequently selected navigation destinations and frequently used media. The DAB+ digital radio is included as standard and the online or hybrid radio is available as an option. Route guidance is even easier and more flexible. For example, the navigation offers predictions on the development of the traffic situation, high-resolution satellite images from Google Earth and detailed 3D models of many major European cities. Audi connect enriches points of interest with photos, opening hours and user reviews. The connect services also include the car-to-X services. They help with finding free parking spots on the roadside or allow the driver to surf the green wave by communicating with traffic lights. The A3 Sportback is connected to the smartphone via the myAudi app, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, as well as via the Audi phone box. The latter connects the device to the car antenna and charges it inductively. The Audi connect key, which authorizes the customer to lock and unlock the car and start the engine via their Android smartphone, and Amazon Alexa will follow shortly after the market launch.
Sophisticated: the engines
The new Audi A3 Sportback is being launched in Europe with a choice of three engine versions – a 1.5 TFSI with 110 kW (150 PS) (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 5.1 – 4.8*; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 116 – 111*) and a 2.0 TDI that delivers 85 kW (116 PS) (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 3.6 – 3.5*; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 96 – 92*) or 110 kW (150 PS) (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 3.9 – 3.7*; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 103 – 98*). All engines impress with their powerful torque and sophisticated running characteristics. The engine versions at start of production will be combined with front-wheel drive. Power will be transmitted by a six-speed manual transmission or the quick-shifting seven-speed S tronic, the selector lever of which is now designed as a compact shifter. The driver can push and pull this to control the basic functions of the automatic transmission. Shortly after market launch, Audi will be gradually expanding the offer to include further engine versions, including electrified drive systems and versions with quattro drive.
Refined: the suspension
The suspension of the new A3 Sportback – with a four-link rear axle for engines from 110 kW (150 PS) – is sporty and balanced, combining pleasant ride comfort with good dynamics. Upon request, the suspension is available with adaptive damper control, which simultaneously lowers the body by 10 millimeters (0.4 in). Each damper permanently adapts to the road condition, the driving situation and the settings in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, creating a wide spread between highly comfortable roll motion and agile handling. With the sport suspension – standard in conjunction with the S line exterior, otherwise an option – the focus is clearly on the latter. Due to the tauter tuning of the suspension and dampers and the fact that the vehicle is lowered by 15 millimeters (0.6 in), the compact model conveys an even more direct contact with the road surface.
Well versed: the driver assist systems
Equipped with Audi pre sense front, swerve assist and lane departure warning, the A3 Sportback helps prevent accidents with other road users and offers a high level of safety as standard. Further assist systems, such as the lane change and exit warnings as well as the cross-traffic and park assist systems, are available as an option. The adaptive cruise assist, which customers know from many of the full-size models, assists with longitudinal and lateral guidance. It maintains the speed and distance to the vehicle in front and assists with lane guidance by means of gentle interventions in the electromechanical steering. This increases the level of driving comfort during long journeys in particular.
Optimized: the space concept
The new A3 Sportback offers more space and functionality combined with compact external dimensions. Measuring 4.34 meters (14.2 ft) in length and 1.82 meters (6.0 ft) in width without the mirrors, the premium compact car has grown by just over three centimeters (1.2 in) compared with its predecessor. The height of 1.43 meters (4.7 ft) and the wheelbase of 2.64 meters (8.7 ft) remained unchanged. Depending on the position of the rear bench seat, the luggage compartment holds between 380 (13.4 cu ft) and 1,200 liters (42.4 cu ft), and the loading floor can be inserted at different heights. An electric tailgate, which can also be controlled with a foot motion, is available upon request.
Scheduled: market launch and prices
Presales of the new Audi A3 Sportback start in many European countries in March 2020, with the first vehicles to be delivered to customers at the beginning of May. The 1.5 TFSI with 110 kW (150 PS) (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 5.1 – 4.8*; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 116 – 111*) starts at 28,900 euros. The market launch will be accompanied by a special-edition model: the A3 Sportback edition one with exclusive features. From the outside, it can be recognized by attachments in matt platinum gray as well as darkened Matrix LED headlights and 18-inch wheels in titanium gray. The S line interior with newly developed sport seats including integrated head restraints, aluminum inlays and stainless steel pedals round out the dynamic look.