Nearly every Audi model has benefited from a substantial update lately, but the little A3 was still waiting for its turn. With the Geneva Auto Show cancelled due to the coronavirus, the brand unveiled the fourth generation online yesterday.
For now, we only get to see the five-door A3 Sportback, a variant that’s no longer sold in North America where Audi prefers to focus on the sedan and cabriolet. Asked about a possible return, the regional director for Eastern Canada, Sami Benmeradi, refused to make any kind of promise or announcement while attending the Quebec City Auto Show earlier this week.
Still, this A3 gives us a great preview of the new design and technologies the four-door model will introduce on this side of the Atlantic.
Heavily inspired by the Q3 crossover, which is built on the same platform, the new Audi A3 Sportback features much sharper and more modern lines, especially up front. The new headlights (with available Matrix LED lighting) and Singleframe grille are quite attractive, but let’s not forget the redesigned wheels sitting under muscular fenders emphasized by the inward curve the bodysides.
The cabin is roomier than before and borrows many attributes from Audi’s higher-end products. The dashboard (including the 10.1-inch touchscreen), instrument cluster (once again available with the 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit), centre console and trim elements have all been revised. The final result is pretty impressive. And get this: seat upholstery made of recycled PET bottles and adorned with beautiful contrasting stitching are being used for the first time.
Head-up display can be specified for drivers who want to have key information closer to eye level, while the MMI operating concept is powered by the new third-generation modular infotainment platform with a processor that is 10 times faster than the old one. An integrated Wi-Fi hotspot is also included.
As for the engines, the press release mentions three options for Europe, but these have nothing to do with the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder (228 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque) we already know and will surely retain, along with the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. The sporty S3 and RS 3 variants will be revealed at a later date. Audi is also talking about electrified powertrains in keeping with the rest of the lineup.
Other than that, look for a sportier-tuned suspension and additional advanced driver assistance systems that help prevent collisions.