The Audi A3 firmly established the premium compact class in 1996. Now, 24 years later, the fourth generation of this highly successful model is ready to make its mark.
True to the brand’s Vorsprung durch Technik philosophy, the premium five-door compact once again sets new standards, incorporating an all-new digitalised interior and cutting-edge infotainment, unique new light signatures, powerful engines and a suite of innovative assistance systems enveloped in a completely redesigned, yet immediately recognisable body.
The new A3 Sportback has an athletic stance and its concave flanks introduce a completely new motif into the Audi design lexicon. They emphasise the dynamic appearance of the compact five-door vehicle, as do the heavily slanting C-pillars above the rear wheels. The shoulder line tapers upward from the headlights to the rear lights.
The front end is dominated by a wide, hexagonal Singleframe with a honeycomb grille. In interaction with the large, angular air inlets and the striking bumper, it visualises the sporty character of the premium compact car. At the rear end, the long roof edge spoiler makes the window appear low. Together with the shoulder line that extends all around the vehicle, the flat rear lights, the diffuser, and the trapezoidal exhaust screens, this effect emphasises the width of the vehicle.
The A3 can also be identified immediately by its headlights. Fitted as standard to Edition 1 and flagship Vorsprung versions, the matrix LED headlights integrate digital daytime running lights for the first time.
Digitalised: the cockpit
A black-panel look to the instrument panel and centre console, stylish contrasting stitching, striking door handles and a new shifter design all contribute to the high quality feel of the interior of the A3 Sportback.
The cockpit is fully focused on the driver. It uses familiar elements from the brand’s full-size class models and is equipped with a 10.1-inch touch display as standard. It can be used to adjust the settings of the media selection, navigation, and extensive connect services. The entire area is inclined slightly toward the driver, as is the newly developed control unit for climate control located below.
The design of centre tunnel console is designed to be particularly ergonomic. There is an innovative shifter integrated in its black-panel surface that offers the driver a completely new operating experience: Using shift-by-wire technology, the compact controller can be pushed and pulled to control the basic functions of the seven-speed S tronic.
The Audi A3 Sportback also comes with a 10.25-inch virtual cockpit as standard, which is operated via the multifunction steering wheel. The displays relating to the MMI navigation plus appear in the Audi virtual cockpit, which has many additional functions such as a large view of the navigation map. The Audi virtual cockpit plus with a 12.3-inch display is even more attractive, and is standard on the Edition 1 and Vorsprung trims: It offers three different views, including a sport layout. As a further option, there is a head-up display that projects important information onto the windscreen in colour. The image appears to be floating at a distance of around two metres in front of the driver.
The A3 Sportback is equipped with DAB+ digital radio as standard. Online radio and hybrid radio can also be installed upon request. The former provides access to online stations that are available worldwide, while the latter automatically switches between FM, DAB, and the online stream to ensure optimum reception at all times. The Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with virtual 3D sound at the front offers an intensive sound experience and drives 15 loudspeakers producing a total output of 680 watts. The B&O system is available as part of the Comfort & Sound Package, and features as standard equipment on the top-of-the-range Vorsprung.
All engines in the new A3 Sportback impress with their powerful torque and sophisticated running characteristics. In the UK, the premium compact model will be launched with two engine versions, both with front-wheel drive: a 1.5 TFSI manual with 150 PS and a 2.0 TDI that outputs 150 PS as an S tronic. In connection with this dual-clutch transmission, the A3 Sportback is fitted as standard with steering wheel paddles. Shortly after the market launch,a second version of the 1.5 TFSI with a mild hybrid system (MHEV) will follow. With this engine, Audi is continuing is electrification strategy in the premium compact class.
In terms of the paint finish, customers can choose from twelve colours. Audi now offers the completely new color Atoll blue, available on Technik and Sport. Upon request, the Audi A3 Sportback is now also available in Manhattan grey (Technik and Sport) for the first time.
The new A3 Sportback is equipped as standard with a 10.25-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit, a 10.1-inch touch colour display in the instrument panel, MMI Navigation Plus, Audi smartphone interface and Audi Connect Services Plus. Further standard equipment on the lead-in Technik trim also includes headlights with LED technology, 16-inch alloy wheels, electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors, Audi pre sense front, the lane departure warning, and the collision avoidance assist.
Next in line is Sport trim, which builds on Technik and adds 17” alloy wheels, interior and exterior styling upgrades, dual-zone electronic climate control, and twin leather upholstery.
S line models benefit from 18” alloy wheels, sport suspension, LED headlights with LED rear lights and dynamic rear indicators, front sport seats with twin leather, S-embossing and contrast stitching, upgraded interior inlays and privacy glass.
At the top-of-the-range is the new Vorsprung, which features all of the standard items from the Edition 1, but with alternative 19” alloy wheels, a panoramic sun roof, electric tailgate, sport seats in Fine Nappa leather, Bang & Olufsen Sound System, and Audi phone box with wireless charging. The Vorsprung also includes all of the latest safety features available on the new A3, such as Head-up display, Adaptive cruise assist, traffic sign recognition and parking assist.