Audi has taken the sheet off its smallest sedan, showcasing the new A3 ahead of its arrival in dealerships later this year.
The Sedan is currently the only version of the A3 to grace North American shores. The more practical A3 Sportback only just debuted last month, but that will remain out of our hands, at least for the time being.
As you’d expect, the A3 Sedan shares much of its styling with the hatchback. The front end is all but identical, with two chevron-shaped headlights flanking a wider iteration of the Audi shield grille. Electrically actuated louvers behind the grille regulate air, contributing to a low 0.25 Cd value, 0.04 lower than the existing sedan. Contrasting pentagonal air intakes frame the lower bumper.
Moving around the Sedan, its extra 5.9 inches of length over the Sportback is noticeable. It isn’t much larger than the existing four-door however, only gaining 1.6 inches in length and 0.8 inches in width. The wheelbase and trunk capacity remain unchanged, at 103.8 inches and 15 cubic feet, respectively. Height is also up by 0.4 inches, and Audi claims double that in additional headroom thanks to lower seat mounts.
Changes in styling begin at the second set of doors. Compared to the Sportback, the A3 Sedan has a longer, continuous lower crease along the doors, not angling upwards. The window line is naturally very different too, with a gradual slope downwards towards the rear deck. It’s more rakish than the previous model, but still reminds us more of the A-Class than the coupe-like CLA from the rear three-quarter. Audi has carved out significant negative space out of the A3’s flanks, giving it the impression of an even wider stance than 0.8-inch change suggest.
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Audi has given the interior a similar style overhaul. The biggest change from the Sportback in these press shots is the presence of an electronic auto shifter, ditching the manual of the hatch. The angular dash design houses a standard 10.1-inch touchscreen, while a slightly larger 10.25-inch screen sits ahead of the driver. Opting for Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit Plus bumps the latter to 12.3 inches and adds the ability to customize the layout. The touchscreen uses the latest version of Audi’s Modular Infotainment Platform, providing 10 times the computing power of the current model. It also features a WiFi hotspot, and the ability to store up to six user profiles.
In Europe, the A3 will feature car-to-X connectivity allowing it to crowdsource info on things such as road hazards, parking space availability, or emergency services. Android users will also be able to use their phone as a digital key. It’s unclear if either of these features will make their way to the US and Canada, and in what capacity.
We also don’t know if the powertrains Audi has revealed will show up on this side of the pond. Initially the A3 Sedan will launch with one diesel and one petrol engine, the latter coming in two versions. This 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder comes with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, developing 148 hp on its own. Opting for the self-shifter adds a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to the package, which bumps up available torque by 37 lb-ft. So equipped, Audi is targeting as high as 50 mpg on the New European Driving Cycle.
We certainly don’t expect the diesel to arrive here, but we’re also not holding our breath for the 1.5-liter either. We expect Audi’s ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbo mill to remain, which produces either 184 or 228 hp in the current A3.
The German brand will announce US pricing and availability closer to release later this year. Prices should start slightly above today’s current $33,300 MSRP.