Looks, performance and intelligence – the Audi A3 Sedan does it again and does it better than ever.
21 April, 2020
At Audi, coming up with a new model to follow one that has achieved enormous critical and popular acclaim has become something of an art form. The pressure of coming up with a worthy successor to a hugely successful model exists across the board, bringing out the best in the Audi design teams and engineers alike, ensuring a vehicle that builds on the legacy.
The second-generation Audi A3 Sedan is a perfect case in point, unveiled today in Ingolstadt and set to arrive in Australia in the first half of next year.
This striking new compact four-door sedan raises the bar set by the original A3 Sedan in 2013 when it first appeared on the world stage. The A3 Sedan struck a chord immediately when it joined the pioneering A3 Sportback in the compact luxury ranks. Here was a premium sedan with all of the appointment of the large luxury class, but reimagined and engineered in compact form and boasting styling that made it arguably the best looking compact sedan in the world (certainly in this writer’s opinion).
The all-new A3 Sedan takes that styling and reinterprets it using the current Audi design language and with a more contemporary and more aggressive twist – all the while staying true to the car’s origins. The new model is also bigger, adding 40mm to the length (now 4.5 metres) although wheelbase remains unchanged and 20mm to its width (now 1.82 metres). The new A3 Sedan is also 10mm taller at 1.43 metres and these subtle changes add significantly to what was already a generous interior for passengers as well as offering 425 litres of luggage space.
It is also brimming with the very latest automotive technology, powerful yet more efficient and better appointed than ever before.
The all-new A3 Sedan takes that styling and reinterprets it using the current Audi design language and with a more contemporary and more aggressive twist
With a roofline that slopes steeply from the B-pillar, the A3 Sedan has a silhouette like that of a coupe, but without compromising internal space and headroom
The increase in size also adds a new dimension to the new A3 Sedan’s overall styling which sees the large Singleframe honeycomb grille dominate the front end in keeping with current Audi design language. New headlights give the face of the new model its own distinctive ‘face’ as well as its own light signature on the different variants, with the top spec model running Matrix LED units with new digital daytime running lights.
Run down the sleek flanks of the new A3 Sedan and the pronounced, concave treatment under the broad shoulder line accentuates the massaged guards and the sill to give a significantly more muscular appearance while not detracting from the elegance that is an intrinsic part of the A3 Sedan.
With a roofline that slopes steeply from the B-pillar, the A3 Sedan has a silhouette like that of a coupe, but without compromising internal space and headroom for the rear seat passengers. This sweeping line ends in a boot lip spoiler which is optionally available in carbon to further accentuate the elegant rear treatment. Sharp, functional and making a point without having the scream it from the rooftops.
And while all of this is once again a visual triumph, it makes for a more streamlined vehicle and has tremendous aerodynamic benefits in the form of a Cd value of 0.25 (on the 2.0 TDI 110kW) which is 0.04 Cd better than the first generation.
The interior too has been completely redesigned with new cockpit treatment very much focused on the driver. The central MMI touch display with its 10.1-inch diagonal screen is inclined towards the driver, and includes handwriting detection as well as natural language control that can optionally draw on the capabilities of the cloud.
A 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel is standard equipment, or can be upgraded further with the Audi virtual cockpit plus, which has a 12.3-inch display that offers three different views. Here, the rpm and speed are shown as bar diagrams with angular red graphical elements and customers can also opt for a head-up display that projects important information onto the windscreen right in front of the driver.
But it’s not just the driver who is well catered for in the new A3 Sedan, with the top infotainment system, the MMI Navigation plus, providing an array of Audi connect services as standard, including online traffic information, news, and additional information about points of interest along the way.
Using the third-generation modular infotainment platform (MIB 3), it boasts 10 times the computing power of the predecessor model, connecting the car via LTE Advanced speed, and connecting on-board the smartphones to the Internet via Wi-Fi hotspot.
The new A3 Sedan also makes use of car-to-X services, flagging problems and accidents on the road ahead, as well as helping in finding vacant car parks and service stations up ahead. Personalisation allows up to six users to store their preferred settings in individual profiles, including those for the seat, climate control and media which includes DAB+ digital radio as standard equipment. The A3 Sedan is also connected to the smartphone via the Audi smartphone interface, which integrates iOS and Android mobile phones with Apple Car Play and Android Auto in the MMI, as well as via Audi phone box which can also charge the phone inductively.
Personalisation allows up to six users to store their preferred settings in individual profiles, including those for the seat, climate control and media
At launch in Europe, the new A3 Sedan will be available with two petrol and one TDI engine
In addition, an Android smartphone armed with the Audi connect key can also be used to lock and unlock the car.
At launch in Europe, the new A3 Sedan will be available with two petrol and one TDI engine.
Using a 1.5-litre TFSI engine, the 35 TFSI, produces 110kW and will be available in two versions – with a newly developed six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed S tronic. Drawing on the large luxury models in the brand’s stable, the engine uses cylinder on demand technology and where the S tronic dual-clutch transmission is selected, also employs a 48-volt mild hybrid system to recover energy during deceleration. This equates to upwards of 50Nm of torque when driving off and accelerating from low engine speeds and allows the A3 Sedan to coast with the engine switched off in certain situations for up to a 0.4L per 100km fuel saving.
The 2.0 TDI which also produces 110kW also uses a seven-speed S tronic, and features new shift-by-wire technology.
The suspension has been tuned to offer a sporty feel without compromising comfort, while a dedicated sport suspension and a suspension with controlled dampers can also be optioned. The latter offers a wide spread between highly comfortable roll motion and agile handling, while the Audi drive select dynamic handling system also allows the driver to experience different levels of suspension tuning, throttle response and steering angle whether that be focusing on comfort, dynamic ride or the most fuel-efficient.
Of course an extensive array of driver assistance and safety systems are key elements in the new A3 Sedan. Once again drawing on the large luxury class, systems such as adaptive cruise assist, efficiency assist, standard collision avoidance assist, exit warning, cross-traffic assist and surround view cameras will also be made available on the A3 Sedan models.
At time of writing, the specific models and specification bound for Australia were not confirmed, but will be made available ahead of the A3 Sedan’s arrival here in the first half of 2021. But given this models success to date, expect the all-new Audi A3 Sedan to again make a very big impression in the compact, luxury ranks.
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