The fourth generation Audi A3 Sportback has been unveiled – heralding in a new era for the car that created the compact luxury segment.
3 March, 2020
As amazing as it may seem now, once upon a time, there was no such thing as a compact, luxury car. There were hot hatches, scaled down and stripped down versions of larger cars and just plain small cars, but there was nothing that exhibited the qualities of a luxury vehicle in compact form.
That was until 1996 when Audi first premiered the A3, and the perception of what a smaller car could be changed forever.
Fast forward to 2020 and more than five million Audi A3s later and the fourth generation of this groundbreaking model has been unveiled, heralding in a new era for the very model that changed the way people viewed luxury and performance in compact form.
Journalists were recently given a brief taste of just what was in store, when they drove a heavily disguised A3 Sportback on São Miguel Island in the Azores archipelago. Now, the camouflage is off and the rest of the world can see just how the A3 Sportback has evolved. The original genes are still there, but this is a new car, some 30mm wider than before at 4.34 metres, although the height (1.43 metres) and wheelbase (2.64 metres) rain unchanged.
The wide Audi Singleframe grille and large air inlets dominate the front end, along with digital daytime running lights of the Matrix LED headlights that give the new A3 a light signature all its own.
The styling is more sporty than ever before, with the wheel arches flaring out to create a strong, planted stance, while the roofline sweeps down to create a dynamic effect and a feeling of movement even when the car is sitting still.
Fast forward to 2020 and more than five million Audi A3s later to the fourth generation of this groundbreaking model
Inside too the design is sporty but with the unmistakable premium touches that have been a trademark of the Audi A3 since the beginning
Inside too the design is sporty but with the unmistakable premium touches that have been a trademark of the Audi A3 since the beginning.
Aluminium or carbon inlays set the tone, while the instrument panel with a black-panel look is both visually striking and functional. As always featuring technology straight from the full-sized luxury models, the A3 Sportback’s cockpit is wholly focused on the driver, with its 10.1-inch touch display (with haptic and acoustic feedback), voice control and MMI touch. The Audi virtual cockpit offers additional functions such as a large display of the navigation map, while the plus version measures 12.3 inches and offers three different views. In addition, a head-up display that projects important information onto the windscreen in colour is available on request.
This new A3 Sportback also further’s the brand’s sustainability ethos, featuring stunning seat upholstery made from recycled PET bottles and with stylish contrasting stitching – another first for the A3.
Of course the A3 Sportback is completely connected, with its MMI operating concept powered by the new third generation modular infotainment platform, boasting computing power 10 times greater than its predecessor. This gives the A3 Sportback the full raft of connectivity services from Audi connect plus, as well as an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot, while the navigation offers predictions on the development of the traffic situation, high-resolution satellite images from Google Earth and detailed 3D imagery of major cities.
Then of course there are the car-to-X services which enhance every outing, be it assisting in finding free parking spaces or even communicating with traffic lights to allow the driver to tailor their speed to hit green lights all the way through town.
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, which charges it inductively. The customer can also use the Audi connect key to lock and unlock the car and start the engine via their Android smartphone. This is very much a car for the ages.
In terms of the drivetrain too, the new Audi A3 Sportback is at the cutting edge. It will be offered in Europe with three engine solutions – a 1.5 TFSI with 110kW, and the choice of two 2.0 TDI engines with either 85kW or 110kW. These powerplants will initially be combined with front-wheel drive mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or the quick-shifting seven-speed S tronic. 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.
A four-link rear axle is used for engines from 110 kW as standard fitment, while – suspension with adaptive damper control is available as an option.
It goes without saying that the A3 Sportback features a full suite of safety and driver assist systems from Audi pre sense front to swerve assist and lane departure warning. Additional systems such as the lane change and exit warnings as well as the cross-traffic and park assist systems can also be added.
Once again, the new A3 Sportback is a comprehensive and compelling package, taking the groundbreaking DNA of the original model and combining it with the very latest in automotive technology. This after all was the very idea behind the original, and that combination of luxury appointment and equipment in a compact format continues to strike a chord with customers.
The new Audi A3 Sportback is expected to arrive in Australia before the end of the year, with details on specific models, pricing and specification announced closer to launch.
The new A3 Sportback is a comprehensive and compelling package, taking the groundbreaking DNA of the original model and combining it with the very latest in automotive technology
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