Audi is promising a “big time” change in the design of its next-generation A3 when it arrives next year, according to exterior design boss Andreas Mindt.
The new Mercedes A-Class rival is due to be revealed next year, and a prototype has been spied testing in southern Germany. While it is sporting heavy camouflage, the prototype clearly shows the design will follow Audi's recent design trends, with a geometric front-end and sharper headlights.
On the new car, which will be built on the second-generation Volkswagen Group MQB architecture being readied first for the new VW Golf next summer, Mindt said that the company “had some really good ideas” for its new staple hatchback, promising “it’ll change, big time”.
The new A3 is one of two new compact Audis in development, the other being an electric car built on the new VW Group MEB architecture. As before, the A3 will spawn a whole range of variants, including a new five-door liftback version to rival the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLA and upcoming BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe. A disguised Audi S3 prototype was also spotted testing recently.
Mindt believes that compact cars have a big future still despite the rise of SUVs. “I can see growth of compact cars and a future, absolutely,” he said. “We have really good ideas for that segment and to push it.”
The five-door hatchback will be the first new A3 to arrive next year, replacing the model that was introduced at the 2012 Geneva motor show. The final new A3 variant to arrive will be the five-door liftback, which isn’t expected until 2021 – the third year of the fourth-generation A3’s lifespan. The regular hatchback will be longer and wider than the current car. It has the same track width, but wider wheel arches and carriers to give extra width.