Mercedes A-Class rival spied testing - and its designer says it will be a big step from previous model
Mark Tisshaw
28 November 2018

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. 

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Facing fresh competition from the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon, the A3 Saloon will be introduced in 2020.

The new A3's engine range will include 1.0-litre, 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre TFSI petrol units, as well a 2.0-litre TDI unit in three different states of tune. An e-tron plug-in hybrid model will continue, but it will be upgraded to use the same driveline as the Volkswagen Passat GTE. There won't be an electric version, though; Audi is saving the EV hatchback market for a dedicated model, which it will release in 2021. Until its arrival, an electric version of the forthcoming Q4 SUV will be the brand's smallest EV. 

The A3 Cabriolet, a small-seller within the Audi range, is the least certain for replacement, given the state of the convertible market and the discontinuation of C-segment Volkswagen Group products following the Beetle’s axing. However, it's likely to arrive shortly after the hatchback.

Read more

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Comments
8

28 November 2018
Big time changes - I doubt it.

29 November 2018
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

Big time changes - I doubt it.

They are going to fit indicators that can be used by the driver to indicate to other drivers their intentions.

Audi, at the forefront of innovation.

29 November 2018

 Heard this before from other brands to, what they’re not prepared to admit is that in this sector Car design has hit the buffers, nobody is producing a step change in design, they’re almost coping each other.

Peter Cavellini.

29 November 2018

That looked pretty fresh to me!

The car-buying public gets what it deserves, unfortunately ...

29 November 2018
Peter Cavellini wrote:

 Heard this before from other brands to, what they’re not prepared to admit is that in this sector Car design has hit the buffers, nobody is producing a step change in design, they’re almost coping each other.

Totally agree. I blame the Ford Focus, since then every mid-size hatchback has tried to look like this with 3 side windows and a vertical rear. The likes of the i30 fastback and an A3 '4 door coupe' will at least try and do something different.

The 2nd gen A3 with roof rails I thought looked like a mini A4, quite smart, and I'm not an Audi fan.

29 November 2018

If you look on the front page today you'll see it's twin brother the Hyundai .....

29 November 2018

Audi generally maintains a styling theme for each generation of their cars which normally starts with the A4. As the current A3 is from the previous generation of Audis, it's safe to say that the next model will simply adopt styling cues from the current A4, A6, A8 and new A1.

29 November 2018

I don't see much if the pictures are anything to go by?  

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