Currently reading: Audi A3 saloon: Shanghai motor show
Audi A3 saloon to rival Mercedes CLA; four-wheel drive S3 variant to follow in 2014

This new compact saloon variant of the Audi A3, seen here officially for the first time ahead of its Shanghai motor show reveal, will be coming to the UK this autumn. A potent 296bhp Audi S3 version of the new four-door will also be part of the line-up.

The A3 saloon, which has the Mercedes CLA as its chief rival, is 4460mm long, 1796mm wide and 1416mm high, with a wheelbase of 2400mm. This makes it 150mm longer, 11mm wider and 9mm lower than the A3 Sportback on which it is based, with the pair sharing the same 2636mm wheelbase.

These dimensions also make it 170mm shorter, 19mm wider and 19mm lower than the Mercedes CLA. The wheelbase of the CLA is 63mm longer than the A3 saloon’s.

"This is a car that will attract young professionals to the brand, people with their first managerial job, perhaps with only young children, but who want to enjoy their success," said an Audi spokesman. China is expected to be the biggest market for the car, with younger, wealthy businessmen increasingly opting to drive rather than be driven, followed by the US. In Europe, sales will concentrate on Russia, Germany and the UK.

Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi, said "We will also build this model in our Chinese plant later this year. China is our largest single market and growing every year; we will also launch the A3 e-tron there."

The obvious styling change over the A3 Sportback is the addition of a boot, but revisions have also been made to the bonnet, bumpers, air intakes and wheel arches to give the a href="/car-review/audi/a3-saloon">A3 saloon a lower, sleeker profile and stance next to the A3 Sportback. Audi says the overall looks adds “the coupe philosophy” to a three-box saloon. 

The boot capacity is 425 litres, some 45 litres more than the A3 Sportback. The rest of the cabin is otherwise identical to the A3 Sportback’s.

Three engines familiar from the rest of the A3 range will be offered from launch: 138bhp 1.4 TFSI and 178bhp 1.8 TFSI petrols, and a 148bhp 2.0 TDI diesel. 

The four-wheel drive S3 saloon will be introduced early next year. Its 2.0 TFSI engine helps propel it from 0-62mph in 4.9secs when equipped with the optional six-speed double-clutch S-tronic automatic gearbox. A six-speed manual, with a 0-62mph time of 5.3sec, is standard.

"We're now entering the world's biggest segment - the compact saloon," said Stadler. "The A3 is a genuinely sporty saloon and a pretty cool car. It's a pioneer in its segment and it will help Audi stay the number one premium brand in China. We expect it to be popular with younger buyers." 

Click here for more Shanghai motor show 2013 news.


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Car review

Third-gen Audi A3 gets a mild facelift, more equipment, some new engines and a new hot model - but is it the cream of the premium hatch crop?

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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robr6r1 27 May 2013

A3 Saloon

Received the A3 Saloon today as a courtesy car and impressed overall with what Audi have done.

I would never have looked at an A3 until now and the wife wants to keep it.



Aaaaah-udi 24 May 2013

Boardroom Jedi??

Yes, yes, those comments are all great and everything, but how could you have all missed the most important aspect of this article?


keeforelli 21 April 2013

This is far better balanced

This is far better balanced than the formulaic and dumpy A3 sport back and hatch.

It is clear audis design formula hit the buffers with the current A3- as it looks as old as the previous (better proportioned) one.

It is odd that 4 door saloons are back after years of them not selling and being discontinued by various manufacturers. Chinas influence undoubtedly