Since its introduction in 1999, the Audi A3 has been the conservative and consistent, if somewhat predictable, option in the premium family hatchback class. Now into its fourth generation, there’s no longer a three-door body, but to compensate, the designers have delivered a more appealing design for the five-door Sportback version.
Just like its new-generation Seat Leon, Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf relations, the new A3 uses an evolution of the Volkswagen Group’s ubiquitous MQB platform, with enhancements to accommodate a wider spread of powertrain options that will include mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.
Three main specifications will make up the A3 offering: Sport, Technik and S line, with each receiving subtle exterior styling differences. In the case of Technik and S line, the headlights feature a small panel of 15 LEDs that provides different light signatures for each version to give greater visual differentiation. Audi distinguishes the S line exterior further with larger honeycomb structures for the side vents and the three Quattro-inspired (blanked-off) slots in the front of the bonnet. Higher-spec Edition 1 and Vorsprung versions will arrive after the start of sales.
Anyone stepping out of the relatively minimalist cabin of the previous A3 and into this new one will be in for a shock, albeit mostly a pleasant one. There is a wider variety of materials and a dashboard that is, to a degree, split in two, with a more driver-focused design.