Audi A3The Audi A3 firmly established the premium compact class in 1996. Now, 24 years later, the fourth generation of this highly successful model is ready to make its mark.

True to the brand’s Vorsprung durch Technik philosophy, the premium five-door compact once again sets new standards, incorporating an all-new digitalised interior and cutting-edge infotainment, unique new light signatures, powerful engines and a suite of innovative assistance systems enveloped in a completely redesigned, yet immediately recognisable body.

The new A3 Sportback has an athletic stance and its concave flanks introduce a completely new motif into the Audi design lexicon. They emphasise the dynamic appearance of the compact five-door vehicle, as do the heavily slanting C-pillars above the rear wheels. The shoulder line tapers upward from the headlights to the rear lights.

The surface below it falls inward, accentuating the quattro blisters and highlighting the body shoulder. This creates an intensive play of light and shadow, which is mainly due to the strong contour in the sill area. The lower body line is drawn upward again before it reaches the rear wheel arch. This makes the A3 Sportback appear particularly dynamic.

The front end is dominated by a wide, hexagonal Singleframe with a honeycomb grille. In interaction with the large, angular air inlets and the striking bumper, it visualises the sporty character of the premium compact car. At the rear end, the long roof edge spoiler makes the window appear low. Together with the shoulder line that extends all around the vehicle, the flat rear lights, the diffuser, and the trapezoidal exhaust screens, this effect emphasises the width of the vehicle.

The A3 can also be identified immediately by its headlights. Fitted as standard to Edition 1 and flagship Vorsprung versions, the matrix LED headlights integrate digital daytime running lights for the first time. An innovative pixel matrix consisting of 15 light-emitting diodes shows a specific daytime running light signature depending on the equipment version: While horizontal lines are characteristic of the basic models, two vertical LED lines emphasise the sportiness of the S line exterior. In addition, the matrix LED headlights offer intelligently controlled high beam light, dynamic turn signal light, and dynamic light sequencing when the car is locked and unlocked.

A black-panel look to the instrument panel and centre console, stylish contrasting stitching, striking door handles and a new shifter design all contribute to the high quality feel of the interior of the A3 Sportback. Precise horizontal lines and surfaces with a clear design emphasise the width of the cockpit. This is also achieved by the striking air vent door strip on the passenger side and the curved trim strip below. On the driver’s side, the air vents form an impressive unit with the cover of the instrument cluster. The elements are merged here, which underlines the puristic design.

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The cockpit is fully focused on the driver. It uses familiar elements from the brand’s full-size class models and is equipped with a 10.1-inch touch display as standard. It can be used to adjust the settings of the media selection, navigation, and extensive connect services. When the driver selects a function, the system provides acoustic feedback. The centre display is integrated harmoniously in the high-gloss black bezel in the centre of the instrument panel. The entire area is inclined slightly toward the driver, as is the newly developed control unit for climate control located below. The black-panel look is continued to the left of the steering wheel.

The design of centre tunnel console is designed to be particularly ergonomic. There is an innovative shifter integrated in its black-panel surface that offers the driver a completely new operating experience: Using shift-by-wire technology, the compact controller can be pushed and pulled to control the basic functions of the seven-speed S tronic. Next to it is a further innovation: A round, sensory volume control that reacts to circular finger movements.

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The Audi A3 Sportback also comes with a 10.25-inch virtual cockpit as standard, which is operated via the multifunction steering wheel. The displays relating to the MMI navigation plus appear in the Audi virtual cockpit, which has many additional functions such as a large view of the navigation map. The Audi virtual cockpit plus with a 12.3-inch display is even more attractive, and is standard on the Edition 1 and Vorsprung trims: It offers three different views, including a sport layout. As a further option, there is a head-up display that projects important information onto the windscreen in colour. The image appears to be floating at a distance of around two metres in front of the driver.

All engines in the new A3 Sportback impress with their powerful torque and sophisticated running characteristics. In the UK, the premium compact model will be launched with two engine versions, both with front-wheel drive: a 1.5 TFSI manual with 150 PS and a 2.0 TDI that outputs 150 PS as an S tronic. In connection with this dual-clutch transmission, the A3 Sportback is fitted as standard with steering wheel paddles. Shortly after the market launch,a second version of the 1.5 TFSI with a mild hybrid system (MHEV) will follow. With this engine, Audi is continuing is electrification strategy in the premium compact class.

A belt alternator starter (BAS) feeds a 48-volt electrical system that integrates a compact lithium-ion battery. When decelerating or during slight brake applications, the BAS can recuperate up to 12 kW of power and feed it to the energy storage unit. When driving off and accelerating from a low rotational speed, it assists the TFSI with up to 9 kW and 50 Nm (36.9 lb-ft) of torque. With the MHEV system, the A3 Sportback can glide with its engine deactivated for up to 40 seconds. The advantage in terms of consumption is up to 0.4 liters per 100 km.
A few months after the market launch, Audi will gradually expand the offer by adding further TDI and TFSI engine versions, including some with quattro drive, as well as a plug-in hybrid in two power levels.

The new A3 Sportback offers more space and functionality combined with compact external dimensions. It measures 4.34 metres in length and 1.82 metres in width without the mirrors, and is therefore just over three centimetres larger than the predecessor model. The passengers benefit from this directly: They have more elbow room at the front and rear and more shoulder room in the rear. Without the roof antenna, the new A3 Sportback is 1.43 metres high, which is identical to the third generation, as is the wheelbase of 2.64 metres. By contrast, the slightly lower seat position for the driver is a new feature. This underlines the dynamic character of the premium compact model and benefits the headroom in the first seat row. There are plenty of handy and clever places to store a smartphone, coffee cup, and other items.

Larger belongings can be stored in the luggage compartment, which has a capacity of between 380 and 1,200 litres. The loading floor can be adjusted to different heights, and the rear shelf can be stored underneath it to save space. On request, Audi will deliver an electric tailgate, which can also be opened and closed with a foot motion. Depending on the engine version, the new Audi A3 Sportback has a towing capacity of up to 1,600 kg (braked, at a 12 percent incline) with the optional coupling.

The body is extremely impact resistant, rigid, and acoustically comfortable. With the 1.5 TFSI, the A3 Sportback has an unladen weight (without driver) of just 1,280 kg, making it very light. In the passenger cell, components made of hot-formed steel create a strong compound structure. The front-end flap is made of aluminium.

With a drag coefficient starting from 0.28, the A3 Sportback is particularly aerodynamically efficient, which reduces CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. To achieve this, the aerodynamics developers put a great deal of effort into optimising many areas of the body, for example the exterior mirrors and the underbody, which received a large-area lining.

Aeroacoustics also plays a major part in ensuring that the wind noise is kept to a minimum even at high speeds and providing the customer with maximum comfort in terms of noise levels. Many engine versions have a controllable cooled air inlet: two horizontally positioned louver modules behind the Singleframe that are actuated electrically. They regulate the airflow intelligently and situationally, thereby solving the conflict of objectives between optimum cooling output and aerodynamic efficiency. While driving, they remain closed as much as possible. The brake cooling with a neutral drag coefficient, where the air is guided from the engine compartment through the wheel arch shell to the brakes, is another new feature. When the vehicle is at a standstill, the engine fan generates the air flow.

In terms of the paint finish, customers can choose from twelve colours. Audi now offers the completely new color Atoll blue, available on Technik and Sport. Upon request, the Audi A3 Sportback is now also available in Manhattan grey (Technik and Sport) for the first time.

The new A3 Sportback is equipped as standard with a 10.25-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit, a 10.1-inch touch colour display in the instrument panel, MMI Navigation Plus, Audi smartphone interface and Audi Connect Services Plus. Further standard equipment on the lead-in Technik trim also includes headlights with LED technology, 16-inch alloy wheels, electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors, Audi pre sense front, the lane departure warning, and the collision avoidance assist.

Next in line is Sport trim, which builds on Technik and adds 17” alloy wheels, interior and exterior styling upgrades, dual-zone electronic climate control, and twin leather upholstery.

S line models benefit from 18” alloy wheels, sport suspension, LED headlights with LED rear lights and dynamic rear indicators, front sport seats with twin leather, S-embossing and contrast stitching, upgraded interior inlays and privacy glass.

As a new addition to the specification range, the Edition 1 will gain 19” alloys, Black exterior styling, Matrix LED headlights, front sport seats in Alcantara and leatherette combination, electrically adjustable front seats, exterior mirrors with memory and heated front seats. The Audi Virtual Cockpit plus, and the new extended ambient lighting pack that features interior lighting with 30 colours to choose from are also added.

At the top-of-the-range is the new Vorsprung, which features all of the standard items from the Edition 1, but with alternative 19” alloy wheels, a panoramic sun roof, electric tailgate, sport seats in Fine Nappa leather, Bang & Olufsen Sound System, and Audi phone box with wireless charging. The Vorsprung also includes all of the latest safety features available on the new A3, such as Head-up display, Adaptive cruise assist, traffic sign recognition and parking assist.

Priced from £24,900 OTR and ready to order from next week, with first deliveries in May

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