The new Audi A3 Sportback and its sporty S3 is undergoing testing ahead of its reveal later this year – here’s what you need to know about the upmarket family hatch.
Audi A3 and S3
Huge infotainment screens and a stylish new interior
Price and release date
£21,000 estimated starting price; expected to go on sale later this year
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These latest pictures show the bold styling of the new 2020 Audi A3 Sportback. The new car follows the design themes first introduced on the Audi A1, while the A3 will also benefit from autonomous driving tech and Audi’s latest infotainment system.
2019 Audi A3 Sportback price and release date
The Audi A3 Sportback range is expected to go on sale towards the end of 2019 and should start at around £21,000, a similar price to the outgoing model. The Sporty S3 will cost more like £35,000 and, when it’s eventually released, a supercar-chasing RS3 model will have a sticker price of more than £40,000.
2020 Audi A3 Sportback – what we know
Without official images of the new Audi A3 Sportback (the red car you see here is carwow’s artist’s impression), it’s difficult to tell precisely what the new A3 Sportback will look like – if only because every single panel is currently covered in swirly camouflage.
But the imposing grille, distinctive LED daytime running lights and what look like aggressively styled air vents mean that the Audi follows in the visual footsteps of its latest cars, in particular the latest A1.
Down the side of the car, expect to find a more rakish profile than in the current A3 Sportback. Distinctive crease lines will feature above the wheels. This is a trick Audi’s already used on the larger A4 saloon to make the car seem more muscular, and to show that there will be four-wheel drive available as an option.
Around the sides, the new A3 looks set to get a more steeply raked boot lid than the current car; it’s also likely to get the prominent creases above the wheels, which you’ve already seen on the recently facelifted Audi A4. They are a design trick that adds visual muscle and are supposed to hint that the new A3 will be available with the manufacturer’s trademark four-wheel drive.
The new taillights will be quite a change from those on the current A3 Sportback, too. Even entry-level versions will feature LED exterior lighting all around, and you’ll also be able to specify smarter, more attractive rear lights. These will even perform a novel light show when you lock and unlock the car. Other features you can expect from the top-end LED headlights are beams that automatically adjust to oncoming traffic to stop you dazzling other road users at night.
Inside, expect to find a more spacious cabin, while powering the new A3 Sportback will be range of petrol, diesel and hybrid options.
2020 Audi A3 Sportback styling
What these spy pictures show most clearly is the six-point honeycomb grille that could have been taken straight from the front of an A1, and the smaller car’s huge air vents ahead of the front wheels also seem to have been carried over – though there’s plenty of camouflage to hide it. The most obvious change from A1 to A3 is the latter’s barbed headlights. They’ll likely use bright-white LEDs as standard with the option to upgrade to matrix LEDs – which you can use on full beam even in oncoming traffic.
Despite this test car’s heavy wrap, it’s easy to see that the new A3 will also be given the same boxed wheel arches you’ll have seen on new Audis – covering everything from the A1 to the Q8 – which is supposed to hint at the fact that you can have the car with four-wheel drive. Filling those wheel arches will be 16-inch alloy wheels on basic models and wheels up to 19 inches in size on the sporty S3 and RS3 cars.
Head around to the back of the car and you can expect to see LED tail lights that will light up in sequence when you lock and unlock the car. Basic models will get a plain bumper with a hidden exhaust while, as you can see from these photographs, S3 cars will get a rear diffuser-style bumper complete with four prominent exhaust pipes.
2020 Audi A3 Sportback interior
Infotainment is likely to be the buzz word for the new 2020 Audi A3 Sportback and you can expect even basic models to get a full digital dashboard display behind the steering wheel that can display analogue style dials then flick to a full-sized map at the touch of a button. It’ll be around 10 inches in size with the option to upgrade to a 12-inch screen. You’ll see a similar upgrade to the car’s central infotainment screen – it too will be at least 10 inches in size with crystal-clear graphics.
There will be just as significant changes to the things you can’t see as to the things you can – expect the car’s voice activation system to be significantly improved and capable of understanding colloquial commands. It’ll take the place of the scroller selector between the front seats of the current A3. All models will come as standard with a three-year subscription to Audi Connect, allowing the car’s sat-nav to route around congestion in real time and find you a parking space as you near your destination. Even parking will be easier: as well as being able to park itself in parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, the A3 Sportback will offer high-definition 360-degree cameras that’ll make it an easy job if you prefer to park yourself.
The upgraded infotainment means you can expect the 2020 Audi A3 Sportback to have a cleaner cabin design that’s free from the clutter of conventional buttons. You’ll be able to choose from shiny black plastic, metal and carbon-fibre style trim pieces – depending on which model you go for – and selectable ambient lighting.
Interior space will increase compared to the current model, so you can expect your rear-seat passengers to get a smidgen more head and kneeroom, and you’ll get a larger boot capable of swallowing an extra soft bag.
2020 Audi A3 Sportback engines
The new 2020 Audi A3 Sportback is set to be offered with hybrid technology even on basic models. In fact, basic 1.0-litre cars are tipped to get an electric motor that provides a boost in power similar to the turbocharger fitted to the current model. Mid-range cars, meanwhile, fitted with the 1.5-litre petrol engine are likely to get a 48V power supply that’ll mean your A3 Sportback can travel for short periods on battery power alone, get an electrical boost to save fuel under acceleration and will be more efficient at replenishing their batteries under braking. Diesel models will also be offered and you can expect them to come dripping with catalytic converters and particulate filters designed to make them as clean as possible. Along with conventional engines, you can expect the A3 Sportback to be offered as an petrol-electric e-tron hybrid. It’ll deliver punchy performance but also be exempt from paying the London Congestion charge.
2019 Audi A3 Sportback S3
On the flipside, there’s always the S3 model spotted here with four exposed exhaust pipes. Along with a more aggressive body kit with big alloy wheels, larger brakes, redesigned bumpers and a smattering of S3 badges, it’s set to get a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine with around 325hp – getting the S3 from 0-62mph in under five seconds and on to a top speed limited to 155mph. The S3 will likely come with four-wheel drive and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox as standard.
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