Audi A3 Saloon revealed: Price, specs and release date

Nick Lette van Oostvoorne
April 21, 2020

The new Audi A3 Saloon has been revealed. Read on for everything you need to know about this high-tech alternative to the Mercedes A-Class saloon

  • New Audi A3 Saloon revealed
  • Sportier styling than A3 hatchback
  • Equally high-tech interior
  • Sporty suspension setup
  • Engines include new mild-hybrids
  • Loads of active safety tech

The new Audi A3 Saloon could be the ideal car if you love the new A3 Sportback’s tech but want something that looks a little more sophisticated. 

New Audi A3 Saloon design

The new Audi A3 Saloon looks much sportier than the old car – like it’s dressed to go to a party as the RS4’s mini-me. That said, it looks just like the standard Audi A3 Sportback from the front thanks to its massive basking-shark-like grille. There are still a few fake vents under the headlights, but Audi’s deliberately made these smaller than before. The headlights themselves come with 15 individual LED elements that play a different animation depending on which trim level you pick. 

The new A3 Saloon shares the Sportback’s front end, including the high-tech Matrix LED headlights.

The biggest changes happen at the back. The new Audi A3 Saloon gets a lower roofline, longer boot lid and some slinkier creases to help it look leaner than the boxier hatchback. You won’t spot any fake exhausts on entry-level cars, either.

Audi’s designers say they sculpted the sides of the new A3 Saloon to look a bit like the super-aggressive creases you get on a Lamborghini. Although, you’ll just have to take their word for it. Hopefully, this means you’ll be able to get the new Audi A3 Saloon in a few lime green and acid yellow paint jobs rather than the usual palette of staid greys and blacks. 

The A3 Saloon’s air vents look strikingly similar to those in a Lamborghini Urus…

Audi A3 Saloon interior

Amazingly, the Lamborghini-inspired bits don’t stop when you climb inside the new Audi A3 Saloon. For a start, you get a set of cool hexagonal air vents up by the steering wheel that look almost exactly like the ones in a Urus SUV.

The rest of the A3 Saloon’s cabin looks just like the Sportback’s. There’ll be loads of soft plastics, shiny trim and metal bits and you’ll be able to spruce things up with some cool S-Line upgrades including red mood lighting, Alcantara door trim and S-Line badges on the steering wheel and seats. You also get a tiny gear-selector lever, just like in all the latest VW, Audi-group cars.

Expect there to be less headroom on offer in the back of the A3 Saloon than in the Sportback.

Audi A3 Saloon Practicality

The new Audi A3 Saloon is 15cm longer than the hatchback, but it’s just 4cm longer, 2cm wider and 1cm taller than the old A3 saloon. The distance between the wheels (the dimension which defines how much space you get inside a car) hasn’t changed, however.

Audi says there’s 2cm more headroom in the front because the driver’s seat is a little lower than before, but boot space is the same as before. As a result, you can carry the same 425 litres of luggage as the old car. Not much has changed in the back seats, either. So, the new Audi A3 will be a bit more cramped than in the normal A3 but probably not as tight as in a Mercedes CLA Coupe.

The new Audi A3 Saloon can be had with two mild-hybrid engines.

Audi A3 Saloon Engines

You’ll be able to get the A3 saloon a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder engine with 110hp that’ll be fine in town. But you’ll probably want the 1.5-litre 4-cylinder model with 150hp if you do longer journeys – or if you just want something a bit faster…

There’ll also be a couple of diesel engines to choose from. The 116hp 2.0-litre engine will probably be a bit sluggish but the 150hp version should make a good long-distance cruiser. You can have the new A3 Saloon with a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic – depending on which engine you pick.

Audi’s jumped on the hybrid bandwagon, so now you can get petrol-powered automatic versions of the A3 saloon with a small electric motor that gives the engine a boost when you floor the accelerator. You can’t drive along in electric-only mode, so it’s not a full-fat hybrid like a Toyota Prius.

The Audi A3 Saloon’s infotainment system is more advanced even than the Q8’s.

Audi A3 Saloon Infotainment

It’s no good having a futuristic-looking interior if the infotainment system feels like a ‘90s Nokia. This won’t be a problem in the new A3 saloon, though. You get a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard and even entry-level cars come with a 10-inch digital driver’s display. The software running these screens is even more advanced than the one you get in an Audi Q8. Not bad for a family hatchback…

You can pay extra to upgrade this system – no surprise there, Audi. Fork out for the ‘Virtual Cockpit Plus’ and you get a 12-inch screen with more customisable graphics. You can also get a head-up display. Although, this costs extra – again. And really, how many displays do you need?

At least you’ll get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. So you can just use Waze instead of paying extra for Audi’s own sat-nav.  You can enter an address by drawing words on the screen or by using Audi’s voice commands. These aren’t as good at understanding plain English as the systems in a Mercedes or BMW, though. 

The A3 Saloon’s suspension is setup to be stiffer and sportier than the hatchback’s.

Audi A3 Saloon Driving

The new A3 Saloon gets the same basic chassis as the new A3, but Audi says it’ll feel sportier thanks to some suspension tweaks. If that isn’t enough, S-Line models get suspension that’s stiffer and 15mm lower than standard, so they should feel a bit more agile but won’t deal with bumps quite so well.

There’s also an adaptive suspension system that lets you have your cake and eat it – sort of. This adds upgraded dampers that let you choose between softer, comfortable settings or a stiffer, sportier setup. It also changes the steering weight, how fast the throttle responds, and when the automatic gearbox changes gear.

Soon, you’ll be able to get an S3 saloon with a 2.0-litre petrol hybrid engine with more 333hp. This’ll get quattro four-wheel drive, just like the current S3 Saloon, for extra traction in slippery conditions.

New Audi A3 Saloon safety

The Audi A3 saloon comes with plenty of safety kit as standard, but you still going to have to pay extra for some of Audi’s fanciest features. For example, you get the same automatic emergency braking as the regular A3 as standard but adaptive cruise control costs extra. You can also get the A3 Saloon with Car-toX technology that lets cars talk to each other – but not in a creepy terminator kind of way. It’s there to tell you when traffic lights are about to change to let you slow down in advance and save fuel.

That’s all well and good, but you won’t be able to get cross-traffic alert or a surround-view system when the A3 saloon goes on sale. Audi says you’ll have to wait a bit longer for all that stuff…

New Audi A3 Saloon price and release date

An entry-level 110hp petrol A3 Saloon without any extras will set you back around £25,000. But, go for a more powerful 150hp version and you’ll need to hand over a few thousand pounds more. Audi hasn’t said how much the diesel models will cost yet, and you can bet that the upgraded driver-assistance systems, bigger infotainment screens and a nice stereo will jack the price up pretty quickly, too.