AUDI: 2020 A3 Sportback20 March 2020
When it goes on UK sale in the summer, the new five-door Audi A3 Sportback will have extensive updates, Q3-inspired styling and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit as standard.
After an extended development phase, the new Audi A3 has finally been revealed. Like the new Skoda Octavia and SEAT Leon, the A3 will continue to be based on the Volkswagen Golf. The 2020 Audi A3 will go on sale in the summer.
The outgoing Audi A3 Sportback is the oldest car in Audi’s line-up and is looking increasingly dated against rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and BMW 1 Series. While the styling of the new model may be reasonably similar, there’s plenty more technology inside, including Audi’s impressive Virtual Cockpit as standard.
The Audi A3 has never really had dramatic styling changes from one model to the next, but the latest version gets a look that’s inspired by the Audi Q3 SUV. There’s a wider grille at the front, plus redesigned headlight clusters, bonnet grooves and air intakes.
It’s a similar story around the back, with Q3-esque tail-lights and a new bumper design. Audi’s designers have given the A3 wider wheel arches than before. Despite being the same height as the current model, the new A3 looks more squat and aggressive thanks to its extra width and length.
There are almost no similarities between the current A3’s interior and the new one. Instead of an infotainment screen tacked onto the top of the dashboard, the new A3 gets a screen that’s integrated into the centre console. It’s 10.1 inches and angled towards the driver, who’s also given a digital instrument cluster to replace traditional dials. A silver full-width strip lifts the otherwise black cabin.
There’s a new panel for the climate control functions and stylish rocker switches for other features (such as the hazard lights and driving mode selection) and a curious new infotainment dial next to the gear lever that works like an iPod Classic’s scrolling wheel. Like the new Golf and Leon, automatic versions get a small gear selector.
As mentioned above, a digital instrument cluster comes as standard on all models, but the full-size 12.3-inch system is optional, along with a colour head-up display that beams important information onto the lower part of the windscreen. No tacky, flip-up plastic bits here.
The infotainment system can switch between six different driver setups, remembering frequent destinations, climate control settings and the seating position for each driver. You can also handwrite letters on the display (handy when inputting a postcode), and Audi says that natural speech can be used to control the voice assistant function.
New technology also includes Car-to-X software, which can communicate with traffic signs, infrastructure and other cars to provide real-time information about vacant parking spaces, nearby traffic jams and if traffic lights are about to turn green. Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa compatibility will all be included, but curiously none of these features nor the clever Car-to-X will be available from launch.
The engine remains relatively unchanged, although mild-hybrid technology arrives on the 148hp 1.5-litre petrol engine. You’ll also be able to choose from a non-hybrid version of the same engine. Audi claims that the mild-hybrid unit saves almost half a litre of fuel in 62 miles of driving compared to the non-hybrid.
Two diesels have so far been confirmed for the UK: a 2.0-litre TDI with either 114 or 148hp, while the entry-level engine will be a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol with 108hp. A six-speed manual and seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox will be offered.
All A3s with 148hp or more get advanced multi-link rear suspension as standard, while sporty S line cars get firmer suspension that’s set 15mm lower. Adaptive dampers will be optional.