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2021 Audi A3 Sedan Review

CAR SIZE: sub-compact
BODY TYPE: Sedan
The A3 nameplate has been present in the Audi lineup since 1996, when it debuted as a three-door hatchback, the carmaker’s true return to the smaller car segment since the discontinuation of the Audi 50 in the late 1970s. It was the first car of the Volkswagen Group to be based on a new variation of the A platform that would later be deployed on several cars, including the Volkswagen Golf or the SEAT Leon.
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Soon, the A3 lineup would get a five-door version (1999) and a sedan variant, but that happened only much later, in 2013.

In April 2020, Audi introduced the second generation of the A3 sedan, the first truly connected, digital incarnation of the model. Scheduled to launch in the summer of 2020, the new A3 brings a slightly redesigned exterior and interior, several engine upgrades – including the introduction of a mild-hybrid – and suspension tuning for better comfort and more safety.

1Exterior design & features

Despite being a new generation, the new A3 sedan seems to be more of a facelift of the existing model, at least as far visual changes are concerned. Not the same can be said though about the dimensions of the car.

The new A3 is longer, wider and higher than the version it replaces, despite being built on the same platform. The car is 4,500 mm long (+40 mm), 1,820 mm (+20 mm) wide, and 1,430 mm tall (+10 mm).

The front of the A3 sports the new and reshaped large Singleframe with honeycomb grille, flanked by slightly different headlights (on the top version they can be specified with Matrix LED technology) and redrawn air intakes. The rear is just slightly modified, with only the rear lights and some of the lines on the trunk lid and bumper being refreshed,

The side view is more sculpted and upright than on the outgoing version, with the roofline sloping down from the B-pillar in a more dramatic, coupe-like manner, ending in the tailgate-integrated spoiler. The slightly modified shape of the body is said to achieve 0.04 point improvement in drag coefficient, lowering it to 0.25.

2Interior design, features
and passenger space

The increase of the exterior dimensions of the new A3 translates into more space for the passengers inside. The car offers 20 mm more headroom at the front (achieved by lowering the position of the seat), and a tad more elbow room than before.

The new dimensions have not affected luggage capacity, with remains the same as before, namely 425 liters.

Visually, the new interior differs a lot from its predecessor. The shape of the center console is new, and so is that of the dashboard. The touchscreen for the infotainment system no longer occupies a central, elevated position, but has been lowered on the same plane as the steering wheel (that is now sleeker-looking). The screen now occupies the place where the round air vents used to be.

Under the screen is the panel for the HVAC controls, in the same position as before, but it no longer features knobs, but buttons.

3Gadgets

The new A3 sedan has been equipped with all the hardware that came into existence since the previous generation hit the market. This makes the model the most connected and digitized in its family.

There are several touchscreen options available for the A3. There is the stock 10.1-inch MMI complete with handwriting detection and voice control, or the Audi virtual cockpit that throws in a 12.3-inch infotainment screen and an equally-sized instrument cluster.

Regardless of choice made, the car is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. Optionally, a head-up display can be specified.

Because this is an Audi we’re talking about, expect to see some help from the carmaker’s Car-to-X services, where available, that show information about hazardous areas or speed limits, or can help find free parking spaces. Some of the capabilities of the A3 sedan can be controlled by means of the myAudi app, and starting summer 2020 Alexa integration will also be possible.

4Performance

At launch, the new A3 sedan comes with a choice of three engine configurations, two based on the same gasoline unit and the third a diesel.

The gasoline offer is centered around the same 1.5-liter engine fitted on the model called 35 TFSI. It develops 150 ps and can be specced with either a new six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed S tronic. In both cases fuel consumption levels are at or near 5 liters/100 km (50 mpg).

The engine linked to the S-tronic transmission also makes use of a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that allows the car to coast with the engine switched off in some scenarios, but also provides a fuel saving of about 0.4 liters (0.1 gallons) per 100 km (62 miles).

The diesel engine is less complicated: a 2.0-liter unit that also comes with 150 ps, but brings consumption levels down to just 3.9 liters/100 km (65 mpg).

5Safety

The new version of the A3 comes with all the previously-installed safety features, ranging from airbags to more pretentious driver assistance features. Audi has most of the ADAS system packed in a shell in likes to call pre sense, that includes anything from cruise assist to the optional surround view cameras.

For the new generation though, special care was taken when it comes to the suspension system.

The hardware has been tuned to be ”sporty and harmonious” and to provide the best driving dynamics possible. Customers can choose from one of two systems, one a sport suspension and the other a suspension with controlled dampers – this latter one should provide smooth roll motion and better handling.

6Conclusion

The new Audi A3 sedan hits European roads in the summer of 2020. Pre-sales of the car began at the end of April in Germany and several other European markets, with prices starting from €29,800 for the 35 TFSI. The entry level gasoline will join the range at a later date, priced from €27,700.

Despite the overall appeal for sedans has decreased dramatically over the past few years, Audi is soldiering on with the A3 and other cars because sales are still good, especially on the European continent.