2021 Audi A3 preview

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After showing the world a redesigned A3 Sportback in March, Audi on Tuesday followed up with the redesigned version of the A3 sedan.

The new A3 reaches dealers in Europe this summer but timing for the United States is yet to be announced. We’ll likely see it arrive late this year or early next, but don’t count on the A3 Sportback joining it. We’re also unlikely to see a repeat of the previous A3 Cabriolet.

The new A3 is based on an updated version of Volkswagen Group’s MQB modular platform, the earlier version of which features in the outgoing A3 and numerous other VW Group models. The updated platform debuted last October in the redesigned Volkswagen Golf and introduces new systems for the all-wheel drive, suspension damping, and speed-sensitive steering of the A3.

For the styling, the new A3 follows a similar formula to the current model but looks a lot more polished overall. The grille has been enlarged slightly and the headlights feature a more pronounced teardrop element. There also appears to be more sculpting to the body which incidentally has grown slightly. At 14.8 feet in length, the new A3 is 1.6 inches longer than its predecessor though the wheelbase is unchanged.

Inside, there is a digital instrument cluster, a large touchscreen for the infotainment system that can recognize letters entered by hand and responds to natural-speak instructions, and a color head-up display. Electronic driver-assist features include adaptive cruise control, collision warning, a surround-view camera, and an efficiency assist that, using navigation data, tells the driver the ideal time to lift off the accelerator.

Powertrain options for the new A3 in the U.S. haven’t been announced. Elsewhere, the car is being offered with a gasoline-powered 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 or a diesel-powered 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. A mild-hybrid system is also featured for models equipped with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The standard transmission is a 6-speed manual.

New Audi A3

Eventually, we’ll see new versions of the feisty S3 and RS 3 models. The S3 should come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 and the RS 3 with a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5. The latter should have 400 or more horsepower.

Previously, the A3’s only true rivals were the Acura ILX and Mercedes-Benz CLA but in recent years we’ve seen the arrival of new alternatives like the BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe, Cadillac CT4, and Mercedes A-Class.

For more on the Audi A3, read the in-depth reviews at The Car Connection.

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Saurabh Shukla

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