- more youthful, sporty, and agile, the audi a3 is entering its second generation.
- the a3 sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid will not be not coming to the u.s., although it will still be sold in europe. neither will a more aggressive-looking s line version of the sedan.
- the new a3 sedan is expected to hit u.s. showrooms in late 2021 as a 2022 model, at prices starting below $35,000.
while the a3 currently comes as the front-wheel-drive, 184-hp 40 and as the all-wheel-drive 228-hp 35, there will henceforth only be a 40 tfsi model, albeit with more power than the current one. fitted with a 48-volt hybrid version of the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, it will be rated at 201 horsepower and thus neatly slot in between the previous duo. there is no fuel-economy data yet, but this car should be at the top of its class in efficiency.
the only available transmission will be an s tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, but customers will have a choice between front-wheel drive and quattro all-wheel drive. there is no performance data yet, but we expect a zero-to-6o-mph sprint in around six seconds and a governed 130-mph top speed.
the new a3 will grow slightly. while the wheelbase remains identical at 103.8 inches, its length increases from 175.5 to 177.2 inches, it is wider than before (71.7 instead of 70.7 inches), and it stands slightly taller as well (56.3, up from 55.7 inches). its lines are less staid and more angular and exuberant than before, but compared to the latest from bmw and mercedes-benz, it still looks pleasantly restrained.
that's especially true since audi will not offer the aggressive s line package in the u.s., although the look will later appear on the s3, where it will be accentuated with the obligatory four exhaust tips.
there is a bit less differentiation between the sedan and the sportback model than before, but since the a3 sportback is not going to make a return to the u.s., this cost-saving measure shouldn't bother u.s. customers in the slightest.
inside, the new a3 boasts an unusually aggressive and contemporary look with a standard digital cluster and a futuristic centrally mounted gear selector. audi speaks of "additional luxury," but in our opinion, this interior emphasizes sportiness instead. the air vents, attached to the instrument cluster like oversize ears, give this car an especially modern touch. and the digital graphics have been upgraded. a 10.1-inch central cluster is standard, while the instrument cluster comes in two sizes: 10.3 or 12.3 inches.
additional technological gadgets include standard handwriting recognition and options such as a large head-up display and ultra-advanced "matrix" led headlights.
here's what we don't get: the a3 sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid, which has been offered in the u.s. in the past, will stay off our shores; in europe, however, it will actually be offered in two power levels. what also stays in europe is the array of ultra-efficient 2.0-liter diesel, 1.0-liter three-cylinder, and 1.5-liter four-cylinder engines. and we also don't get a manual transmission, which remains an entry-level option in the old world. meanwhile, the a3 cabriolet is dead, not least because it was based on the now-defunct hatchback a3, which won't get a successor.
now for the good powertrain news: we do have official confirmation that the s3 will return, and with a significant power boost. the 2.0-liter turbo will jump from 288 to more than 300 horsepower. the wild rs3 will get a successor at a later date, and it is expected to rise from currently 394 horsepower to more than 400 horsepower. it will keep its wonderfully responsive and aggressive 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder engine.
refined to perfection in virtually every way, the 2022 audi a3 sedan will give both the bmw 2-series gran coupe and the mercedes-benz a-class and cla something to chew on. audi is very much in the game.