New pics: Take a closer look at the all-new, SA-bound Audi A3

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Mar 31, 2020

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Ingolstadt, Germany - South Africans will have to wait a while for the new A3 Sportback as the recently revealed fourth-generation model is only due to hit local showrooms in the second quarter of 2021.

However, we do get to take a closer look at the Golf’s more upmarket cousin thanks to new pictures and video content having become available recently. 

For now Audi has only revealed the five-door Sportback version and word on the street is that there will not be a new three-door A3, which makes sense since demand for this body format is almost nonexistent nowadays. There is expected to be a new sedan though, which is likely to be revealed later this year.

The new A3 Sportback is 30mm longer than its predecessor, although the wheelbase and height remain as before.

While the exterior design is a sportier evolution of the model it replaces, the A3 has undergone a more radical transformation inside, which we’re not completely sold on as yet. It sure looks a lot more futuristic with its Lamborghini-like air vents, and all the new digital systems do keep it at the technological cutting edge, but we can’t help but feel it’s lost that sense of elegance that elevated it above everything else in the compact car category.

But like we said, the tech is impressive. The MMI operating system, for instance, has ten times more computing power than its predecessor. In addition to a beefed up navigation system with high-resolution Google Earth images, the system offers car-to-infrastructure services (in Europe) that allow the vehicle to communicate with traffic lights and find parking spots. Customers will also be able to lock and unlock the car, as well as start the engine, through their Android phone or via Amazon Alexa.

The new A3 can also store a wide range of personal preferences for multiple drivers, with up to six user profiles that can store settings for everything from seat position to climate control, navigation destinations and frequently used media.

It’s too early to confirm which engines will be offered in South Africa, but Europe gets three options at launch, with more set to follow in the not-too-distant future.

On the petrol front, Audi is offering a 1.5-litre turbopetrol in conventional and mild hybrid guises, in both cases producing 110kW and 250Nm. Transmission choices come in the form of a six-speed manual and seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch.

Diesel customers will get to choose between a pair of 2-litre TDI units - one with 85kW and 300Nm and another offering 110kW and 360Nm. The former is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and the latter gets a seven-speed S Tronic.

Your engine choice also impacts the suspension system fitted to the car, with those producing 110kW or more sporting a sophisticated multi-link rear axle, while variants below that output level will make do with a simpler torsion beam. Audi is also offering an adaptive damping system as an option, as well as a 10mm-lower sports suspension.

All models are front-wheel-driven for now, but quattro AWD will no doubt debut with some of the bigger engine options at a later stage.

Stay tuned for local information and pricing as it becomes available closer to launch.

IOL Motoring

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