Audi got it! The Volkswagen group's quartet of compacts is again complete. Now, it is really Audi's turn to present the Audi A3, a fourth of the name after the Golf, the Skoda Octavia and the Seat Leon.
True to its counter-revolutionary style, the compact with the rings changes smoothly. On closer inspection, it subtly but surely asserts its character with sharp optics and much more indented than in the past, an enlarged hexagonal grille and worked flanks, all features that accentuate its relationship with the recent Q3.
We find this new angular treatment on board. The pretty sleek dashboard of the previous A3, with its round aerators and its small retractable screen at the top, gives way to a large central 10-inch touch screen like on the rest of the range, with two amazing horizontal aerators, so Lamborghini, on either side of the instrumentation cap (digital, needless to say). Joy, the new A3 seems less obsessed with a touchscreen than its cousins from Volkswagen, Seat, and Skoda. There is even a balance of physical controls for air conditioning or lighting. In the past, we used to call these "buttons", children.
Based on the same wheelbase of 2.64 m, the new A3 is a bit longer (4.34 m) and wider (1.82 m) than the previous one, for an unchanged height (1.43 m). This has an impact on increasing habitability ratings on the shoulders and elbows. The trunk still stands at 380 l (1,200 l under the folded bench seat). Audi, who knows how to take us by the feelings, indicates that the driving position is now lower so as to " underline the dynamic character of the new A3. It is unclear whether the 3-door bodywork, historically the very first on the A3, will make a comeback, or whether Audi will choose to do without it for lack of demand, like Volkswagen and Seat on the latest Golf and Leon.
Three engines will be available at launch, one 1.5 petrol 150 hp in manual transmission and two 2.0 Diesel of 116 or 150 hp, all available in manual transmission or in S Tronic with double clutch (with paddles on the steering wheel in series). Note also that Audi has surprisingly chosen to show only the manual gearbox on these launch photos. We will see if the S Tronic will inherit a conventional selector like the Q3, something more modern and elegant like on the other sedans of the brand, or a very small controller that looks like a USB key like on the new Golf. The 1.5 petrol will soon be entitled to the S Tronic gearbox, along with a light hybrid version. Other petrol and diesel engines will then be added to the catalog, some of which are associated with all-wheel drive (such as the S3 and its 300 hp). We are also waiting for a plug-in hybrid version to succeed in the A3 e-tron.
Of course, the range of driver assistance is at the forefront of the market, including V2X technology (which allows the A3 to communicate with other vehicles and compatible infrastructure). Audi promises "more agile, fluid and safe" behavior. As on the old A3 and its platform cousins, only the versions of 150 hp and more are entitled to a multi-link rear axle.
Europe would start to receive orders this March. Looking forward to seeing it in the spring for the classic against the BMW 1 Series and the Mercedes A-Class.