Audi’s smallest sedan is bound for Australia in 2021, but it’ll be coming without the latest engine technology to start with.
In Europe, Audi’s redesigned A3 Sedan will see the current car’s turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine replaced with a new turbocharged 1.5-litre mill and 48V mild-hybrid technology.
When the A3 Sedan arrives in Australia in the first half of 2021, however, it’ll use a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed torque-converter automatic. Audi says the new powertrains will come later in the lifecycle.
It’s a similar story to that of the base Skoda Karoq, which also uses a torque-converter auto and an older engine than its European counterpart.
The next Volkswagen Golf has suffered the same fate, although performance-focused variants will maintain their dual-clutch transmissions.
The company hasn’t confirmed power and torque outputs for the 1.4-litre we’ll get, but the mill in the existing A3 35 TFSI produces 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque.
Audi will offer an intermediate engine between the base four and the next-generation S3, though it hasn’t released details yet. All engines with 110kW and up feature a four-link rear axle, leaving the less powerful engines – which won’t be sold here – with a torsion beam rear axle.
The A3 35 TFSI’s new 1.5-litre four-cylinder produces 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque and features cylinder deactivation technology.
Its mild-hybrid system consists of a belt alternator starter installed on the engine, which feeds a 48Velectrical system with a lithium-ion battery under one of the front seats.
Audi claims the system can recuperate up to 12kW of power when you take your foot off the accelerator and, at low speeds, it can provide an extra 9kW of power and 50Nm of torque. It also allows the vehicle to coast with the engine switched off.
Audi claims a combined fuel economy of between 4.7 and 4.9L/100km when it’s mated to the seven-speed dual-clutch; the current car’s 1.4-litre consumes 4.9L/100km. CO2 emissions are also fractionally better at 107-113g/km, down from 115g/km.
The redesigned A3 Sedan is more aerodynamic than its predecessor with a drag coefficient of 0.25, an improvement of 0.04.
The sculpted sides have a prominent shoulder line and a more concave appearance, putting greater emphasis on the wheel arches.
The new sedan measures 37mm longer, 20mm wider and 9mm taller than the outgoing sedan, though its luggage capacity is unchanged at 425L.
All A3 sedans will be front-wheel drive initially with Quattro models arriving later. Also in the pipeline: a new S3 and a plug-in hybrid A3 with two different tunes.
As is the norm for an entry-level luxury car, there’s a wide range of options. These include matrix LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, front seat lumbar massage, a panoramic sunroof, tri-zone climate control, ambient lighting, adaptive suspension, a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, and an S-Line package with a 15mm lower sport suspension tune.
All A3 sedans will come standard with autonomous emergency braking with forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning. Other available safety features include exit warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Inside, there’s a 10.1-inch touchscreen running the latest MIB3 infotainment software and includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot.
In selected cities, the system can help you find free parking spaces and time traffic light changes, though Audi Australia has confirmed this technology won’t be available here.
Available instrument clusters are a 10.25-inch digital unit or a 12.3-inch example of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.
There’s a new shifter and, in a nice, sustainable touch, the seat upholstery is now made of recycled PET bottles.
Other engines will be available in Europe but not here. These include a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder mild-hybrid with 81kW of power plus two 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines – the manual variant with 85kW of power and the automatic with 110kW of power.
Paired with the upcoming redesigned hatch, the new sedan should help boost sales of the A3 line. So far this year, Audi has sold 1090 examples of the current A3.
That means it’s being outsold by both the Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatch and sedan (3342 units) and the BMW 1 Series hatch (1356).