The second-generation Audi A3 saloon has now been revealed, hot on the heels of the five-door Sportback. Buyers can expect the same sharp styling, the latest in-car technology and new engines with a twin-dosing Selective Catalytic Reduction system. Set to arrive this summer, the cheapest model begins at £30,320 a premium of £565 compared to the A3 Sportback.
From outside, the most obvious change is the expansive single frame grille, which now almost touches the chin spoiler. It’s flanked by LED headlights with Audi’s latest graphics, while the spot usually reserved for fog lights is replaced by air intakes with metallic bezels on Vorspung versions. Along its flanks, the swage line that kicks upwards on the Sportback, carries on straight to accentuate the saloon’s extra length. A small boot lip spoiler and flared wheel arches gives it an athletic look.
It doesn’t just look sleek, Audi says the A3 saloon now has a drag coefficient of 0.25. Two electrically actuated sets of louvres behind the grille close when less cooling is required, there’s a smooth underbody and the door mirrors have been designed to be as efficient as possible. Measuring 15 centimetres longer than the Sportback, the saloon is slightly larger in all directions than the outgoing version, boosting headroom by two centimetres for the driver, for example. The boot remains the same size as before at 425 litres.
“…the infotainment system has ten times the computing power of the old car...”
Inside, the latest A3 has a more industrial look than its predecessor, with horizontal air vents replacing round ones, a band of metallic trim across the dashboard and a chiselled frame around the gear lever. A minimalist theme is adopted, dominated by a large 10.1- inch dashboard screen for media and navigation, while there’s either a 10.25 or 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, depending on trim level. A head-up display is also available for the first time. To compete with the Mercedes-Benz A-Class saloon, the infotainment system has ten times the computing power of the old car, and a range of options for connecting a smartphone.
Trim levels will include Sport, with 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and leather upholstery, while S line versions gain a sportier look, larger wheels and LED lights, along with sports seats. There’s also an Edition 1 model with 19-inch alloy wheels, black exterior trim, Matrix LED headlights and heated front seats finished in Alcantara. The range-topping Vorsprung adds a panoramic sunroof, Nappa leather and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
At launch, there’s a choice of 1.5-litre TFSI petrol engines fitted with an S tronic automatic transmission, with cylinder on-demand and the option of 48-volt mild hybrid hardware. These models fall outside the new WLTP threshold of 125g/km for inclusion within Eco Car. A 1.0-litre TFSI three-cylinder petrol engine is expected to join the line-up later on. Diesel fans and long-distance drivers will be better served by the 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine offering 148bhp in the 35 TDI model. This comes with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox as standard and returns fuel economy figures of 57.6 to 62.8mpg with CO2 emissions of 119g/km on the entry-level Sport version. A 114bhp 30 TDI version of the same engine will join the line-up later on this year. Prices start at £30,320 for the Sport 35 TDI and rise to £40,810 for the Vorsprung 35 TDI model.