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New Audi A3 2021: Everything we know so far

The new A3 is expected to be an evolutionary step up over the existing model, instead of a revolutionary one.

Audi’s A3 small car has been a staple in the luxury carmaker’s line-up for three generations now, but a new iteration of the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class rival is just around the corner.

The four-ring brand has revealed scant details about its new A3, but the biggest clue to what to expect comes from its mechanical cousin, the VW Golf.

Revealed last year in refreshed eighth-generation form, the new Volkswagen model is more of an evolution of the existing Golf than a revolution.

It is expected the new Audi A3, supposedly to be revealed at the Geneva motor show in March, will follow the same path and offer incremental improvements over the existing car.

However, one crucial difference is the rumoured removal of the Cabriolet body style, leaving the new-gen A3 to be a five-door Sportback hatchback and four-door sedan only.

Like the Golf, the A3 will be built on the same MQB platform, which means dimensions should remain similar to what they are now and keep it firmly entrenched in its small-car roots.

Design-wise, the A3 should look like a slimmed down version of the second-generation Q3 small SUV, which rides on the same architecture, while the interior is also likely to be similar.

As a result, the multimedia system will be a full touchscreen system with support for satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, digital radio and wireless smartphone charging.

Instrumentation is also likely to adopt Audi’s all-digital virtual cockpit design across the entire A3 range, which is only available in higher-grade trims or part of an options pack in the current form.

Standard safety will also get a boost to keep it competitive against its modern-day peers, and could include autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.

The big question remains what engines will be offered in Australia.

At present, the mainstream A3 line-up – excluding the sportier S3 and RS3 (more on those later) – is available with either a 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre or 140kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, which could both carryover in new-generation form – at least going by VW’s plan for the Golf.

When the new-generation Golf launches later this year, it will be powered by a carryover 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre engine, with the more complex hybrid and diesel engines off the table for Australia for now.

The high performance S3 and RS3 are also expected to make a return in new-generation A3 form, with the former already leaked ahead of a rumoured reveal next to the mainstream range in Geneva.

The new S3 will likely retain its Golf R-sharing 2.0-litre powertrain, but overseas reports indicate power will jump from 213kW to 245kW, but it remains to be seen if that figure can be achieved with Australia’s lower fuel quality.

As for the flagship RS3, it has already been spotted testing in at the Nurburgring, but expect the Audi Sport boffins to turn the wick up on the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine to better take on Mercedes-AMG’s 310kW A45. For reference, the current RS3 outputs 294kW/480Nm.

All of this would point to a 2021 Australian debut for the new A3, with the S3 and RS3 versions to come further down the line.

Expect more news of the next-gen A3 closer to the Geneva motor show in March.