Audi has given its third generation A3 range a mid-life nip and tuck adding new styling elements, new powertrain options and a host of new features that were available only in higher models until now. Among the biggest visual changes is the addition of Matrix headlights, a grille that looks pretty much the same as that of the A4, and a palette of up to 12 exterior colour choices.
The engine line-up now starts with a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder for the base models. The miniscule mill puts out 114bhp and 140Nm of torque, which comes from just 2,000rpm. Above this unit is a 1.4-litre turbo engine with 148bhp and 250Nm of torque, which also features a cylinder deactivation system for fuel savings. At the top of the range is an all-new 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine making 188bhp and 320Nm of twist from only 1,500rpm. This new engine is mated to a seven-speed box, replacing the six-speed dual-clutch transmission that was paired with the previous 2.0-litre unit. This variant is also available with a Quattro four-wheel drive system.
Inside, the new A3 gains Audi’s Virtual Cockpit which comes as an option, along with a raft of safety features such as adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, active lane assist, emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and cross-traffic alert. The A3’s Virtual Cockpit will be anchored by a 12.3in digital instrument panel, along with a 7.0in retractable multimedia screen for infotainment and navigation controls.
Meanwhile, the hotter S3 variant’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, paired with an S-tronic dual-clutch transmission, gains an additional 10bhp and 20 Nm, taking the output figures to 306bhp and 400Nm. It also offers a choice of either front- or four-wheel drive on selected engines, which will include the new 2.0-litre petrol turbo unit that debuts in the A3.