Illustration by Darin JohnsonCar and Driver
- The Audi A3 has been comprehensively redesigned, and a sedan model will likely arrive in the U.S. later this year.
- A 48-volt hybrid system should be standard, with a plug-in-hybrid model to follow.
- The high-performance S3 and RS3 derivatives will continue on.
After the global launch of the fourth-generation Audi A3 Sportback, the company is gearing up for the debut of the sedan derivative, which we expect to see on our shores in late 2020 as a 2021 model. While there is no official information yet, we have contacted our sources within the company and can provide an early glimpse of what to expect.
A look at the new A3 Sportback gives us a good idea of what the next sedan will look like; virtually identical up to and including the rear doors, the sedan will look sportier and more aggressive than its predecessor, with a slightly more chiseled and angular attitude. The interior will be characterized by horizontal lines and it will feature large display screens for the gauge cluster and the infotainment system.
While Audi will offer smaller gasoline engines and a TDI turbo-diesel in Europe, the U.S. will get a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four with around 240 horsepower as an entry-level engine, complete with a 48-volt hybrid system. It will be offered with front- and all-wheel drive. Next up is a high-performance version of the 2.0-liter turbo-four in the S3, turning out around 300 horsepower.
And there will be a successor of the ultra-high-performance RS3 as well. It will continue with a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five, and at around 400 horsepower, it will likely remain the king of the segment, as Mercedes-AMG has opted to keep the “S” version of its CLA45 away from the U.S. market.
While all of these models will be offered here exclusively with the four-door sedan body style, the subsequent A3 e-tron, fitted with a plug-in-hybrid powertrain, should come to America as a Sportback, i.e. a compact, five-door hatchback. Power will come from a 1.4-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor for a total of around 240 horsepower.
Prices for the next-gen Audi A3 will remain close to the current model, which starts at $34,295 and ranges up to $57,195 for the RS3. The immediate competition consists of the Mercedes-Benz CLA and the BMW 2-series Gran Coupe, but we believe that the A3 will be cross-shopped with vehicles as diverse as the Cadillac CT4 and the Genesis G70.