Tech and safety features headline Audi’s mid-cycle refresh for the A3 Sportback

Audi has released the updated 2017 A3 and all its derivatives, including the sedan, cabriolet, three-door, and Sportback. This mid-cycle refresh concentrates on new driver assistance systems, Audi’s virtual cockpit, new powertrain options, and a new exterior look.

The A3 dates back to 1996 when it debuted as a three-door hatchback. It was built on Volkswagen’s A platform, meaning its shared plenty of parts with the VW Golf. The same can be said today, as the A3 shared much of its platform with the current Golf, itself getting a refresh for 2017.

We’ve been following the development of the 2017 Audi A3 for some time now, and have plenty of spy shots to show for it. It was back in January 2016 when we last saw the A3 in development, trudging over show-covered roads in Europe. The fleet of A3 test cars included the sedan, convertible, and Sportback versions. Now with its face clearly visible and all the details made public, we can take a close look at what Audi has changed.

Updated 04/06/2016: Audi has released details and photos of the 2017 A3, including the Sportback and hatchback versions.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Audi A3 Hatchback.

  • 2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-3
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    115
  • Torque @ RPM:
    148
  • Displacement:
    1.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    € 23300
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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Audi’s updated Singleframe grille makes its appearance on the 2017 A3 and features sharper contours and a wider appearance. Also new are the headlights and lower fascia. The differences are subtle at first blush, but are rather detailed when compared side by side to the 2016 model. The headlights are particularly noteworthy – they are segment-first Matrix LED units. The LED lights are optional, while Xenon Plus units are standard.

The headlights are particularly noteworthy – they are segment-first Matrix LED units.

A new crop of 16-, 17-, 18-, and 19-inch wheels are available, along with five new paint colors. The new hues include Ara blue, Cosmic blue, Nano gray, Tango red, and Vegas yellow. This brings the A3’s color count to 12 optional colors.

Around the sides, the A3 Sportback remains mostly unchanged. Audi didn’t mess with success, especially for this mid-cycle refresh. The A3 still sports the double horizontal body lines that run along the door handles and down near the rocker panels. The wide windows are still adorned with a chrome trim ring, while a satin chrome roof rack provides extra storage for gear (when used with roof rails).

Out back, the A3 wears a new lower fascia with a three-segment design. A single, chrome-tipped exhaust pipe protrudes from the left side, while the other sections remain unaccented. The new taillights increase the A3’s high-tech look thanks to LED bulbs.

All told, the updated A3 looks smart and sophisticated, yet doesn’t depart from its previous form. Audi seems to have planned this refresh well.

Side-by-side comparison

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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Interior

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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Not much has changed within the A3’s cabin. There’s a new three-spoke steering wheel that offers an optional headed function. The driver’s seat can now be orded with a massaging function, too. However, the biggest change is the updated gauge cluster. Gone are the analog gauges, replaced with Audi’s virtual cockpit. The large, 12.3-inch TFT screen offers driver-selectable views that include a full map, entertainment information, and of course, large gauges for vehicle information like speed and engine revs.

Along with the virtual cockpit, Audi’s MMI infotainment system now features a restructured menu system that puts prescience on a connected smartphone

Along with the virtual cockpit, Audi’s MMI infotainment system now features a restructured menu system that puts prescience on a connected smartphone. Like before, inputs into the MMI system happen through the rotary dial on the center console. the dial features a touch-sensitive touchpad for entering character and for multi-finger gestures like pinching. This works well for zooming on the maps screen. Toggle switches beside the dial offer quick sections for MMI menu screens like audio, navigation, and phone settings.

In all, the interior changes focus more on technology and comfort than just being different. The A3 already had a welcoming cabin, so its no wonder why Audi chose to concentrate on its in-dash tech.

Drivetrain

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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Audi is continuing to offer a wide range of powertrain options for the A3, including the hybrid e-tron and alternative fuel g-tron. For the conventional A3s, there are a total of six engine options, though market location and regulations will determine what engines are offered where. The six engines include three gasoline and three diesel units with power output ranging from 110 horsepower to 190 horsepower. All A3 models fulfill the EU6 standard.

The 1.0-liter TFSI three-cylinder makes 115 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque between 2,000 and 3,500 rpm

Starting off, the 1.0-liter TFSI three-cylinder is all-new to the A3. The engine makes 115 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque between 2,000 and 3,500 rpm. This acts as the A3’s entry-level engine. The 1.4-liter TFSI COD is a four-cylinder that uses cylinder-on-demand technology, effectively making it a two-cylinder engine when full power isn’t needed. When full power is required, the engine can kick out 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

Topping the list of gasoline engines is Audi’s all-new 2.0-liter TFSI, which is said to have an innovative combustion process. The tech apparently works well, as the four-cylinder provides 190 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.

Starting the diesel lineup is Audi’s 1.6-liter TDI. The engine makes 110 horsepower and can be had with either the six-speed manual or the new S tronic seven-speed dual clutch. Rounding out the powertrain lineup are two versions of the 2.0-liter TDI. The two power ratings include a 150-horsepower and 251-pound-feet of torque tune for the base setup and a 184-horsepower and 280-pound-feet of torque tune for the spicier version. Like the 1.6-liter TDI, the 2.0-liter can be had with either manual or dual clutch transmissions.

Those wanting quattro all-wheel drive must choose the 2.0-liter TFSI with the 190-horse rating. All other models come standard with FWD. Speaking of transmissions, the seven-speed dual clutch replaces the previous six-speed dual clutch.

Safety & Technology

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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The 2017 A3 includes a new crop of safety features and driver’s aids. They include active lane assist; pre sense front with including predictive pedestrian protection;
traffic jam assist, which works together with Audi adaptive cruise control and its Stop & Go feature. The adaptive cruise control and Stop & Go function allow the car to keep up with traffic on well-paved roads at speeds up to 40.4 mph. This allows the driver to let the car do the driving – at least the throttle and brake. Should the driver not respond to warning messages about idle steering activity, the Emergency Assist function will bring the car to a stop.

The A3 also now offers rear cross-traffic assist. It wars the driver about cross traffic when backing out of a parking space.

Prices

The new A3 will go on sale in May of 2016 with deliveries beginning in the summer. Germany will the first to receive the A3, witch will carry a starting price of EUR 23,300 for the 1.0-liter TFSI model. That translates to $26,500 in U.S. dollars at current exchange rates.

Competition

Mini Cooper Hardtop 2-Door

2014 Mini Cooper High Resolution Exterior
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The Mini Cooper has been around for a while, never straying too far from its original design the debuted back in 2001 – itself a retro recall back to the original Morris Mini. The current car does have a more ergonomically designed cabin with better creature comforts, along with modern navigation and (thankfully) a gauge cluster behind the steering wheel.

The Mini offers three engine options, including a 1.5-liter four-cylinder, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and a 1.5-liter inline three-cylinder diesel. While the diesel isn’t offered in the U.S. the other two engines are. Horsepower ranges from 136 in the base engine to 192 in the 2.0-liter within the Cooper S. The diesel’s selling point is its 199 pound-feet of torque. All three engines come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, while a six-speed automatic is optional.

Prices start right around $20,000 for a U.S.-spec version, increasing to roughly $25,000.

Read our full review on the Mini Cooper here.

Conclusion

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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The updates to the 2017 Audi A3 are a welcomed addition to a car that was already well equipped. The new virtual cockpit and improved MMI system should attracted all the technophiles, us included. The updated front and rear ends give the A3 a smart new look that distinguishes it from older A3 models while pushing Audi design into the next decade.

Speaking of which, we expect to see the next A3 sometime around 2020. This will mark the fourth generation of the car and will likely usher in even more technology and active safety equipment. Until then, there’s plenty to enjoy with the 2017 update.

  • Leave it
    • Price likely to rise

Update History

Updated 04/06/2016: Audi has released details and photos of the 2017 A3, including the Sportback and hatchback versions.

Spy Shots

January 19, 2016 - First testing session

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Audi A3 Hatchback Exterior Spyshots
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Press Release

The successful model from Audi is now even more attractive: The Audi A3* approaches the starting line with new driver assistance systems and engines as well as newly designed headlights and taillights. Also new on board is the innovative operating and display concept, Audi virtual cockpit. The new A3 is available in a three-door version and as a Sportback,
a sedan and a Cabriolet. The sporty Audi S3* version comes with numerous innovations and has even further enhanced its dynamic potential. The A3 series offers the most versatile line of drive systems in the compact segment with the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron* and the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron*.

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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Driver assistance systems from the Audi full-size category
With numerous driver assistance systems, the new Audi A3 raises the bar in the premium compact segment yet again. The further developed Audi active lane assist and Audi pre sense front, including predictive pedestrian protection, make town and country driving even safer.

New in the segment is the traffic jam assist, which works together with Audi adaptive cruise control (ACC) and its Stop&Go feature. The optional system keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and in combination with the S tronic, automatically sets the vehicle in motion again after a short stop. In sluggish traffic up to 65 km/h (40.4 mph), the traffic jam assist even briefly takes over the steering on well-paved roads. Another new feature for the A3 family is the optional Emergency Assist. This system initiates braking down to a safe stop if, despite warnings, no steering activity by the driver is detected. The new rear cross-traffic assist warns the driver about cross traffic when slowly backing out of a perpendicular parking space, for example.

Controls & displays, infotainment and Audi connect
The highlight in the interior of the new Audi A3* is the Audi virtual cockpit. This innovative operating concept is available for the first time in the compact class. The Audi virtual cockpit displays the most important driving-relevant information in high resolution on a 12.3-inch diagonal TFT screen. The driver can switch between two views by pressing the “View” button on the multifunction steering wheel. In classic mode, the instruments appear as large as the usual analog displays.

In infotainment mode, however, a central window predominates, which provides more space to the navigation map or shows lists for the telephone, radio and audio. The tachometer and speedometer appear as small round clocks.

The menu structure in the MMI system has been redesigned. Operation with its flat hierarchies is based on smartphones. The centerpiece of the MMI terminal is the round rotary/push-button control, whose ring is illuminated in white in the top version. On its surface is the touch-sensitive touchpad for entering characters and for multi-finger gestures, allowing the driver to zoom within the map. Above and beside the rotary/push-button control are toggle switches and buttons with which the driver can navigate through the newly designed menu structure. The enhanced voice control for navigation, radio, media and phone now also understands many phrases from everyday language.

In infotainment, the new Audi A3 again sets new standards. The MMI radio plus with the electrically extended 7-inch diagonal monitor is standard equipment. The optionally available MMI navigation and MMI navigation plus with MMI touch in conjunction with the Audi connect module bring many online functions into the car. They include, for example, navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View traffic information in real time as well as practical information on parking, destinations, news or the weather. The information is transmitted via the super-fast LTE standard. The required flat rate data plan is included thanks to the Audi connect SIM card pre-installed in the car. The customer receives this embedded SIM (e‑SIM) in combination with Audi connect in Europe. It permits roaming in most European countries. Regardless of the integrated Audi connect services, data packets for individual internet use can also be booked via the Wi-Fi hotspot.

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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The free Audi MMI connect app enables other services, such as online media streaming and transfer of a calendar from a smartphone to the MMI. The A3 e-tron* also features services for programming the charging and the departure time and for the air conditioning.

Cell phones with iOS and Android operating systems are connected with the car via the Audi smartphone interface. The Audi phone box in the center armrest utilizes near-field coupling to link smartphones wirelessly to the vehicle’s antenna and enables inductive charging.

Newly designed equipment lines
Although hardly any change has been made to the dimensions – 4.24 meters (13.91 ft) in length with a wheelbase of 2.60 meters (8.53 ft) – the new Audi A3* appears even sportier and more expressive than ever. Its Singleframe grille features sharper contours and is broader. The headlights are flatter, with distinctive outer contours.

The rear accentuates the width of the new A3 – with the horizontal illuminated graphics of the rear lights and the separation edge above the redesigned diffuser. The color palette has been expanded. Twelve paint colors are available to choose from, including the five new colors Ara blue, Cosmic blue, Nano gray, Tango red and Vegas yellow. Daytona gray pearl effect paintwork is reserved for the S line exterior package.

New for the A3 are the modularly designed equipment lines. They afford the customer even greater freedom of choice, and for the first time, also affect details of the exterior. Besides the basic models, the future holds in store the two lines sport and design, with their optional S line sport package and design selection equipment lines.

Extensively updated: the engine lineup
The engine lineup for the Audi A3 comprises six engines (three gasoline and three diesel units). Their power output ranges from 81 kW (110 hp) to 140 kW (190 hp). All A3 models fulfill the EU6 standard.

With the 1.0 TFSI, Audi is offering a three-cylinder model in the Audi A3 series for the first time. The compact engine outputs 85 kW (115 hp) and delivers 200 Nm (147.5 lb-ft) of torque at 2,000 to 3,500 revolutions per minute. The new entry-level gasoline engine is efficient without sacrificing anything in terms of driving pleasure.

The 1.4 TFSI COD ultra features cylinder-on-demand efficiency technology, turning off two cylinders when the corresponding output is not required. The engine with 1,395 ccm displacement outputs 110 kW (150 hp) and develops 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque.

A technical highlight is the completely new 2.0 TFSI with its innovative combustion process. From a displacement of 1,984 ccm it generates 140 kW (190 hp), delivering 320 Nm (236.0 lb-ft) of torque at 1,500 to 4,200 revolutions per minute.

Audi offers the four-cylinder TDI engine with 1,968 ccm displacement in two performance levels in the new A3*. The 2.0 TDI comes optionally with 110 kW (150 hp) and 340 Nm (250.8 lb-ft) at 1,750 to 3,000 revolutions per minute – and will soon be available with 135 kW (184 hp) and 380 Nm (280.3 lb-ft) at 1,750 to 3,000 revolutions per minute.

The new entry-level diesel engine is the 1.6 TDI with 81 kW (110 hp). It is available in combination with the six-speed manual transmission or the S tronic seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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The 2.0 TFSI engines are joined by a fully newly developed seven-speed S tronic with wet clutch. It replaces the previous six-speed dual clutch transmission. The new Audi A3 transmits the engine power to the front wheels by default. For the gasoline-engine versions, quattro all-wheel drive is available for the 2.0 TFSI with 140 kW (190 hp).

The suspension of the new Audi A3 impresses with its balanced and sporty tuning. With the optional sport suspension, the body lies 15 millimeters (0.6 in) lower, and 25 millimeters (1.0 in) lower with the S line sport suspension. The electromechanical power steering is sensitive and efficient in operation. On request, Audi provides the likewise electrically powered progressive steering system for many models that is standard in the Audi S3* series.

The new Audi A3 rides on 16-inch wheels as standard equipment, with 17-inch wheels available in the design and sport equipment lines. The wide range of options with 17-, 18- and 19-inch wheels includes new designs. The line of tires has also been overhauled, and now offers improved performance with optimized rolling resistance.

For the first time in the segment: Matrix LED headlights
The headlights of the Audi A3* provide a distinctive and new look with their jagged bottom edges. Xenon plus units are standard; as options Audi offers LED headlights and for the first time matrix LED headlights as well.

Consistent lightweight design has brought the curb weight of the Audi A3 with 1.0 TFSI engine down to just 1,150 kg (2,535.3 lb) – the lightest in its class. The body of the new Audi A3 is crashproof and rigid to a high extent. A noise-insulating windshield is standard equipment.

The interior affords the top quality typical of Audi. The newly designed three-spoke steering wheel is heated on request. For more comfort on long journeys, Audi offers a driver seat with massage function in the new A3.

Sustainably en route: the new Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
The plug-in hybrid version, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*, combines a 1.4 TFSI, which outputs 110 kW (150 hp) and delivers 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque, with an electric motor that produces 75 kW and 330 Nm (243.4 lb-ft). The system output of 150 kW (204 hp) affords sporty driving performance.

Full charging of the lithium-ion battery (8.8 kWh) from a 380-volt three phase-current supply takes a little over two hours.

The new Audi A3 Sportback g-tron
Audi offers still another drive alternative with the A3 Sportback g-tron*: The five-door compact model can use climate-neutrally produced Audi e-gas as fuel, in addition to fossil-based natural gas.

Equipped with a 1.4 TFSI engine producing 81 kW (110 hp), the A3 Sportback g-tron sets standards for efficiency and economy. Fuel costs to the customer are roughly EUR 4 per 100 kilometers (62.1 mi). Thanks to the four-cylinder engine’s configuration for bivalent fuels, its range is over 400 km (248.5 mi) in the NEDC with natural gas fuel. When powered by gasoline, the driving range is extended by as much as an additional 900 km (559.2 mi).

More power: the new Audi S3
7 kW (10 hp) features more power and, in conjunction with the S tronic, 20 Nm (14.8 lb-ft) higher torque – Audi has done one better with the Audi S3*. Moreover, Audi engineers have integrated S3-specific control for the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) and the multi-plate clutch. The result: even greater driving dynamics, driving pleasure and safety.

The 2.0 TFSI now outputs 228 kW (310 hp) and with S tronic delivers 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) over the large range of 2,000 to 5,400 revolutions per minute. The S3 Sportback, the S3 Sedan and the S3 Cabriolet also profit from the extensive new features.

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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The new Audi A3 series goes on sale in early May, with the first deliveries to customers occurring in summer. The basic price for the Audi A3 with the new 1.0 TFSI engine is EUR 23,300 in Germany.

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