• 2021 Audi A3

The fourth-generation hatchback is coming in 2019

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The Audi A3 was spotted testing on public roads with what appears to be a production-ready exterior. The hatchback is wrapped in camo from front to rear, but the headlamps, the grille, and other details hint at the company’s recent corporate look. The A3 was joined by the higher performance S3 model. While the regular A3 will break cover in 2019 and go on sale for the 2020 model year, the S3 will probably arrive later, most likely for the 2021 model year.

2019 Audi A3 Exterior

  • New design language
  • Sharper lights and grille
  • Muscular fenders
  • Revised roofline
  • Quad exhausts on S3
  • Still familiar
2021 Audi A3
- image 789784
The hatchback will obviously get Audi’s latest design language, but the German designers will keep things simple

Essentially a rebodied Volkswagen Golf, the new-generation A3 will debut around the same time as its more affordable sibling. However, while the Golf is expected to look notably different than its predecessor and sport some cues borrowed from the Arteon, the new A3 will remain very familiar. And the spy shots confirm just that.

The hatchback will obviously get Audi’s latest design language, but as we’ve seen on larger models like the A4, A6, and A8, the German designers kept things simple and familiar. Up front, we can see Audi’s revised grille that’s wider at the center and a more angular frame. The headlamps are sharper too and become bigger toward the sides, with a new extension toward the bumper. The LED daytime running lights are triangular now, which is a unique feature.

As usual, the bumper boasts two big vents on the sides and a really thin opening just under the grille. The S3 model has a slightly sportier look, but it’s far from menacing.

2021 Audi A3
- image 789782
Around back, we can see slimmer taillights that become thinner toward the license plate

The profile remains familiar too, although it appears that the roof has a slightly more aggressive slope toward the rear and there’s a big bulge on the lower area of the doors. The fender flares are bigger than usual too, a sign that Audi wants a sportier hatchback, even in base trim.

Around back, we can see slimmer taillights that become thinner toward the license plate, a slightly more angled rear window, and a revised bumper with thin red light strips. The S3 model has a disappointingly small diffuser-like element, but the quad exhaust tailpipe layout looks cool.

Another thing to notice is that all test cars have five doors. You’d better get used to this configuration as Audi will probably drop the three-door model. It did so with the A1 too as three-door versions aren’t very practical and don’t sell much anyway.

2019 Audi A3 Interior

  • Revamped design
  • Upgraded materials
  • Enhanced comfort
  • New-generation tech
2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Sedan High Resolution Interior
- image 671740
The new interior should be a massive departure from the outgoing model, which feels old and dated

Our paparazzi have yet to snap shots of the new interior, but it should be a massive departure from the outgoing model, which feels old and dated. The A3 might not get the continuous air-vent strip of the larger models, but it should look fresh and boast new, softer materials. Even the plastic should be refined and technology borrowed from the more expensive models.

Audi actually needs a pretty solid cabin in order to compete with the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The latter is heavily based on the S-Class inside the cabin, featuring the same circular air vents in the center stack and big infotainment and instrument cluster displays under the same hood. The optional screens measure a whopping 10.25 inches. Audi might not offer as large of a display, but it needs something close in order to stand a chance.

2016 - 2018 Audi A6 High Resolution Interior
- image 567005
Audi has plenty of state-of-the-art tech to borrow from the A6 and A8

It also needs a solid tech package. Again, the A-Class uses a new MBUX infotainment system that has the ability to learn thanks to artificial intelligence, and it can also be customized in various ways. It also boasts augmented reality tech and voice control for the navigation system, speech recognition, and all the cool apps. Fortunately, Audi has plenty of state-of-the-art tech to borrow from the A6 and A8.

While the new A3 doesn’t seem bigger than its predecessor, expect it to offer a bit more legroom for front and rear passengers. Luggage space should increase as well as Audi has Mercedes’ new 13-cubic-feet capacity (with the rear seats in place) as a benchmark.

2019 Audi A3 Drivetrain

  • Gas and diesel engines
  • Between 100 to 300+ HP
  • New transmissions
  • Improved fuel economy
2021 Audi A3
- image 789785
The A3 is available with a wide range of engines globally and some of them will carry over with important updates

The A3 is available with a wide range of gasoline and diesel engines globally, and some of them will carry over with important updates. As usual, all of them will be borrowed from the Volkswagen Golf. Expect the usual mix of four-cylinder engines, starting with a 1.0-liter unit rated at a little over 100 horsepower. Audi should also offer a 1.4-liter mill with up to 150 horses, while the familiar 2.0-liter TFSI will deliver more than 200 horsepower in the range-topping model. The same engine should inject more than 300 horses in the S3 model.

The current diesel lineup includes two mills. There’s a 1.6-liter TDI rated at 113 horsepower and 184 pound-feet, and a 2.0-liter TDI that delivers 148 horses and 236 pound-feet. The same engine can be had with 181 horsepower and 280 pound-feet on tap. The 2.0-liter will surely carry over with improvements, but the 1.6-liter version might be replaced. We will find out more about this when the new Volkswagen Golf makes its global debut in 2019.

2019 Audi A3 Prices

Unlike the Sedan and the e-Tron version of the Sportback, the A3 hatchback isn’t sold in the U.S. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to change for the new generation, so the A3 will mostly remain a European affair.

In the U.K., the A3 starts from £21,810, while the S3 retails from £35,805. Expect pricing to increase with the new generation to around £23,000 and £37,000, respectively.

2019 Audi A3 Competition

BMW 1 Series

2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 611693

Introduced in 2011, the current-generation 1 Series is just as old as the outgoing A3. Fortunately, the 2016 facelift gave the hatchback a fresh look, and the interior looks far better, and the tech package is modern enough. The good news is that the 1 Series is a rear-wheel drive model, a rare feat in this segment. Power comes from a range of three- and four-cylinder engines with outputs ranging from 109 to 218 horsepower in gasoline models and from 116 to 224 horses for those with diesel engines. The 1 Series is also set to get a redesign, which should bring a sportier exterior, a better interior with upgraded materials, and most of BMW’s state-of-the-art tech. The bad news is that the hatchback will switch to a front-wheel drive platform. Pricing for the current models starts from £22,450 for the three-door model and from £23,000 for the five-door version.

Read our full review of the 2018 BMW 1 Series.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Exterior
- image 764945

The A-Class is brand-new for the 2019 model year, and it’s by far the best option in this niche. Not only far more modern and sporty on the outside, but the A-Class is also the better choice when it comes to interior appointments and technology. Based on the larger C-Class and S-Class models, the A-Class features the same jet-inspired A/C vents, a multi-tier dashboard and big displays for the infotainment system and instrument cluster placed right next to each other. Granted, these displays are not standard, but the base model is still better equipped than the old Audi A3. The hatchback also comes with a semi-autonomous system and a wide variety of active safety features, all borrowed from the flagship S-Class. The gasoline engine range begins with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 163 horsepower and 184 pound-feet. A 2.0-liter four-pot cranks out 224 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. A diesel engine is available too, in the form of a 1.5-liter four-banger that delivers 116 horsepower and 192 pound-feet. Pricing for the new A-Class starts from £22,850.

Read our full story on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.


2021 Audi A3
- image 789793

The upcoming A3 holds no surprises when it comes to exterior design. It will remain a familiar sight, but it will look a bit more modern thanks to Audi’s updated design cues. The big mystery is what it will offer inside the cabin, but while design isn’t overly important, what kind of technology it will get is. The new A-Class set the bar very, very high and Audi needs to step up and deliver a competitive product. Whether this will happen or not, we will find out in 2019.

  • Leave it
    • The new A-Class is tough to beat

Further reading

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback Wallpaper quality
- image 671801

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi A3.

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Sedan High Resolution Exterior
- image 671735

Read our full review on the 2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Sedan.

2017 - 2018 Audi S3 Sedan High Resolution Exterior
- image 684998
Audi S3 - $42,900

Read our full review on the 2017 - 2018 Audi S3 Sedan.

- image 744956
Top Selling Model: Audi A4

Read more Audi news.

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
About the author

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