• The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome

    2021 Audi A3
  • Revised exterior design includes updated headlights
  • A new, sleeker grille and more muscular hood
  • There's also a more slanted rear hatch
  • And the taillights are sexier than ever
  • The interior is even more impressive, though
  • with a 10.25-inch instrument cluster as standard equipment or a 12.3-inch unit if you care to option for it
  • The dash is now angular in design
  • And the infotainment system is neatly arranged in the center stack
  • The HVAC controls are still manual, though
  • Under the hood you have a lot of choices
  • There’s a 1.0-liter three-cylinder, 1.5-liter four-cylinder, or a 2.0-liter diesel
  • Power output ranges from 110 HP up to as much as 150 HP
  • There’s also a mild hybrid with 150 HP
  • A six-speed manual is available for all engines
  • But the mild-hybrid is stuck with the automatic
  • An AWD model will launch in the future
  • Probably before the 400-HP RS3 hits the market

Audi didn’t drop the ball on this one, that’s for sure

Slow Demand put the Audi A3 Sportback in a tight spot, but it’s still popular enough to come back for a fourth-generation in one way or another. This time, however, it will only be offered with five doors, and there’s no hope of the three-door model ever making a comeback. But, that’s okay, as the fourth-gen A3 just looks right in this configuration, and we’re pretty sure the S3 will look even hotter. Changes for 2021 include a revised exterior look, larger footprint, better aerodynamics, a set of engines pulled from other MQB-supported compact cars in VAG’s group of companies. Want more specifics? Keep Reading!

What Does the 2021 Audi A3 Look Like?

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The Audi A3 is a departure from the third-gen model. To be quite honest, despite the transfer of Audi’s current design language, we can actually spot a few details that just scream Lamborghini. If you’re willing to pony up for it, you can even get the Matrix LED headlights. The daytime running lights will vary depending on trim (S Line, S3, RS3), but that doesn’t really matter as the headlights really fit in with the reshaped grille and front fascia design. It’s a little disappointing that the grille is so tall, though, as the design of larger Audis is a little more attractive.

left right

The rear end of the A3 is just as sporty as the front. The roof does have that sporty slant to it (it better, since it’s a Sportback, right?), but the shape of the rear hatch is what ties the whole package together. For this generation, the rear glass looks like it’s a little more slanted, and now there’s just a slight lip at the fold above the taillights. We like the design of the rear fascia, here, but we’re looking forward to seeing what the S3 offers.

Does the 2021 Audi A3 Have a Different Interior?

left right

The exterior of the Audi A3 was beyond expected. We’ve seen different variations of this design language scattered around the lineup, but the interior is where you’re in for a surprise. It has been completely reworked and, to be honest, it’s much more attractive. The Dashboard is now angular and has a futuristic vibe to it. Base models come with a 10.25-inch instrument cluster, but that can be upgraded to 12.3-inches if you’re willing to pay (or step up to the S3, probably.) The 10.1-inch infotainment system is impressively more powerful than that of the outgoing model (ten times, to be exact), and it is integrated nicely right into the center stack. Due to the small nature of the A3 and its price point, Audi had to forgo the secondary HVAC control screen, but that’s ok. The standard, physical controller is much easier anyway – just shift through the various menus on the display of an Audi equipped with the dual-screen, and you’ll see what I mean.

Overall, Audi gets two thumbs up on this interior redesign. The A3 has effectively and successfully evolved.

What Powers the 2021 Audi A3?

The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Drivetrain
- image 889939
Under the hood you have a lot of choices

Like other cars based on VAG’s MQB platform, the Audi A3 is offered with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder. It can be had in standard form or as a mild-hybrid, but this is where we see a major lost opportunity. How so? Well, both versions of the engine deliver just 150 horsepower. There’s also a 1.0-liter three-cylinder that you probably don’t want and can’t have (unless you live in Europe) that delivers a mediocre and boring 110 horsepower. Audi is also set to offer a 2.0-liter TDI that can be tuned to deliver 116 horsepower or 150 horsepower. All of these engines can be had with a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, but if you want the mild-hybrid model, you’re stuck with the automatic (just another reason not to go for the mild-hybrid, if you ask me.)

When the A3 hits showrooms and the order books open, you’ll be forced to deal with FWD only. Eventually, Audi will launch the A3 with the Quattro AWD system (which you definitely want, by the way), but there’ no word of exactly when this is going to happen. Looking even further down the line, Audi will eventually launch the RS3, and its 2.5-liter five-cylinder – it sounds amazing – will deliver a cool 400 horsepower. A plug-in hybrid will also be launched at some point for those of you that want to focus on being green and drinking less fuel.

The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889936
Probably before the 400-HP RS3 hits the market

On a side note, if you’re wondering which Audi A3 is right for you,, you might want to take this into consideration. Any A3 built with an engine that has less than 150 horsepower (so the entry-level three-banger and the under-powered diesel) will be equipped with torsion beam suspension as opposed to a multi-link setup. What’s the difference? Well, the cars equipped with a torsion beam suspension will ride like shit in comparison to those with the multi-link setup. In this case, you really do get what you pay for.

The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889928
2021 Audi A3
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889925
Revised exterior design includes updated headlights
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889931
A new, sleeker grille
and more muscular hood
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889929
There’s also a more slanted rear hatch
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889932
And the taillights are sexier than ever
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Interior
- image 889951
The interior is even more impressive, though
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Interior
- image 890031
with a 10.25-inch instrument cluster as standard equipment
or a 12.3-inch unit if you care to option for it
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Interior
- image 889950
The dash is now angular in design
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Interior
- image 889941
And the infotainment system is neatly arranged in the center stack
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Interior
- image 889945
The HVAC controls are still manual, though
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Drivetrain
- image 889939
Under the hood you have a lot of choices
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889955
There’s a 1.0-liter three-cylinder, 1.5-liter four-cylinder, or a 2.0-liter diesel
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889933
There’s also a mild hybrid with 150 HP
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889934
A six-speed manual is available for all engines
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889921
But the mild-hybrid is stuck with the automatic
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889930
An AWD model will launch in the future
The Audi A3 Just Evolved for 2021 and Hot Damn is That Cabin Awesome Exterior
- image 889936
Probably before the 400-HP RS3 hits the market
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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